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TORA Hall of Fame Inductee William Cole Passes Away

By Kristopher Porter

Bill Cole
William A. Cole

William A. Cole, 72, a lifelong Tewksbury, Massachusetts, resident and Truck and Off-Road Alliance (TORA) Hall of Fame inductee, passed away unexpectedly at his home, Sunday, December 30, 2018. He was the beloved husband of Judith E. (Ford) Cole, with whom he celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary April 19, 2018.

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, May 14, 1946, he was the son of the late Kenneth R. Cole and the late Mildred (Ricker) Cole. He was raised in Tewksbury and graduated from Tewksbury High School. Following graduation, he attended Lowell Tech, where he received his degree in business management.

In 1970, Cole founded and operated Yankee Custom, a full-line truck, van and SUV accessory-supply company with locations in Tewksbury; Saugus, Massachusetts; Brockton, Massachusetts; Nashua, New Hampshire; and Portland, Maine. He started the company in his garage, where he specialized in the fabrication and installation of wood-framed aluminum truckbed caps and enclosures. From those humble beginnings, Cole expanded the business and its offerings to what is now considered one of New England’s largest retail distributors of truck, van and SUV accessories.

Cole was also involved in the founding and creation of SEMA’s LTAA, which at the time was known as the Truck Cap Industry Association (TCIA). During his spare time, He enjoyed restoring his antique ’46 Mack EH, watching John Wayne movies, listening to the music of Frank Sinatra, hosting the annual Cole family pig roast and spending time with his grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, Cole is survived by his children: Scott W. Cole of Manchester, New Hampshire; Kathryn M. Alonis and her husband Kevin of Merrimack, New Hampshire; and Jeffrey A. Cole and his wife Allison of Tewksbury; his grandchildren Katherine, Olivia, Caitlin and Prayla Cole, and Alexander Alonis; three sisters Dr. Elizabeth Proper of Hatfield, Massachusetts; Carolyn Maggard of Williston, Florida; and Patricia Allen and her husband Charles of Casco, Maine; and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.