- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Kathleen Martin Cole, a former personal secretary to the secretary of the Navy, died April 15 of Alzheimer’s disease at The Jefferson retirement community in Arlington. She was 90.

Mrs. Cole was born March 20, 1916, in Oklahoma City. She came to the District during World War II and worked as the personal secretary to Navy Secretary Frank Knox.

After the war, Mrs. Cole served in Paris on the staff of the Marshall Plan, which worked to rebuild Europe. While there, she learned French and developed a lifelong interest in France’s art and cuisine.

After returning to the United States, she married Paul Martin, chief of the Washington bureau for Gannett Newspapers and later a political editor for U.S. News & World Report.

In 1959, she traveled to the Soviet Union as part of the delegation that witnessed the “kitchen debate” between Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

Mr. Martin died in 1978. Mrs. Cole married Benjamin Cole in 1983. Mr. Cole was chief of the Washington bureau of the Indianapolis Star and Arizona Sun newspapers, as well as president of the Gridiron Club.

Mrs. Cole served as president of the Salvation Army Auxiliary for the D.C. area from 1968 to 1970. She donated many of her artworks for charity to the Arlington Neighbors Club and was active in the Arlington community.

Relatives said she will be remembered for her beauty and sense of taste in fashion and decoration.

Mrs. Cole is survived by a daughter, Susanne M. Campbell of Berkeley, Calif. Mr. Cole died in 2002.

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