James Anthony Cole

Jun 12, 1931 – Apr 8, 2015

James Anthony Cole obituary image 1



James Anthony Cole

James Anthony (Jim) Cole passed from this life April 8th, losing his brave battle with cancer.  Jim was born June 12, 1931 in Tacoma, Washington, the fifth child of Floyd Raymond and Minnie Frieda Cole (Harm).  He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1949 and worked in sawmills in Tacoma and Seattle to earn money for college at the University of Washington.  During that time he also served in the U.S. Coast Guard on the Bonham, Fir, and Northwind, earning the rank of Petty Officer, First Class. 

While serving in Coos Bay, he met his first true love and mother of his four children, Shirley Maxine Lindros.  They married in 1956 and settled in Edmonds to start their family.  Tragically, Maxine died of cancer in 1966, leaving Jim with four young children.  With personal strength and help from his family they stayed together, and Jim married Myrna Marie Dean in 1968, who passed in 2008.

Jim graduated from UW in 1957 with a degree in Industrial Design and entered the marine industry, working in Seattle during the 60’s crab-boat boom, in Tacoma during the era of large tuna seiners, and then back in Seattle at Foss Shipyard for almost 20 years.  Jim continued working in the Naval Architecture business until finally fully retiring from Elliott Bay Design Group December 31, 2014.  During his illustrious career, he established himself as a gifted Marine Artist and Historian, in addition to contributing greatly to the industry in a variety of roles.

His maritime career culminated in the 2013 publication of his award-winning book, Drawing on Our History: Fishing Vessels of the PNW and Alaska, which documented the development of the North Pacific fishery.  His book earned him the prestigious Robert Gray Medal, the highest award bestowed by the Washington State Historical Society.

Jim was loved by all who knew him, leaving a lasting legacy through his family and work accomplishments.  He is survived by his loving children: daughter Gretchen, son Jonathan and his wife Jaquie and sons Daniel and Barton; grand-children Joseph Cole, Jeffery Cole, Maxin N.B. Cole-Takanikos and Jasmine Takanikos; his beloved sister Elizabeth (Betty); Ann Maki, his partner of the past six years; and a fleet of nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews who adored their Uncle Jim.

Services will be held at 2:00 Saturday May 9th at Ballard First Lutheran Church, where he was a member.  A Celebration of Jim’s Life follows at 4:00 at Leif Erickson Hall.

Remembrances should be made to the American Cancer Society, Ballard First Lutheran Church, or the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Arrangements by Wiggen and Sons.





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