The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

My name is Karen K. Cole. I was born in Bowman, North Dakota but was raised in a variety of places. My Dad (Red Laird) worked for oil companies so we moved to a new location about every 6 months to a year. I graduated from Waynesboro High School in 1972 at Waynesboro, Mississippi. While living in Waynesboro I was a radio DJ for WABO Radio station.

I attended Atlantic Airlines School in Kansas City in the early 70 s. After completion of my training, there were no jobs available because the airlines were cutting back because of fuel shortages. I then worked as a traveling photographer for J C Penney s Pixy Photography for several years. I met my husband Ed Cole while traveling in Southeastern Iowa. After we married in 1975, I worked for the Henderson County Quill, the Penny Saver and then back to J C Penney at the NEW Westland Mall.

Ed was raised in Media and works with his family at Cole Implement Co. His parents are Chuck and Phyllis Cole.

After getting all 4 children in school I decided to go back to college and attended Southeastern Community College along with our oldest daughter Miranda. I graduated with an Associate Degree in Arts and Science. I then worked several years for the Illinois Department of Transportation as Educational Projects Coordinator for Warren, Henderson and Knox Counties.

I now work as a Drug Prevention Specialist for Bridgeway. My office is located in Monmouth, but I work in Warren, Henderson and Knox Counties. I have taught Drug Prevention Programs at Union, Southern, West Central, United and Monmouth Roseville Schools for over 15 years. If your kids have ever come home telling you anti-drug information, they probably heard it in my classes.

The Henderson County Project I am currently working on, is a community mobilization to prevent underage drinking and drug use. If anyone is interested in helping with these efforts please contact me at (309) 734-8239.

I am on the Western Illinois Youth Board for Work Force Investment, Youth Education Board for U of I Extension, and a long time board member for Eagle View Community Health Systems.

I have served as Gladstone Township Clerk and Supervisor, Republican Chairwoman, Henderson County Health Department Board Member and was the PTC Chairwoman for Union and West Central Elementary Schools for over 15 years.

I have been involved as a leader in 4-H, boy Scouts, and Girls Scouts with my children. I believe that everyone should invest time in their communities.

My mother was the late Yvonne Laird and my father is Granville (Red) Laird. Both of my parents were from Oklahoma.

My mother was raised in Anadarko, which is near Fort Sill. Her parents were Newt and Clara Marie Cosby Spradlin. They owned and operated several long time businesses in Anadarko.

My father was raised by parents, Jefferson and Willie Lyons Laird, who also moved with the oil rigs. He was born in Chandler, Oklahoma on an oil lease. He moved all over the west and at one time lived at Effingham, Illinois as a child. He later joined the Navy and was stationed on a mine sweeper in the Aleutian Islands during WWII.

After the War my dad returned to work in the oil fields He met my mother while working in Anadarko, OK.

My mom was a telephone operator for Caddo County Telephone Co. The town was very boring so any new person in town was the subject of much interest. Dad started out by taking all 5 of the telephone operators out as a group date. He found that Yvonne was the one for him and they married on Easter Day in 1953. They were married for 42 years until she passed away in Houston, Texas in 1995. Red now lives at Oak Wood Estates in Strong hurst.

They raised 5 children Karen of Gladstone, Jana Miller of Oklahoma City, Margie Grounds of Elkhart, Texas, Lydia Barron of Portland, Tennessee, and Jefferson Laird of Pearland, Texas.

Ed and I have four children:

Miranda (Andy) Webster of Lomax. Miranda is the coordinator for InSight,

Tanner (Courtney) of Jacksonville, a student at U of I,

Jake is a phlebotomist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and

Kate (Zach) of Knoxville. is a nursing student at Carl Sandburg and employed by Knox County Nursing Home.

We have 5 grandchildren Carson, Collin, Morgan, Lexie, and Josie all of Jacksonville.

Miranda and Andy will have a new addition to add to our family in early November.