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Shondi Michele Cole
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Obituary for Shondi Michele Cole

Shondi Michele Cole passed from this life on October 6, 2017, after a long and very brave battle with cancer which she faced with the same tenacious and indefatigable spirit in which she lived all of her life. Shondi was born August 24, 1966 in Shawnee Mission, Kansas and was raised in Ottawa, Kansas, but moved to Florida after college, eventually going back to Kansas for law school. While there she met her beloved husband, Jeff Fennell. After graduating from Washburn University of Topeka School of Law, Shondi brought Jeff to Lakeland, Florida where she began her vocation as a public defender for juveniles. Shondi was recognized throughout the state of Florida as an expert in the field of juvenile criminal defense, serving for the Florida Bar on the Juvenile Court Rules Committee for 12 years. Even after being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatments, Shondi continued to work for the Tenth Circuit Public Defender, where she served as an inspiration to all with whom she worked in the courthouse. Her unrelenting efforts on behalf of the children she represented won her the coveted Hardball Award in 2002. In recognition of her career-long efforts to better the lives of her clients, Public Defender Rex Dimmig recently presented her with his Champion of Justice Award.Travel and laughter were her great loves and she collected friends on all her travels. Shondi was predeceased by her parents, Donna Cole Bartling and Jerry Cole, and is survived by her stepmother, Glenda Cole; her stepfather, Burr Bartling; her sister, Kristen Conway and brother-in-law Tim Conway; niece, Jessica Fennell; and nephews Brody Conway, Chayton Conway, and Ryan Fennell. She leaves many grieving cousins, aunts and uncles, and many dear friends, especially in her Public Defender family. A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, in the 1926 Courtroom in the Historic Polk County Courthouse (the Polk County History Center), 100 East Main Street, Bartow. Memorial services will also be held in Ottawa, Kansas, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the American Cancer Society. Condolences may be sent to the family at

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4:00 PM
The Polk County History Center - 1926 Courtroom in the Historic Polk County Courthouse

100 East Main Street
Bartow, Florida 33830


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