Billy D. Cole 1935-2022

Billy D. Cole, 87, of St. Joseph, Missouri passed away surrounded by family on October 18, 2022. 

He was born on March 2, 1935 in Amazonia, Missouri, the only child of the late June and Lavear Cole. On May 27, 1955, he married the love of his life, Joy Taylor.

He began his career in banking on his 18th birthday as a teller with the Empire Trust Company. From a modest beginning as hard-working farm boy, Bill earned his way through the ranks of finance and ultimately became one of the area’s most respected and best-known bankers. He was widely acknowledged as a gentleman who desired to see success for all in the community. During his 52-year career, he served as Chairman and CEO of American National Bank, President and CEO of Mercantile Bank and President and CEO of Heritage Bank before concluding his career with Nodaway Valley Bank. He was a member of the 50 Year Banker’s Club of Missouri, and a former member of Benton Club and St. Joseph Country Club.

Bill was also widely recognized by his “can do” attitude and love of assisting the people and industry of St. Joseph by volunteering his time to serve the community. He received many honors including the MS Society Hope Award, Junior Achievement National Impact Award, Chairman of the Pony Express Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Chieftain of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award, St. Joseph Area Chamber of Commerce Chairman, United Way Board Chairman, Missouri Western State College Foundation Director, Pony Express Museum Board Director, St. Joseph Industrial Foundation Director, Missouri Small Business Development Corporation Board Director and was a supporter of Boys Baseball, Young Life and Campus Crusade for Christ.

He was extremely proud of his family, never missing a sporting event, graduation, coronation, dedication or musical performance.  Bill greatly enjoyed the maintenance of his yards and farms; he thrived on hard work in every aspect of his life.  Bill enjoyed attending NASCAR events, supporting the Royals and Chiefs; and most of all, spending time with his grandchildren. His influence continues to provide life-long lessons of leadership, humility, honor, love and faith for his family. 

Bill is survived by his wife of 67 years, Joy Taylor Cole; children, Nancy Stonner and husband Kevin, Blue Springs, MO; Norma Cole and husband Tom McCarthy, West Grove, PA; Mary Cole Benson and husband Todd, New York, NY; and Thomas Cole and wife Katherine, Liberty, MO; grandchildren Geoff Stonner, Eric Stonner and wife Annalisa, Abigail Cole and Adam Cole; great grandchildren, Henry, Michael and Samuel Stonner.

The family would like to thank Dr. William Rippe and staff and the 5th floor nursing team at Mosaic for their assistance during Bill’s illness and final days. Memorials may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of St. Joseph or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

The family will receive visitors from 12:30 – 2:00 PM on Sunday October 23 followed, by a farewell service at 2:00 PM at Meierhoffer Funeral Home. Burial at Memorial Park Cemetery. Online guest book and obituary at

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