Celebration of life planned for late CBA President Vickie Cole

A celebration of life service has been arranged for Vickie Cole, co-owner of American Stage Tours of Concord, California, and President of the California Bus Association, who died unexpectedly on Jan. 17 while attending the ABA Marketplace in Nashville. She was 64.

Vickie Cole
Vickie Cole

The service will be held Monday, April 1, at 11 a.m. at Blue Oaks Church, 7139 Koll Center Parkway in Pleasanton, California. Lunch will be provided following the service.

“The family and we are asking everyone to RSVP so we can have enough seats and food,” said American Stages co-owner Charles Williams. He requests that attendees respond by March 24 to American Stage Tours at info@americanstagetours.com, putting “RSVP Vickie’s Celebration of Life” in the subject line. 

“We would love for those who can attend to come, obviously, because she touched so many lives,” Williams said, noting that in addition to leading CBA, Cole was involved in ABA’s Women in Buses.

Williams says Cole would appreciate that the service falls on both Easter Monday and April Fool’s Day because she was deeply religious and had a sense of humor, he says.

“She would have gotten a chuckle out of it,” Williams said.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a local animal rescue foundation in Cole’s name. 

Concerned with the passenger experience

A respected industry leader full of entrepreneurial get-go, Cole had been part of the leadership team at American Stage Tours (AST) since 1991.

“It’s a great loss,” said Williams. “Vickie’s contributions established AST as the tour and charter company to turn to for charters, senior trips and travel throughout the Western U.S. and Canada. Our successful history is due to her intelligence, experience, and passion to please our customers.”

In addition to creating sell-out tours and trips for Bay Area seniors, Cole often served as the driver. She credited her driving experience with helping her business offer tours in which travelers could relax and enjoy the leisure travel experience. 

Cole started her motorcoach career as operations manager for Tri-Star Charters in the Northern California community of Concord in the early 1980s. When she started her own business, she knew the type of experience she wanted to create for her customers.

“I have driven motorcoach for over 30 years and have seen personally what works and does not work in the travel industry,” she wrote on her LinkedIn page. “As a driver, I would see companies take what should be a seven-day trip and make it four or five days. This was not leisure travel to the passengers on my coach. Now when I create a tour, it is relaxing. The passenger does not need a vacation when they come back.

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