Father Eugene Kole, OFM Conv., died March 3, 2016, at age 68.
He was born July 21, 1947, in Lackawanna, to Walter and Theresa (Petroff) Kole. He joined the St. Joseph Cupertino Novitiate of the Franciscan Friars Conventual in Maryland in 1965 and professed vows in 1966. He was ordained to the priesthood in Albany in 1975.
In 1975, Father Kole began teaching at Kolbe High School in Bridgeport, Conn., where he stayed until 1977. That year, he returned to Western New York to begin teaching at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda, where he served as a guidance counselor and teacher.
From 1982-84, Father Kole served as headmaster of Kennedy Christian High School in Hermitage, Pa. After this, he served for one year as pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Bessemer, Ala. After returning to Connecticut in 1985, he began serving as the Bridgeport diocesan director of Young Adult Ministry. He also was director of campus ministry at the University of Bridgeport until 1992. During this time, he also was the director of campus ministry at Sacred Heart University, also in Bridgeport.
In 1992, Father Kole began serving at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia until 1997, after which he became president of Quincy University in Illinois from 1997-2002. He served at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich., and was parochial vicar of St. Paul Church in Kensington, Conn.
From 2005-09, he was a pastor at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. In 2009, he continued to serve the U.S. military at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where he stayed until his death.
Father Kole is survived by a sister, Monica Kole, and cousins.
A funeral Mass was held at St. Francis of Assisi in Athol Springs, with burial in Hillcrest Cemetery in Hamburg.