BONIFAY, Fla. (WMBB) — Family, friends, and the local legal community are mourning the loss of one of its colleagues.

Judge Russell Cole Jr. passed away at the age of 79. Cole was raised in Orlando and served in the army in Vietnam in the mid-60s.

After returning home he earned a Bachelor’s Degree from what is now the University of Central Florida, then his law degree from Florida State University.

Cole began practicing law in the Bonifay Chipley area in 1974, where he was the city attorney for Wausau, Vernon, Westville, and Bonifay.

He was appointed as a Circuit Judge in 1990, serving the 14th Judicial Circuit until January 2003. Cole continued to serve as a senior judge for the next 10 years.

He became a certified Florida mediator in 2005 and served in that capacity until 2020.

The Cole family will receive friends at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning at the First United Methodist Church of Bonifay. The memorial service will begin at 11 a.m.