Ellerbe Powe Cole

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1944 - 2016
AUGUSTA - Ellerbe Powe Cole of Augusta, Maine left this life peacefully on Jan. 23, 2016 with family at his side. Ellerbe was beloved by his family, friends and colleagues. He battled pancreatic cancer over the last several months with courage.
The second oldest of six children of the late Clarence Alfred Cole, the Third Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina, and the late Catharine Powe Cole, Ellerbe was born on July 15, 1944 in Charlotte, N.C. He later grew up in Columbia, S.C. He excelled in elementary school and later attended St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H. from which he graduated in 1962. At St. Paul's he participated in many extracurricular activities. He was an active alumnus and continually fostered companionship among his classmates, including serving as a Form Agent and organizing his class' 50th Reunion. He went on to attend Harvard University and enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). At Harvard he studied Greek, Latin and the Classics and was a member of the Spee Club and Harvard Lampoon. He graduated in 1966 and was an active alumnus, staying in close touch with many of his classmates.
While a student, he met the late Carol Elizabeth Irvine of Glasgow, Scotland, who was working for one of Ellerbe's professors. He and Carol wed in 1967 in Cambridge, Mass. and were married until her death in 2012.
In 1968 Ellerbe began his active duty in the Navy initially at the Naval Station in Charleston, S.C. He was later assigned to the cruiser USS Little Rock (CLG-4), the flagship of the sixth fleet, and stationed in Gaeta, Italy, where he and Carol lived for a year and a half. He was honorably discharged from the Navy, and he and Carol then moved to South Carolina where they welcomed their first child, Peter. Ellerbe earned his J.D. from the University of South Carolina and subsequently clerked for Judge Clement Haynsworth. Later, settled in Washington, D.C., Ellerbe and his wife welcomed their second child, Andrew. In Washington, D.C., Ellerbe worked for the Commission on Civil Rights, co-authoring numerous reports on compliance with civil rights laws by various federal agencies.
While living in Washington, Ellerbe and Carol visited Maine for the first time together and were captivated by the magnificent coast and woods. They moved to Augusta in 1974. They lived in the same house on the West Side of town for the remainder of their lives. Ellerbe initially worked at the law offices of Jim Mitchell & Jed Davis, P.A. He also enrolled in the Navy Reserves where he served at the Navy Reserve Stations in Augusta, Bangor and Winter Harbor for over a decade, including two years of active duty, achieving the rank of Commander.
Ellerbe later joined the Maine Municipal Association where he worked for 18 years, retiring as a Senior Staff Attorney in 2006. At MMA, he provided legal advice and training to town and city officials across Maine and represented municipal interests through "friend of the court briefs." He was also responsible for many guidance materials, including a manual on town meetings and elections that is still in use today. He was blessed to forge many lasting friendships with colleagues at MMA.
An avid outdoorsman, Ellerbe hiked, camped, cross country skied and canoed extensively throughout the state with his family and friends. He was a long-time member of the Abenaki Ski Club and often volunteered to help maintain various public trails in Central Maine. Ellerbe was also a voracious reader, particularly of non-fiction, poetry and news. He was a self-described Grecophile, making multiple trips to Greece to vacation and explore the antiquities. He also traveled extensively in France, Canada and Morocco, often walking from town to town. Closer to home, he was frequently seen walking with Carol and their dog, Laddie, on the Kennebec Rail Trail from Augusta to Hallowell.
He also loved and supported area music and arts programs, including the Lithgow Library, Maine Fiddle Camp, Farnsworth Museum, Harlow Gallery and Colby's Music Program. In recent years, he was an enthusiastic participant at contra dances around the state and New England, and he self-published a newsletter highlighting local area art, music and dance events.
Ellerbe enjoyed connecting people of all backgrounds and ages, and he often sought to introduce friends and acquaintances to each other in hopes of creating new friendships and partnerships.
Ellerbe is survived by his sons Peter (and his wife Katherine) of Portland, Ore. and Andrew (and his wife Amy) of Pelham, N.Y.; and his four grandchildren, Caroline (Cece), Thomas, Elizabeth (Bitsy) and Lucy. He also leaves his brother C. Alfred Jr. (and his wife Mary) and sisters Catherine and Laura; as well as his nieces and nephews C. Alfred Cole III., Cassandra Cole, Thomas Cole, Catharine Robertson, Marni Sutherland, Jennie Staples, Robert Falzon, and Lesley Szpiro and their respective spouses and children. Ellerbe was predeceased by his youngest brother Carl and youngest sister Elizabeth.
A memorial celebration is planned for early Spring. Family and close friends will be notified. Ellerbe's family thanks the many people who wrote, visited and helped him as he did his best to live his last days well. The outpouring of support was a great reminder to him that he and Carol were blessed with thoughtful and caring friends and colleagues.

Memorial donations may be made to any of the organizations that Ellerbe supported, including the Kennebec Land Trust (www.tklt.org), Harlow Gallery (http://harlowgallery.org) or Maine Fiddle Camp

Published in Central Maine on Jan. 30, 2016
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