Charles Cole was born in June 1876 and grew up near Coudersport, Pa.
He showed an early talent for sales and started selling pianos and organs for Smith Music Company in Olean, N.Y.
Cole's friendship with John Patterson, then president of the National Cash Register Company, brought him in contact with Thomas Watson.
When Watson started his own business, the Rochester Time and Recording Company, he hired Cole as a salesman. Cole enjoyed great success there.
He also used part of his salary to invest in company stocks.
Watson's company later became IBM.
Cole retired and moved back to his beloved Coudersport in the late 1920s.
Few people knew of his wealth until his death in 1961. Cole left instructions that his estate was to fund a much-needed community hospital.
Thanks to his generous widow, Edith Pinney, Cole Memorial opened in September 1967.
Mrs. Cole later married a Chicago surgeon, G. Howard Irwin. Both kept a philanthropic interest in the hospital until their deaths in the 1990s.
The couple set up charitable trusts to help meet the health needs of the community far into the future. These trusts have funded many of UPMC Cole's new buildings, including the Irwin Rehabilitation Center and the Irwin Medical Arts Center.