NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Former Indiana auto dealer Courtney Cox Cole died Sunday at 48 after losing a battle with lung and bone cancer, her family announced on the Team Courtney Strong Facebook page.
“She was a true warrior and champion at everything she did in life, including [fighting] this horrible cancer,” they wrote. “She was surrounded by family and loved ones when she passed. … Thank you so much for all your prayers and thoughts. She was a very loved woman by all, and we will miss her immensely.”
Cole, a lifelong athlete and nonsmoker, was first diagnosed in 2014. She and sister Monica Peck had assumed ownership of Hare Chevrolet of Noblesville, Ind., from parents Dave and Jackie Cox (née Hare) in 2008. The pair’s “Sisters of Savings” ad campaign raised their profiles in their community — sales reportedly doubled within a year — and industrywide.
“You may feel panic setting in. But in this business, we learn so much by going for it.”
Cole was a regular contributor to Auto Dealer Today from 2011 to 2013, offering practical and inspirational advice to fellow dealers and managers. In her final entry, she summed up her approach to investing in new tools and profit centers.
“The conditions are never going to be perfect,” she wrote. “You just have to get in and bloody your nose. But you also have to realize you may have to take three steps forward and two steps back — or three steps forward and four steps back, at least at the beginning — before you begin to make progress. It can sometimes be painful. You may feel panic setting in. But in this business, we learn so much by going for it.”
Cole and Peck sold Hare Chevrolet to Asbury Automotive Group in 2017. That year, she began to chronicle her battle with cancer in a series of columns for the Hamilton County Recorder. She also reflected on her days as a star basketball and golf player at Noblesville High and Indiana University; she was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
“It is a constant mental game,” Cole wrote in March 2017. “I am very thankful for my athletic background as it allows me to have an attitude to compete against this disease. It is definitely the toughest competition that I have ever encountered. I rely on my sports background to provide me with an ‘attitude’ to conquer this major setback.”