Your Memories Live On Forever In Our Hearts
  • 71 years old
  • Born on July 19, 1946 .
  • Passed away on August 9, 2017 in Lyon, France.

Dr. Michael D. Cole, 71, of Harrington Park, passed away on Wednesday, August 9, 2017 in Lyon, France. Beloved husband of Marion (nee Ihnat). Loving father of Michael R. Cole and wife Karin of Verona and John B. Cole of London and Harrington Park. Adored grandfather of twins, James and Sydney. Dearest brother of Jane and brother-in-law of Nancy Ihnat.

Michael was a US Army veteran of Vietnam. After leaving the Army, he became one of the youngest general managers at Con Edison. He went to become a senior executive at Citibank, Cahners, and Columbia University Teacher College Innovation.  In 2004, at almost 60 years old, he decided to reinvent himself completed his doctoral degree at Pace University and became a business school professor at New Jersey City University. His life is full of colors, adventures, challenges, and triumphs. 

Recently in Summer of 2015, he fought hard and won for the rights of the disabled New Jerseyans for the right to stay in their current care facilities, culminating in meeting Governor Chris Christie.  He cared deeply about this issue, and to continue his legacy, please consider making a contribution at Riverbrook (


Visitation: Friday, August 25, 2017 at 2-4 & 7-9 PM at Pizzi Funeral Home, 120 Paris Ave., Northvale, NJ (201-767-3050).

Funeral Service: Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 10 AM at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart RC Church, Tappan, NY

Interment: Saturday, August 26, 2017, following the service at George Washington Memorial Park, 234 Paramus Rd, Paramus, NJ (201) 652-4300

