Galen Cole, a former Bangor mayor and businessman who spent decades commemorating the experiences of Maine veterans after he narrowly survived a German artillery attack while serving in World War II, died Thursday at the age of 94.
Friends and family recalled Cole, a Purple Heart recipient, as a man who dedicated his life to public service after his narrow brush with death in the spring of 1945.
His most lasting contribution to Bangor may be the Cole Land Transportation Museum, a facility he and his wife Sue — who died in 2017 — opened in 1990 on Perry Road, according to his obituary.
The museum — which is now operated by a charitable foundation, the Galen Cole Family Foundation — began as an effort to preserve the history of Maine’s transportation industry, including a variety of antique trains, trucks, tractors, carriages, bicycles and other equipment. It was an industry Cole knew well. After he returned from the war, he spent decades running and expanding Cole Express, the New England trucking business started by his family.