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James Earl Coward

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James Earl Coward Obituary
James Earl Coward

Just a few weeks ago, Jim reflected thoughtfully "we had a great life". It's a fortunate man who can look back on 80 years as well-lived. He passed away on September 18, surrounded by family, after a courageous battle with cancer.

James Earl Coward was born February 11, 1933 in Garden City, Michigan; the youngest of Mildred (Paterson) and Percy Coward's four children; moving to Bellingham as a teenager.

Jim is survived by daughters Jana Peterson and Jennifer Robinson (Jeff); five granddaughters Sarah Jindra (Rob), Rachel Wienckoski, Emily Robinson, Audrey Robinson and Grace Robinson; he had a special relationship with his son-in-law Jeff and many of his 'Coward' nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by Elizabeth, his wife of 55 years in April of this year; their son Thomas in 1985; and his siblings Thomas, Vesta and Richard.

Jim graduated from Bellingham High School in 1951 and briefly attended the University of Washington before enlisting in the Air Force. He served as a Radioman on the B29 tanker plane. He was in the air on his way to active duty in Korea when the armistice was signed. After military service, he returned to the UW to complete his degree in Mathematics. He had a distinguished 35 year career with Safeco Life Insurance, starting as an Actuary and serving for many years as Vice President until retirement.

Jim and Liz met in Bellingham and married on December 27, 1957. They raised their children in Kirkland, and are a stellar example of loving partnership and commitment to family. Jim spent his last years selflessly caring for Liz throughout her struggle with Alzheimer's - surpassing doctors' expectations by resisting his own illness so that he could be with her.

They were fortunate to spend many post-retirement years traveling; adventures in Europe, Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Thirty years were spent nurturing and enjoying their waterfront getaway on Camano Island.

"A great life" indeed. Family will gather graveside on Sunday, October 6 followed by a memorial reception at Jim's home. Please email for details at [email protected]

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Published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 29, 2013
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