Posted by Holly Bolton on 20th November 2017
This is a very late post but I was searching for his address to mail condolences. Unfortunately, NJCU did not provide us with a forwarding address. Dr. Cole was a wonderful man, a superior teacher, and dear a mentor to me. I am forever grateful for his kindness. He saw potential in me when I didn't see it in myself. He will forever be remembered as one of my favorite professors and one of the finest men I have ever met. God bless, Dr. Cole. Rest in peace.
Posted by Milton Smith on 26th August 2017
Blessed be the sleeping saint.
Posted by Alan Smagler on 26th August 2017
Mike was one of the first students I connected with while enrolled at the PACE Doctoral Program. Just a few short weeks into the program, I felt like I was in over my head, and didn't belong. Mike shared my frustrations with the program, and we soon learned that just about everybody other student was feeling the same way. Mike always provided a comforting voice, gentle reassurance, and support and guidance to anyone that needed it. He gladly took on the leadership role of making sure our cohort got together regularly for our annual lunches at the Beekman restaurant near Pace. The news of his passing was shocking, and terribly sad. Although Mike and I didn't get together often, I considered him a friend, and someone I could count on for heartfelt, sensible counsel. He will be missed.
Posted by Pauline Assenza on 25th August 2017
As others have said, Mike was a true gentleman, authentic, caring, full of curiosity and with a sense of humor that made him even more likeable. I always looked forward to seeing him and finding out what adventures he had to share. He was wonderful in the sense that he was always full of wonder. He had so much to give, and I'm glad to be one of those who received his gifts, with immense gratitude. Boy, will he be missed...
Posted by Tom Obrotka on 25th August 2017
Although I haven't seen Mike since 1964, I remember him as being one of the most decent guys I've known. I'm proud to have had him as my friend. I'm glad to see that he went on to have such a successful life, both personally and professionally.
Posted by Andy Forte on 24th August 2017
As several individuals have already mentioned, Mike was a real gentleman. He had a wealth of business and life experiences that he was always willing to share with others. Mike was a natural educator on a lifetime journey of learning. Our Pace DPS cohort was better due to his involvement. I am happy for the good times we shared and will remember him always.
Posted by Martin Hart on 24th August 2017
My friendship with Mike goes back over 50 years to the first week of class at St. Peter's College in 1964. Even then I remember him as a young man with a big heart, an expansive and curious mind and a serious handshake. Mike was a big man in the best and most liberal sense of the word. He was a strong man but never a "tough guy". He was confident and self assured but never arrogant. He was proud but without conceit and he was smart and well informed without being condescending. He was also damn funny--sometimes outrageously so and could make both his Marion and my Marion laugh at will. Mike had that rare quality we find in a few special people--to be able to make those he touched feel better, stronger, more confident. He could make you feel affirmed with a sincere expression of interest, a wry smile, an unexpected act of kindness or an arm around your shoulder. As strong men do, Mike counted his blessings and accepted his trials. He had immense love and devotion to his family - the foundation and ultimate expression of the good life he lived. As for trials--they were to be challenged, overcome, moved past--keep on driving. I readily acknowledge that I loved the man and I will miss him terribly--but I'll try to be, like Mike, a counter of blessings and be forever grateful to have had this extraordinary man as a friend. Sail on Mike--see you on the other side
Posted by Marion B Hart on 24th August 2017
Gone to soon Mike...what are we ever going to do without you? I'm so sad. Sad for Marty, he's lost his best friend. Sad for all the plans we tried to make that we will never get to do. A trip to Ireland is first and foremost on my mind as we struggle with your loss. You, Marty, Marion and I certainly would have left our footprints all over the Emerald Isle. The good, the bad, but never the ugly, it would have been a wonderful trip. All of our times together were great. Lot's of laughter always. I'll miss that most. Laughing with you and Marion. Mike, May the road rise up to meet you May the wind be always at your back May soft rains fall upon your face and Until we meet again, May God hold you In the palm of his hands.
Posted by Joseph Chiarelli on 24th August 2017
Mike was a good friend in high school and when we reconnected as BC alums. He was kind, sharing of his insights and above all a good friend. He will be always remembered.
Posted by Joseph Branciforte on 23rd August 2017
I am saddened to learn of Mike's sudden passing. Mike and I first became friends at Bergen Catholic High School in 1960. Over the years, we maintained a long-distance friendship, as we worked on our BC reunions together. More recently, Mike gave me good counsel as I approached and planned for my retirement. He was a wonderful and perceptive listener and always offered me sage advice in addition to friendship, concern, and caring. May the entire Cole family be somewhat comforted in knowing that Mike is at peace. And, may the family some day in the future come to a place of peace, too, as they are comforted by their many, many friends. Rest in eternal peace, Mike. Thanks for being an example of a life well-lived.
Posted by Deirdre-Noel Engels on 22nd August 2017
There is a saying that some people come into your life for only a season and some people come into your life for a reason. With Mike, I’m fortunate enough to say it was the latter. Our paths first crossed at Pace University where we were both part of an amazing cohort of friends. Mike was a true mentor and was instrumental in getting me through my dissertation as well as giving me my first break teaching at NJCU. Above all, Mike was a role model, he was a true renaissance man and a great example of a life well-lived. He had a very successful career and then chose to give back by helping students navigate courses and career paths during his second act. He was the mayor of our Pace cohort, always rallying the group and coordinating reunion lunches. He loved jazz, travel and great food and above all his wife, sons and grandchildren. I will miss his laugh and he will be always be remembered in our hearts.
