James Robert "Bob" Cole
James Robert Bob Cole, 86, passed away on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at the Friendship House in Solvang after a brief illness.
Born April 2, 1927 in Meridian, Mississippi, Bob served in the U.S. Navy 1945-47 and attended Glendale College and The University of Southern California, graduating with a BS in Finance/Business Administration in 1952.
He began a long career with CBS as a tour guide then moved into production at CBS Television City before transferring to Sales/Financing at KNXT/CBS-TV in 1954. He was transferred to CBS-TV in New York in 1962 as an Account Executive with National Sales. In 1969 he was promoted to Vice President of the newly-created FM Group, overseeing the seven CBS-owned radio stations. Among his accomplishments was developing The Mellow Sound format, best remembered at KNX-FM in Los Angeles.
After leaving CBS in 1982, Bob worked at KESQ-TV Palm Springs before relocating to the Santa Ynez Valley in the early 1990s, where he purchased and restored the historic Los Olivos Garage building, at the time the oldest continually operating gas station in California.
He worked at The Santa Ynez Valley News and was Director of Sales of Inside the Santa Ynez Valley magazine.
Outside activities included Chairman of the 1964 U.S. Olympic trials in Volleyball as well as fundraising for the U.S. Olympic Committee.
An avid Jazz pianist for over 50 years, he performed at the Los Olivos Caf in Los Olivos, the Petersen Village Inn in Solvang and the Vineyard House Restaurant in Santa Ynez into his 80's.
Bob is survived by his sons, David Cole (Caroline Murphy Cole) of Hingham, Mass and James Robert Cole II of Burbank, Calif.; granddaughters Catherine and Audrey of Hingham, Mass. He was predeceased by his daughter Amee Barrick Cole. He is also survived by the mother of his children Nancy Osborne Cole of Chatham, Mass., and his former wife, Barbara Carr McCarthy of Santa Ynez. Bob also leaves a host of friends and his beloved canine companion Norton. He will long be remembered for his generosity, kindness, humorous anecdotes and wisdom.
A memorial will be held at noon on Saturday, May 4, at the Vineyard House Restaurant in Santa Ynez.