Remembering Amy Cole, Maricopa nurse and volunteer

Amy Cole

A Celebration of Life for Amy Cole is scheduled at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church on Wednesday. Rosary/Scripture is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., following which the family will host a potluck dinner, sharing of memories and lots of love.

A long-time Maricopa resident, Amy Cole died April 20. She led the Maricopa Salvation Army for more than 20 years and also served as a nurse at Maricopa High School before working in hospice care.

Though born in Hastings, Michigan, she spent most of her childhood in Maricopa, where her parents Fred and Naoma Cole moved in the 1950s. Amy graduated from Maricopa High School and earned her nursing degree from Central Arizona Community College. She returned to Maricopa after her son Troy was born and worked as a nurse and community volunteer.

“She was the sweetest, most helpful person,” said June Celaya, whose first year as principal at Maricopa High School was Amy’s last year as school nurse. Celaya said Amy “genuinely had the hearts of the kids and the community. She had a real affinity for the needs of the kids.”

From her obituary, written by her niece Coleen Niemann:

“Amy Cole had heart – a big one – and she shared it with everyone. She was a special person, selfless, loving, generous in spirit and deed. On April 20, God called back Amy, probably because her beautiful granddaughter Jerzee needed a most special guardian angel to watch over her.

“As a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt, Amy’s caring spirit and generosity sheltered the people who loved her most. She is survived by her son, Troy Cole (Jayme Kesler); granddaughter Jerzee; grandson Kholt; brother John (Marcia); and nieces Coleen Niemann, Jenna Cole and nephew John W. Cole. She is preceded in death by her parents, Fred and Naoma, and her brother Andrew.

“As a single mother, Amy was deeply involved in Troy’s activities. She was a nurse by day, a “baseball mom” by night, and still found time to tend to other families in need. She was the person who stayed all night with a dying neighbor; the one to bring meals to grieving families; the person who supported Troy’s friends during life’s many challenges. In fact, she was a second mom to many of Troy’s childhood best buddies, and was particularly close to Uli Rojas, Chacho Iglesias and Ray Nieves.

“Amy carried this love of community to strangers, too. She was in charge of Maricopa’s Salvation Army chapter, raising money and buying Christmas gifts for families without. Her volunteer work was an extension of her empathy for people in need, and deep-felt responsibility to help ease a burden, whenever she could.

“Amy’s love of her neighbors extended even into her professional life. She was a devoted nurse in various roles in our community. Amy worked at one of Maricopa’s first healthcare clinics, caring for children and families who often lacked access to medical care. She also was Maricopa High School’s school nurse.

“Amy’s true passion was to provide care – medical and emotional – for people facing their final days. She spent many years as a hospice nurse in this area, allowing people to die with dignity and peace. Just as important to her, she cared for patients’ families, nurturing their souls to ease grief.

“In her final days, countless friends and neighbors shared personal stories of her compassion during their most difficult times. They described how she was always there – just when they needed a supportive shoulder and a tender hand to hold. Amy’s selfless spirit and wide open heart is a legacy that touched so many, and her hope was that others would carry forward her mission of love. Our lives are brighter for sharing her light.”

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family is in need of monetary contributions for funeral arrangements. An account at Great Western Bank has been established in the name of “Amy S. Cole.”

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