Beloved Former Detroit Reporter, Expert Lobbyist Ken Cole Dies at 55

Kenneth A. Cole, a Detroit lobbyist and former reporter, died at 55 years old, The Detroit News reported.

The beloved professional (with a master list of connections with many throughout the state) worked relentlessly in his upward career trajectory was one that many took notice too through his mentorship and professionalism.

“Ken Cole was a Michigan icon and embodied the professionalism and congeniality that is rare to find in politics today,” said Mary Sheffield, Detroit City Council president in the article. “His service to the City of Detroit was nothing short of remarkable and made a real difference in the lives of our residents. “We will be hard pressed to replace the institutional knowledge, relationships and true love for the City Ken brought as our lobbyist. He will be sorely missed.”

Cole was a former Detroit News staffer and member at Governmental Consultant Services Inc., (GCSI) died in mid-January after dealing with months of health ailments, his coworkers said in the article. For over 22 years at GCSI, one of Michigan largest lobbyist firms, Cole climbed the ranks from an account executive to senior vice president, according to the article.

Mike Hawks, the company’s CEO, described him as a “master” in meeting demands and developing relationships while being an example to other Black professionals.

“He was able to learn from many of the people who were on our professional team, and our professional team learned from Ken with his background in journalism, his affable personality and his ability to understand complex issues and pursue our goals within the confines of a changing political environment,” he said in the article. “He had a skillset that was unique to him.” Mr. Cole also was committed to advising others in the field and inspired them with his work ethic, said Adrian Hemond, CEO of the Lansing-based consulting firm Grassroots Midwest. “Ken really had a heart for people.”

State Rep. Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit, described Cole in the article as “a kind soul.”

“He was a listener and a friend. Yes, really a friend,” she said. “… He was just a tremendous human being,” she said.

Cole, a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, was also a reporter in the Lansing bureau for five years, per his biography. 

Former State Representative Shanelle Jackson posted on Facebook that she is grieving the loss of one of the “best men” she ever knew.
 
“He was an amazing husband to his wife Debbie and father to his daughter Peyton,” she said. “Ken was a phenomenal mentor to me and others. He had a brilliant mind for impacting public policy. Ken always saw my light, even when I didn’t- and he always had a word of encouragement for me.”
 
She added that cole loved Detroit and most importantly, the Lord.
 
“Therefore, while my heart is aching, my Spirt is rejoicing-because I know that he’s no longer in pain,” she said.
 

His survivors include his wife, Debi, and a daughter, Payton.

Read the full article here.

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