Cole Charles Rutzer was born to Greg Rutzer and Lesley Ashby at Providence St. Peter in Olympia, Washington on March 5, 1998. Cole grew up in Olympia and Westport, though Westport has always been his home. He went to school in Olympia through the third grade, transferred to Ocosta Elementary, and later graduated from Ocosta High School in 2016.
From an early age, Cole showed an enthusiasm for life. He simply loved to live and was constantly in motion. He enjoyed working with his hands, trying new things and spending time outdoors. He was always one to make friends quickly and create deep bonds with the people he was in relationship with. He carried that with him throughout his entire life.
It was no surprise that he didn’t care for school, but he put his heart into the work he chose for himself. He was a gifted athlete, especially in wrestling. He qualified for the state competition 4 years in a row, and placed 3 different years. Cole was often the first to stir-up trouble but out of a light-hearted and playful spirit. As he grew up and graduated high school he became exceedingly responsible and his strong work ethic became more and more apparent. Whenever he was asked to help around the house, he would do so diligently. Cole deeply cared for and always looked out for his mother, Lesley. They shared a goofy sense of humor and a lighthearted approach to life.
Cole looked up to his father, Greg. Greg is a crab fisherman and fished most of the school year while Cole was growing up, but he would take Cole and Courtney (Cole’s older sister) during the summer time. Summers were filled with frog catching, shooting, fishing, riding quads, playing on the beach, swimming at the local pool and more. These seemed to be the days that inspired how he would spend the rest of his life.
The past few years Cole spent most of his time with his father and captain Greg, cousin Brent Gilbertson and friends Dylan Furford and Kaleb Orton working as a deckhand on the Pacific Dynasty. The ocean ran in Cole’s blood, and he had a deep love for it. He came from a long line of fishermen on both sides of his family.
He had an affinity for dirt bikes, hunting and fishing, and simply loved to have a good time with good company. Cole had a large group of quality friends that he would often gather with when he wasn’t working.
Cole considered Jodee and Tom Orton, Cindy and Sean Maben, and Jim and Angie Hoff family, along with their children. Cole was especially close with Kaleb Orton, Connor Maben and Hayden Hoff.Cole was loyal and generous. He would do just about anything for the people in his life. He was fierce and compassionate, outspoken and honest. His spirit of generosity and ability to live in every moment enriched not only his life but the lives of those around him.
Cole died on July 2, 2020. His loyal companion, black lab Trigger, stayed with him until the end. In the wake of Cole’s tragic, confusing and unexpected departure from this world, we are not left empty handed. We are left with colorful memories of his unique life and with his courageous spirit to lead us on— reminding us to live boldly, not take ourselves too seriously, and to continue to show up for the people we love again and again.
God bless Cole and Dylan.
Cole is survived by his mother Lesley Ashby, father Greg Rutzer and sister Courtney Rutzer; Great-grandmothers, Luella Engvall of Westport and Judy Barber of Aberdeen; grandmothers Brenda Darling of Poulsbo and Cindy Wilson of Central Park; great-grandfathers, Brady Engvall of Westport and Jack Barber of Aberdeen; grandfathers Dave Ashby of Ocosta and Jim Wilson of Central Park; uncles Mike Rutzer, Dean Blazek and Johnny Wilson of Westport, David Ashby of Ocosta and James Wilson of Hawaii; aunts Julia Rutzer, Laurie Rutzer and Nikki Blazek of Westport; cousins Brent Gilbertson, Piper Rutzer, Dustin and Matthew Rutzer, Brittney and Jade Blazek, and Leon Bertollioti of Westport, Megan Rutzer of Bellingham, Peyton Wilson of Marysville and Brandon Miller of Olympia.
Cole’s family plans to hold a service to honor his life near the end of August at Roberta Merino’s home. The date has yet to be set. Details of this gathering will be announced to the community once confirmed.