Our first award recipient, Mrs. Karla Cole Green, is one who is held in high esteem by many throughout and beyond Metro Detroit. Karla is a native of Detroit and the younger of two daughters of the late Mr. James H. Cole, Jr. and of Mrs. Jeanette Cole.
After graduating in 1975 from Benedictine Catholic High School, Karla attended Marygrove College and Wayne State University. In 1979, she graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and became a licensed mortician.
In 1981, Karla and the late Arthur A. Green, III, were married. They became the proud parents of Antonio and Brice, the loving grandparents of Jayden, Lacie and Nolan and the affectionate carers of the family dogs Ainu and Gizzmo, an abandoned dog that was found near the funeral home’s Boulevard location nine years ago.
Following in her grandfather’s and father’s footsteps, Karla ushered in a third generation of Coles to continue the excellent quality of service of the family’s funeral home after the passing of her father in 1991.
Karla’s sons, Antonio and Brice have both graduated from schools of mortuary science and have ushered in a fourth generation to build upon the rich legacy of the James H. Cole Homes for Funeral.
Karla is a lifetime member of the NAACP; a ,member of the Booker T. Washington Business Association, the Sacred Heart Parish’s St. Anne’s Court # 71 of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of St. Peter Claver, Incorporated and sits on the Board of Visitors of the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University.
Among her honors are: The Keep the Dream Alive Award, the Outstanding Community Involvement Award, the 100 Black Women in Funeral Service President Award and the 2012 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Award. Under her directorship, the funeral home has received countless awards, which include the Detroit Spirit of Appreciation Award and the Business of the Year Award.
With Karla at its helm the James H. Cole Home for Funerals is the oldest African American owned funeral home in Metropolitan Detroit, celebrating over 96 years of professional, compassionate, dignified and committed service to families throughout the city. It is the only African American Home for Funerals in our city that is owned and operated by a Catholic family. The high caliber of service provided by the funeral home is a reflection of the character of its leader, Karla Cole Green.
When asked to what she attributes the prestigious longevity of the funeral home, Karla stated: “Being good to people; being kind to people. If you are kind and fair with everyone you will be successful.”
Look at almost any city parish’s Sunday bulletin, and you will see the support of Karla Cole Green to our city parishes. Additionally, Karla has underwritten the Josephite African American History and Heritage Calendar, which is freely distributed to city parishes -bringing Black religious art into many homes and religious education classes.
While we are grateful to Karla for many reasons, we are especially grateful for her compassionate service to those who feel and receive Christ-like mercy from her during their most challenging and delicate time of need. We pray that Karla and her family feel that same Christ-like mercy from us as we continue to lift them up in prayer.
Ladies and gentleman, I am most elated to present to you as a recipient of the SISTERS’ OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO COMMUNITY AWARD, the President of the James H. Cole Home for Funerals, MRS. KARLA COLE GREEN.