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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:          DONALD KOLE

INTERVIEWER:     UNKNOWN

DATE:                     SEPTEMBER 3, 2005

LOCATION:            SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

Biography

Donald Kole was born on September 20, 1930 to Beatrice and Abe Kowalsky. Donald was born in Massachusetts and moved to several places in the region while growing up. He attended college at Boston University and volunteered for the Army to fight in the Korean War after he graduated in 1952. His Army career eventually took him to Fort Gordon in Georgia where he worked with civilian group testers in the Signal Corps.

Donald met his wife Kaye Robinson while in Georgia with the Army. Donald and Kaye got married on January 1, 1955. Soon after, Donald began working for his father-in-law, Sam Robinson, at the Bay Street Lumber Company. Upon Sam’s death, Donald took over the company and began expansions into other professional areas. Donald also opened Builderama with his brother-in-law, Paul Robinson.

Donald has played a large role in the development and success of Savannah throughout his adult life. He has worked in many different fields, ranging from building, real estate, mortgage, and apartment renting. Donald also gives back to his community in full, working with a variety of organizations such as the Jewish Educational Alliance, the Savannah Jewish Federation, Union Mission, the Georgia Historical Society, and Hospice Savannah.

Scope of the Interview

In this interview, Donald briefly discusses his life growing up and dives into his life as an adult in Savannah, Georgia. Donald tells the interviewer about his various businesses as well as the civic and community work he has done over the years.

Donald discusses his time at bay Street Lumber Company as well as the inception of his business, Builderama, and the lifespan of that company in Savannah. Donald also talks about his involvement in numerous organizations in Savannah, including both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. Donald talks about his time on the executive board of many organizations like the Savannah Jewish Federation, The Jewish Educational Alliance, Hospice Savannah, the Georgia Historical Society, and Union Mission.

Donald shares his experiences with these organizations in Savannah and how he has helped shape them into what they are today as well as how they have impacted him. Donald also discusses his family life, the different hobbies he has had over his lifetime, and his collection of primitive African art. Donald closes the interview by explaining his view on Judaism.

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