National Auto Theft Bureau, Lee S. Cole & Associates

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-----Original Message----- 
Subject: The passing of Lee S. Cole (s) 
    Date: Thu, 04 Oct 2001 13:38:36 -0700 
   From: Gary Steven Labb <webmaster@wsati.org> 

Ladies and Gentlemen: 

If you haven't already heard, a pioneer in auto theft investigation has passed away. 

The following is an obituary provided to me by Lisa Hanks of Lee S. Cole & Associates. 


Lee Cole died on September 16, 2001 at the age of 74 in his home in Carmel, California due to complications with lung cancer. He attended the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and later received his law degree in 1950. From 1950-53 he was in the Criminal Investigation Division of the United States Army and served in Germany during this time. From 1955-76, Lee worked for the National Automobile Theft Bureau in San Francisco investigating vehicle theft for the insurance industry. 

In 1976 he started his own firm, Lee S. Cole + Associates, Inc. which has been based in Marin County since 1980. Since that time he had become well known as a vehicle fire expert both nationwide and worldwide. Lee Cole was also the first to write a book solely on the subject of vehicle fires and up until 2001, he was traveling internationally doing speaking engagements on this topic. In 1998 he semi-retired from the business and moved from Novato to Carmel where he and his beloved Welsh terrier, Garrett, enjoyed the climate and the beach together. He is survived by his daughter, Leigh Harmer of San Diego, his son, Shawn Cole of Los Angeles, his sister, Betsy Smith of Virginia, and his love, Sonia Lessard of Carmel. His business is being continued by his business partner Lisa J. Hecker of Fairfax, who has been with him since 1985. 

There will be a Celebration of Life service in Carmel, California at the Church of the Wayfarer on October 19, 2001 at 3 in the afternoon. The family suggests that instead of flowers that you donate to one of Lee's favorite causes, music or animals. Suggestions are the Carmel Bach Festival, the Monterey Symphony or a non-profit animal organization such as the Animal Rescue Foundation. 

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