Gary Cole, owned interior design firm

September 06, 1994|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,Sun Staff Writer

Gary Adrian Cole, an interior designer with his own design firm for 20 years, died Saturday at Sinai Hospital of pneumonia brought on by AIDS. The Parkton resident was 52 years old.

Mr. Cole had operated Gary Cole Interiors since 1973 and had managed The Warehouse in South Baltimore for two years.

Known for his eclectic style, the South Baltimore native had clients in Washington, New York and Florida, and in 1990 he decorated a house owned by Robert Redford in Santa Domingo.

"He captivated his clients," said Bradley Permenter, 29, Mr. Cole's companion for 2 1/2 years. "His clients were so different, and what he did in their homes always reflected their personality."

"To know him was to be very fond of him," said Marcella Schuyler, a client and Roland Park resident.

While studying at the Maryland Art Institute in the early 1960s, Mr. Cole decorated display windows at Hutzler's department store. He then worked for the Louis Mazer firm before starting his own design firm.

His 100-acre farm on Mount Carmel Road reflects how much he loved animals. He owned more than 50 exotic birds, donkeys Billy and Rosebud, Valentine Dino, a draft horse, and his bulldog Bruiser.

Mr. Cole had traveled to Europe and was especially fond of Venice, Italy.

"He was on full speed all the time," said Mr. Permenter. "He just had a passion for life."

A member of Grace and St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Mount Vernon, Mr. Cole volunteered his artistic skill in creating flower arrangements, designing a garden, painting the chapel and carving a wooden statue of Charles the Martyr for the church.

Recently, he had grown fond of incorporating angels into his painting.

"He was a real Renaissance type of person," Mr. Permenter said. "He could talk about many, many things -- books, music, art."

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Grace and St. Peter's, 707 Park Ave. Mr. Permenter said Mr. Cole is survived by his father, Lewis Cole, and two brothers, Lewis Cole Jr. and Randolph Cole.

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