James “Jim” Edward Coombs, 81, of Sheridan, Wyoming passed into the next life on February 11, 2024 following a heart attack.
Jim was born on May 2, 1942, in Billings, Montana to John and Cynthia Coombs. His life was one of a loving husband, a strong father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather to a whole crew of family members who will carry his flame.
Jim grew up on a farm in Laurel, Montana - you’d know it by his ethic. He graduated from Fromberg High School in 1960 and joined the Air Force a year later in 1961 to serve four years, earning the rank of Airman First Class. On July 18th, 1942 he married the love of his life, Frances Fanning.
Following his service in the Air Force, Jim pursued a successful career as an electronic technician for the FAA, where he dedicated nearly 40 years of his life. In retirement, he’d continue to serve friends and family with his knowledge and expertise as a sparky.
Jim was a man who taught those who know him the value of a firm handshake and genuine smile by bringing both every time you saw him. The sound of his voice let you know how much he valued each and every engagement. He taught us by example to value and cherish the small moments, a short visit, a lucky hand in a card game, a shared story or a #43 Chicken Burrito Loco at Las Delicias. He taught us that in the end, the little things are the big things…maybe he even knew something we didn’t, and he’s still teaching us, even now. He had a way of leading by example, one we will no doubt be emulating and learning from for many years to come.
Jim found solace and tranquility in his garden and/ or at a body of water. You’d catch him at Twin Lakes or Park Reservoir, fishing pole in hand, King Ropes hat on in good company with a Miller Genuine Draft in reach and some sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco we’re all wishing we could enjoy the smell of one more time. He would teach and pass on his knowledge and love for gardening and fishing to his children and grandchildren, who will surely carry on the tradition.
Jim carried on his mother’s love of gardening and always enjoyed a tour of his childrens’ flower and vegetable gardens. He taught the value of seeing something through, from planting a seed to fostering its growth to eating and enjoying its end product. He will always live in our gardens and their contents.
Jim especially loved time in the mountains with family - hunting, fishing, or playing cards at a picnic table. These pastimes brought him and his most memorable qualities to life. The smile, laughter, commentary and jokes they drew from him created lasting memories, stories and sound bites his family will treasure for life. He would play all sorts of card games including Hand and Foot, Pinochle, Bridge and Cribbage. After every family dinner & gathering, you’d find him playing and joking, laughing and teasing, only pausing on occasion to smoke his pipe outside. He would even sometimes let other family members win just to keep it fun for everyone. (Some may object, but I’m writing this thing and I’m pretty sure that’s how it went.)
Jim was a loving husband to Frances Ann Coombs and a devoted father to his four children: Jami McLean (Doug), Jodi Ilgen (Kurt), Juli Coombs, and Jimmy Coombs (Morgan). He cherished his siblings, Donald Coombs, Sally Hazen, and John Coombs. Jim was also a proud grandfather to Brittany Lewis, Brady McLean, Bailey Trampe, Bryan McLean, Lizz Catalano, Tyler Ilgen, Kaiti Vieira, Calli Aust, Brooke Robinson, Evan Jones, Emma Coombs, and another grandchild expected in May. He was blessed with eight great-grandchildren: Oakley, Parker, Maya, Miles, Warren, Abbott, Corina, and Chloe.
A memorial service to celebrate and honor Jim's life will be held at 11am on Thursday at Kane Funeral Home in Sheridan, Wyoming. Prior to the service, a public viewing will be available beginning at 10am. The Kane Funeral Home is lucky to have him. Even in death, he brings life to the parties he attends in the form of the best family and friends a man could know, and he was the best man we could’ve ever asked for. We’ll mourn his passing and celebrate his life accordingly.
He will be missed, and his life and its impact will be revered and honored daily by all who survive him. He knew love in his lifetime, and love knew him and undoubtedly welcomes him in the next. He will be remembered as a wise mentor, a humble teacher, a heroic father, a hard worker, a loving husband, a friend you could count on, a brother, a present and affectionate grandfather and great grandfather. He was and remains an example and model of a great man.
A funeral service with Military Honors will be held on Thursday, February 15, 2024 at Kane Funeral Home with Pastor Vanya Mullinax officiating. Public visitation will begin at 10:30 am. Funeral Service will begin at 11:00am. Following the service the burial will take place at Sheridan Municipal Cemetery, Juniper Heights section. A reception will follow the burial at Kane Funeral Home Reception Hall.
If you are unable to attend the service in person, please follow the link below for the live stream.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.