Obituary of Cole Porter, famous composer
Famed Cole Porter To Be Buried in Peru
PERU, Ind. (AP) -- Songwriter Cole Porter, who hobnobbed with the world's celebrities but came and went virtually unnoticed in his native Peru, will be buried here next to his wife and mother.
The Hoosier-born composer of scores of hits and Broadway musicals died Friday at Santa Monica, Calif., of complications following surgery for removal of a kidney stone. He was 71.
Ironically, less than a half hour after Cole died, a cousin, James Omar Cole III, 23, Peru died in an El Paso, Tex., hospital of injuries suffered in a traffic accident. Cole was stationed at White Sands Missile Range.
The youth's parents, Mr. and Mrs. James O. Cole, occupy Porter's estate overlooking the Mississinewa River 4 miles southeast of Peru.
The son of Samuel F. Porter, Peru druggist with extensive farming interests, and Kate Cole Porter, young Cole was an accomplished pianist at 6 and composed an operetta when he was 10.
Shocked by this taste for music, Porter's grandfather, J. O. Cole, sent him to boarding school in the east and later to Yale University. he wanted his grandson to become an attorney, but Porter began writing campus shows and composed two football songs, "Bingo, Eli Yale" and "Yale Bulldog Song."
Porter inherited $1 million from his grandfather, who found coal on his Virginia timberlands, and later reportedly inherited $68 million from his mother.
It was Kate Porter who recognized her son's musical talent and encouraged daily practice. After he became an internationally known composer, Porter frequently came home to visit his widowed mother, never with any fanfare. He came and went so quietly most townfolk didn't know he had been in Peru.
His mother died in 1953 and Cole's wife, the former Linda Lee Thomas of Louisville, Ky., died the following year. They had no children.
Porter's first hit came in 1919 --"An Old Fashioned Garden," contained in the Broadway musical "Hitchy-Koo of 1919" and inspired by a garden near his Hoosier home.
There were numerous other successes such as "Night and Day," "Begin the Beguine," "In the Still of the Night," "What Is This Thing Called Love," and "Don't Fence Me In."
There were failures too. Following collapse of the Broadway show, "See America First," Porter joined the French Foreign Legion and later transferred to the French Army, serving throughout World War I as a gunnery instructor.
Porter suffered fractures of both legs in 1938 when thrown from a horse. After a series of operations, his right leg was amputated in 1958.
The songwriter's body has been flow to Peru for private services at the Eikenberry Funeral Home. No time was announced.
Burial will be in the family plot at Mount Hope Cemetery in Peru.