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East County News Service

October 5, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Rex A. Cole Sr., a PGA golf professional and instructor at several local golf courses, passed away on August 25. 

A celebration of life is planned on October 29 at 3 p.m. at Carlton Oaks Golf Course in Santee.

Born November 6, 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio, Rex served in the Army from 1964 to 1970. He married his wife, Karen, in 1966, but he also had a lifelong passion for golf. After working at golf courses in his youth, he decided to turn professional and became a PGA member.

He worked as a golf pro and instructor and courses in Ohio and Massachusetts before moving to California, where he first worked at Indian Wells Country Club in Palm Springs. He later worked as head golf professional at San Carlos Golf Course in San Diego, owned Polar Golf in downtown San Diego, and ran the Bonita Driving Range.

Later he came to East County, serving as head golf pro at Carlton Oaks Country Club in Santee, where for 27 years he hosted PGA chapter and section events, U.S. Open qualifiers and other competitive events as well as recreational events ranging from putting contests to men’s and ladies’ club events, also hosting fundraising tournaments and teaching group lessons.

Later he became general manager and head golf pro at Cottonwood Golf Course in the Rancho San Diego area, as well as serving as golf instructor at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca community colleges. Eventually he returned to Carlton Oaks as a golf instructor until his retirement.

He loved teaching kids, running free junior clinics and  free youth golf tournaments during his tenure as a professional. He was very involved in junior golf and growing the game. Rex served two years on the Board of Directors for the San Diego PGA Chapter. He was very proud to be a Half Century PGA Member. Within the PGA, he won the SCPGA's Youth Player Development Award in 1986 and Heritage Family Award in 2016.

His mottos in life were, "Make a friend a day" and "Be nice to everyone.”

Also active in local charities, Rex served on the Board of Directors with the Santee/Lakeside Rotary, The Salvation Army and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

The greatest treasures in his life were his wife, children, and friends.  He is survived by his wife, Karen, of 54 years, and his children that he was so proud of: Christina (Nino), Tammy (Mike), Alissa (Jeff), Sonny, Cassandra (Jeff), Rino, Renato (deceased) and Petra (Chris). He is also survived by his sister Joann and brother Mitchell, along with 14 grandchildren, one great-grandson and numerous nieces and nephews.


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