The Lord called James Collings Cole, 86, of Frisco, Texas, home on February 8, 2021. He is reunited with his wife, Ruth Ann and his son, J.C. and all of the family and friends he has not seen in a long time.
He was born in Shreveport, LA to Mary Sansone and John B. Cole. He grew up in the Lakewood area of Dallas and attended Woodrow Wilson High School. James grew up in a very large Italian family and his mother, Mary, along with her Mother, Rose, and took care of him as a boy. He was very close to his Aunts and Uncles as well. They loved him like a son after his Father left.
James loved his Grandma Rose so much, they had a special relationship and she taught him many things, including how to make some of her delicious Sicilian dishes and he would do anything to make her proud.
After graduating high school, he joined the United State Marine Corp, trained at Treasure Island and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War.
After discharge, he returned to Dallas and in 1958, married his sweetheart, Ruth.
James was an entrepreneur at heart and his first venture was A1 Liquor in Lakewood. Everyone knew it as the liquor store with the huge portrait of the gorgeous blond that was on the wall behind the register of his sweet Ruth Ann.
After selling the liquor store he worked for Sam Szor Furs and was his top salesman and everybody got a new coat!
He went on to sell real estate for Andres in the new development in Carrollton called Country Place.
But that entrepreneur spirit leads him to opening his first restaurant in the seventies, Sansone 2000. It was built from the ground up and it was a modern elegant upscale Italian restaurant and bar. The restaurant was the talk of the town and his patrons loved James and it was a success. He was moving on though, he sold out to his partner and started another restaurant called Prime Times on Greenville Avenue. A very unique concept, a speakeasy theme with curtained booths, and of course a bar and discotheque. It was a great restaurant and concept until they started widening Greenville Avenue and business dwindled.
James picked himself up and became owner of the Club at Preston Tower on Northwest Highway and also worked for Caesars Palace in their Dallas travel office.
The lease was up at the Tower club and he had moved on from Caesars when he decided to start yet another restaurant in Dallas’ West End, Mr. C’s. This time the cuisine was seafood and Cajun along with live music. James had his two sons, Brian and J.C. working with him as well. Mr. C’s was very successful for years until again, can you believe street construction, killed his business.
James was an icon of the Dallas restaurant community. He was always present at his establishments and would always take time to walk around and talk to his patrons, as he said it, “I’ll take care of you, have a seat”. Many came not only to dine but also so see him.
He thought he was retired but was bored, can you believe he started a second career in the airlines industry with American Airlines. He loved it. He talked on the phone with people, he learned the reservation systems and most of all, loved the community at American and they loved him! He worked there for 10 years and finally, retired!
He was a dear, personable man, he made everyone feel like they were important to him and they were. He loved his family and friends.
In the past few years James had some tragic life changes. His first son, J.C. died suddenly in 2016 and James lost his sweetheart of over 60 years, Ruth Ann, in 2019. He was heartbroken.
His health started to decline in 2020 because of his COPD and he fought hard to overcome, he is at peace now.
Now James is gone, husband, father, son, brother, and we all will miss his presence deeply. We love you.
He is survived by son Brian Cole and his wife Sara and daughter Christy Burbage and her husband; Ernie; sisters, Karen Wilkerson(Rick) and Barbara Guckenheimer(Roger); grandsons, Kristian Bailey Cole and Ernest(E.J.) Burbage; granddaughters, Shannon Burbage, Madolyn and Megyn Cole.
Memorial mass will be held at St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas on Monday, March 1, 2021 at noon.
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