Darcelle XV dead and obituary, Walter Cole, performer behind iconic drag queen
The family, cast, and crew of Walter W. Cole Sr., known for his legendary Portland Drag Queen persona Dassel, announced on Thursday night that he had passed away at the age of 92 due to natural causes. The family requested privacy and patience as everyone grieves in their own way.
Cole had lived a fairly standard American life, including serving his country during the Korean War, being married with two children, and working at Fred Meyer. However, he felt that something was missing and realized he didn’t fit into the ordinary life he was living. In the 1960s, Portland, like many cities in the United States, did not openly accept the LGBTQ+ community, and those who dressed in drag or were different were not well received.
In his 30s, Cole began wearing women’s clothing and eventually purchased a tavern in northwest Portland, which became an icon over time, just like Cole himself. He and his friends performed at the club dressed in drag, but it was kept a secret outside of the club due to public concern.
In 1969, Cole came out as gay and revealed his alter ego persona, Dassel. He left behind a wife, two children, and his legacy of showmanship, culture, and acceptance that has become synonymous with Portland. Dassel’s impact on the city has been compared to Powell’s and Voodoo Donuts, as it has become a must-see attraction for visitors. Cole will be remembered as an extraordinary performer and world-renowned Drag Queen.