Soul food legend Evangeline Cole-Thompson, also known as “Mama Cole,” died at age 58 succumbing to pancreatic cancer.
”The Lord blessed me with the ability to cook,” she told Nicholls.
Cole, along with her husband, opened Cole’s Cafe in Southeast Washington D.C. after a van smashed the kitchen where they sold carry-out meals to local soul food enthusiasts. Cole was adored by her fans and by critics, who consistently praised her food as well as her generosity.
According to the Washington Post, Cole found solace in giving as much as cooking:
In 2007, Cole-Thompson’s husband, William Thompson, suffered a paralyzing stroke, and she fell behind on her bills for the restaurant. Her customers rallied to her support, and she got advice from a fellow restaurateur: “Stop giving so much away. You can’t make it like that.”
But she found it hard to tamp down her generosity, and Cole’s closed in 2008. Cole-Thompson continued to cater community events until stricken with cancer, Motley said.
Anyone in the D.C. area that wants to attend her celebration services, it will take place Tuesday at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church; a wake is set for 10 a.m., a funeral service for noon.