Craig Merrill Coulam

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Craig Merrill Coulam

Nashville, TN

Craig Merrill Coulam, who passed away on April 10, 2014 from cancer, was a cowboy with an ever curious mind and a gentle soul. Born and raised in Utah, Craig's heart resided in the western mountains he explored as a youth. He loved wearing cowboy hats and for years sported a larger-than-life belt buckle. He listened to cowboy theme songs and read scores of novels by Louis L'Amour. Life eventually took him to Nashville, which admittedly is not in the West but whose residents, at least, fully endorse dressing in western wear. In his later years, he also spent his vacations in Montana where he skied, hiked mountain trails, fly fished, and attempted (with limited success) to perfect his golf game.

Craig's mind was active and curious. He majored in electrical engineering in college and earned his doctorate in biophysics and bioengineering before turning to medicine. As a radiologist, he was always examining how the body is put together and looked for the mystery of what lies inside us. He was just as interested in how the world—and indeed the universe—works. In his spare time, he studied geophysics, astrophysics, and quantum mechanics, among other pursuits. He also loved dissecting the mathematical logic behind advanced Sudoku puzzles as well as the vagaries of the color calibration of laser printers.

Craig's patient gentleness, however, was perhaps his most notable trait. He was a devoted husband and father. He volunteered as a basketball coach and tutored his sons and grandsons in mathematics. Craig was also a baby whisperer who mesmerized his newborn grandchildren with his steady heartbeat and soft voice. His gentleness further expressed itself in his art. His oil paintings of western landscapes were his favorites, but he won awards for his still lifes, which suggested geometric precision while flowing in a dance of color, light, and shadow.

Craig is survived by Martha, his wife of 44 years; siblings, Curtis Coulam and Joyce Swofford; sons, Andrew (Laura) and Brian (Lauren); and grandchildren, Owen, William, Charles, Sophia, Jack, and a granddaughter to be born this summer.

The family will have a private celebration of life to commemorate the passing of a great man. In lieu of flowers, Craig asked that you make a donation to your to help make this world a better place. Guestbook Crawford Mortuary & Crematory, (615) 254-8200.

Funeral Home
Crawford Mortuary & Crematory
2714 Grandview Avenue
Nashville, TN 37211
(615) 254-8200
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Published in The Tennessean on Apr. 13, 2014
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