Beloved son and dear friend.
Born in Tacoma, Wash., on Feb. 18, 1953, Jim Cobb quietly ended his five-year challenge with lymphoma Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at his home in Olympia, Wash., with his mother, Kathy Cobb, at his bedside. When asked how he was doing, he always gave a smile and a cheerful "fine." He so deeply appreciated life and the people around him that he could overlook his own troubles to help others bear theirs.
Jim was a master storyteller and author. His big break came with his Amanda Garrett series, the futuristic navy techno thrillers "Choosers of the Slain" (Putnam, 1996), "Sea Strike," "Sea Fighter" and "Target Lock."
"West on 66" (St. Martin's Press, 1997) featured adventures along the iconic Route 66 and launched his Kevin Pulaski series. Set in the 1950s, the Pulaski series included three novels and several short stories published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. One of the short stories, "Framed," was voted a Readers' Top Ten favorite for 2006.
His science fiction novel, "Cibola," was published by Five Star in 2004. His short stories appear in many anthologies and magazines, including First to Fight I & II, The Fantastic Civil War, and Phantasm magazine. More recently, he published "The Arctic Event" (Grand Central, 2007), a novel in Robert Ludlum's Covert One thriller series.
Jim not only wrote his own books, but generously shared his passion for a good story. He spent hundreds of hours encouraging and mentoring aspiring writers, appearing on panels at conventions and working with his critique group.
He grew up in Tacoma, graduating from Lincoln High in 1972 and the University of Puget Sound in 1976, with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration and English. As a young boy, he loved spending time on his uncle's ranch in Eastern Washington. Before making it big as a writer, his career spanned such diverse occupations as ranch hand, truck dispatcher, disk jockey and bookstore and theater manager. He spent most of his life in Tacoma, moving to the rural Tenino area in 2008.
Jim was a man of diverse enthusiasms, including western and military history, classic cars, ghost stories, firearms, science fiction and UFOs. He maintained an enormous book collection. He belonged to the Navy League and the U.S. Naval Institute. Jim was commissioned a "Kentucky Colonel" by Governor Paul Patton in recognition of his achievements.
He loved to travel the back roads in his 1960 Thunderbird "Lisette," attending car shows, researching his books, telling stories round the campfire and poking around the wilderness country of our own west, as well as visiting countries from Morocco to China.
He is survived by his mother, Kathryne, and the many friends who were lucky enough to have him in their lives.
From early childhood, Jim's yearly visits to Idaho Falls, accompanied by his grandmother, Anna Nyegaard Cobb, taught him the history of the city and his family roots. Anna, born and raised in Idaho Falls, loved it dearly and a small book of hers is in the Museum Library. Her family came to Eagle Rock in 1889. Her grandfather, Carl John Carlson, and his sons were stonemasons and built several lava rock buildings downtown (now gone). Anna's father, James Sorenson Nyegaard, was a businessman and part of the early development of the fire department. Jim's great great uncle, C.A. (Algot) Carlson was police chief for 23 years.
The Midsummer Fests at Sealander Park, the stories of New Sweden, and the irrigation projects and the development of the atomic age in the desert; how the ladies of Idaho Falls made possible the planting of the wonderful old trees that grace the streets and parks. Such cherished memories contributed to Jim's desire to be buried here.
Jim will be laid to rest beside his grandmother in the Nyegaard section of Rose Hill Cemetery with Graveside services at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 19.
Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.woodfuneralhome.com.