Lynda Painter Cole
Lynda Painter Cole, 58, a vivacious woman who lived a full and rich life of important work and great fun, died of liver cancer Dec. 15.
Lynda was born March 11, 1942, to Maxwell and Flora Painter in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from Pascal High School in Fort Worth, then earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics and master's degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. She was very active at UT, teaching dance, participating in Orange Jackets and working in the Texas Union.
She married Richard R. Cole, a fellow graduate student, in 1968, and they moved to Minneapolis, where she worked for Northlands Regional Medical Program in St. Paul while he earned his doctorate.
In 1971, the Coles came to Chapel Hill. She worked for the Carolina Population Center, and he joined the faculty of the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication, later becoming dean.
Since 1976, Lynda has worked at Family Health International in the Research Triangle Park. She began in the Clinical Trials Division, managing many of the organization's large-scale multicenter clinical trials. She served as associate director, then as deputy director of FHI's AIDS Technical Support Project from 1987 to 1993, managing programs in the Eastern Caribbean, and overseeing AIDSTECH activities in information, education, communication, training and condom logistics.
Since 1993, Lynda has been director of FHI's Field Operations Division, providing leadership in the strategic programming of FHI's resources from a regional and country perspective and overseeing projects around the world.
She published extensively in professional journals and traveled widely in her work, notably in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. At FHI, she was instrumental in attracting numerous federal grants worth millions of dollars, and she mentored many other people.
"Lynda's professional commitment was to improving reproductive health in the developing world," said Dr. Theodore King, former president of FHI. "Her 24-year career at Family Health International was dedicated to improving family-planning methods available to women in the Third World and to reducing the risk of their acquiring the AIDS virus.
"She's an absolutely marvelous person."
JoAnn Lewis, senior vice president of reproductive health services at FHI, said, "Lynda has touched the lives of so many people in so many ways. Her strong desire to make the world a better place has been at the core of her 24 years of dedicated service to FHI. She has always given to the maximum of her intelligence, energy and vision and has always wholeheartedly embraced new challenges. She will be deeply missed by all who have known her as a colleague and as a friend."
To recognize Lynda as a staff member who "personifies Family Health International's commitment to its mission," the FHI board has created the Lynda P. Cole Award of Excellence to be presented annually to an outstanding employee.
Lynda's personal life was as full and varied as her work.
In 1974, she and her husband designed their home in Chapel Hill, then over the years, they filled it with collections of Vanderveen and Oaxaca animals, Waterford crystal, mushrooms and Beanie Babies.
She enjoyed entertaining, especially with theme parties, including an annual Pisces party for a number of years. A favorite broccoli and cheese dip was named for her: Broccolynda. Parties were especially successful when Lynda climbed a tree, as she did in Austin, or a rock, as she did in Chapel Hill.
Lynda loved Texas, Tex-Mex food, a Saturday shopping ritual with friends, mystery novels and travel. After treatment for colon cancer last year, she celebrated with a safari in Kenya, then delighted in sharing her albums of photographs, eagerly pointing out the exotic animals.
As she lay ill in the hospital last month, a friend recalled that her favorite thing was Texas. "Used to be," Lynda said. "Now it's Richard."
She is survived by her husband and a host of friends.
Memorial contributions (tax-deductible) may be made to the Lynda P. Cole Award Fund, FHI Foundation, PO Box 13950, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.
Billie Phillips Nagelschmidt, the former business manager of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, died Nov. 11 in Chapel Hill.
In 1993, she was the recipient of the C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award for exceptional service to UNC-CH for more than 30 years.
She recently helped to organize the Charles Kuralt Learning Center in Carroll Hall.
A veteran of World War II, Billie was a noncommissioned officer in the WAVES.
A long time resident of Chapel Hill, she was a charter member of the Animal Protection Society of Orange County and served on the APS board of directors. She also was a member of the Chapel Hill Community Church, Unitarian-Universalist.
A memorial service was conducted at the Chapel Hill Community Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Animal Protection Society of Orange County, the Interfaith Council or Triangle Hospice.