Posted by Dan Spink on 22nd August 2017
Mike left us much too early. He was the embodiment of what I consider the highest human goal possible: he was a good man. He never sought revenge or acted out of hate. He gave everything he had to helping people and just causes succeed. And he never whined or complained--although he often had reason to. I will always remember his unfailing energy and dedication to people who needed his help. He is a model of leadership. I often think of him and what he would do. What more can another person bring to your life? He made a big difference.
Posted by Anthony Oliveri on 22nd August 2017
One is very lucky to have a handful of true friends in life, and Michael was one of those for me. We attended the same grammar school, the same high school, the same college, and experienced the ups and downs of all those bitter-sweet young-adult development years together. We both served as officers in the military. We both had the good fortune to marry loving and patient partners who were also incredibly dedicated mothers. Not surprisingly, our children grew up to have those strong values we inherited and believed in strongly. We both worked in corporate America and through the many years since we always stayed close, getting together as often as our schedules permitted. Often just the two of us just got together to share a meal and discuss how to best approach those common issues we all had: relationships, career and work/life balancing, and, of course, parenting If I were asked to share what I felt were his his best qualities, first among many would definitely be his integrity, followed by dedication to family and his strong determination and grit to see the projects he was passionate about through to the end. He spoke to me often of his teaching experiences, and it seemed nothing gave him more satisfaction than to help unsure students to develop confidence in their abilities and to guide them in finding the best path to their career goals. Dr. Michael often told me that he considered that part of the work experience to be the most satisfying for him.. Let's also never forget his incredible sense humor, which always seemed to pierce through even the darkest of situations to make you smile. I will miss him dearly and remember him always. May he rest in peace.
Posted by Philip Fraher on 22nd August 2017
Mike was the one true business mentor I had over my career. I had the pleasure of working for Mike twice - both at Dun and Bradstreet and Cahners. Mike had an incredible marketing mind and was always breaking new product barriers. One of my favorite memories was spending time with him in Evian France in which we tackled the game of La Boule! I will miss him greatly miss him.
Posted by Galit Ben-Joseph on 22nd August 2017
Mike was the most caring, kind and wonderful person. He always took the time to ask how things were going, always offering support, encouragement and inspiration. He always worked so hard, and had a great attitude no matter what. I will miss his beautiful soul.
Posted by Carmine Nogara on 21st August 2017
Mike was a true gentleman who will be missed. I am proud to be part of the same doctoral cohort as Mike. He was a leader among us and a man of character.
Posted by Peter Swift on 21st August 2017
Mike and I were the 'senior' members of the Pace Doctoral program, both of us a little crazier than the rest for attempting the program. He was the scout master of the group and provided the leadership in our 'reunions'. I have known a lot of people, and Mike was at the top of the list for his humanity and character that was evident to everyone. We had numerous conversations about the challenges of finishing our doctorates, our adult children (of whom he was immensely proud), and just trying to balance it all. He and I shared an enthusiasm for the challenge, and fun, of it all. I miss my friend.
Posted by Alex David on 21st August 2017
My deepest condolences.....As one of my doctoral cohorts Mike was always so incredibly optimistic about our work, academic rigor and life in general. Always an inspiration to me. He will certainly be missed!
Posted by Russ Barr on 21st August 2017
My condolences to Mike's family and friends. We were very lucky to have him as part of our cohort at Pace U. He always provided great perspective to consider and was willing to listen and engage everyone. That kindness that he showed us was something very important to so many us making our way through the Pace doctoral journey. It was an honor.
Posted by Josh Iannuzzi on 21st August 2017
I had the distinct pleasure of working with and getting to know Professor Cole over the past year. As a new staff member, he made me feel welcomed and empowered to be a part of something truly special. Full of life and new ideas, Professor Cole was dedicated to improving the lives of our students. He is one of the most sincere and caring individuals that I have encountered. Professor Cole's commitment to the students and School of Business was exceptional and his lessons will live with me and all whom he touched for generations to come! In addition to his devotion to the students, Professor Cole was always so proud to talk about those he loved most; his wife, children, and grandchildren. My prayers and warm thoughts go out to you at this difficult time.
Posted by John Sateja on 19th August 2017
"Mike was a mentor, a colleague and a very special friend. We worked together at RH Donnelley, Cahners Publishing (Reed Business Information), and at New Jersey City University. He was a highly decorated officer in Vietnam; a very successful business executive; and an inspirational professor. He was an innovator that always tried to make things better for his co-workers and for his students. He was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather. I am proud to have known Mike and to call him my friend. He will be missed."
Posted by Te Wu on 19th August 2017
Mike is the bedrock of our doctoral cohort, the chief organizer of our yearly get together at the Beekmans, and the "wise man" our group. He's always listening, always helpful, always ready with his advice, and most importantly always there. It has been an honor being Mike's friend and I will always remember him.

Leave a Tribute