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2007 Bert Cole

 Bertram "Bert" Earle Cole, Jr.

Bertram "Bert" Earle Cole, Jr. attended Altus Junior College in 1938-39 and was a standout football player for the AJC Pirates. He later played football for Oklahoma A&M (OSU), but his college career was interrupted by WWII. As a B-24 bomber pilot, he was shot down over the Yugoslav border. Caught between the Partisan and Chetnik resistance fighters, Cole and his crew lived underground, protected by brave Yugoslavs for 4½ months before returning home unharmed. After the war, Cole completed his college degree and football career at Oklahoma A&M. He was a part of an outstanding 1946 team that won the Sugar Bowl, remained undefeated, and was ranked third in the nation. Although offered a professional football contract with the Green Bay Packers, Cole declined and became a farmer. He is married to the former Willie Gazaway and is the father of six. He also has 19 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Cole earned bachelors and masters degrees in Agronomy from Oklahoma A&M. He retired from acareer with the Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture. Cole is a 33rd degree Mason and has been awarded the Knight's Commander of the Court of Honor. He has donated nearly 26 gallons of blood, an achievement he calls the most important in his lifetime. The following quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet hangs on the wall at Bert Cole's home; and indeed, his life has exemplified the words:

This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.