James T. Coons Jr.
April 20, 1943 — October 12, 2020
It is with great sadness the family announces the passing of James Thomas Coons Jr.
Tom was born April 20, 1943, in Goodland, Kansas to James and Dorothy Coons. He will be lovingly remembered by his surviving family: his wife of 34 years, Kathy (Brewer) Coons of Gilbert, Arizona; four children, James T. “Jimmy” Coons Ill, Cristi (Coons) Whipp (their mother Carol Coons), Amie (Ranly) Jason and her husband Mike, and Brad Ranly; six grandchildren; one great-grandson; his sister, Bonnie (Coons) Neville (her husband Lyle, recently deceased); father-in-law, Floyd Brewer; and two brothers-in-law, Bill Brewer and his wife Cheryl, and Harold Brewer and his wife Janet; all of their families; and other beloved nieces, nephews and dear friends.
In high school, Tom was a four-year letterman, participating in three sports, and graduating from Goodland High School in 1961. His greatest athletic accomplishments came in wrestling, where he won many tournaments, culminating in an individual all-Kansas State championship at 133 pounds his senior year.
Tom attended Kansas State University and was a varsity wrestler and K-State Letterman, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Tom remained an avid K-State fan throughout his life, attending many home football games.
He began his professional career as an art teacher and wrestling coach at Cortez High School in Cortez, Colorado. As an accomplished artisan, he created jewelry and sculptures that were showcased in Cortez and Durango art galleries.
Tom also taught high school and coached wrestling at Ulysses High School in Ulysses, Kansas. In 1979, he led his wrestlers to a team State Championship in the class 4A division, and included three individual state champions; this remarkable accomplishment led to Tom receiving the honor of Kansas Wrestling Coach of the Year.
After concluding his high school teaching and coaching career, Tom kept involved with his passion for the sport of wrestling, in coaching youth and freestyle teams, and officiating wrestling matches and tournaments, where he formed long-lasting bonds with his fellow officials, and was named Wrestling Official of the Year.
He and his family moved to Montrose, Colorado, in 1989, where he was a vice president in mortgage banking, and served this community through several organizations and committees. Among his many accomplishments, he was awarded the Chamber of Commerce’s Red Coat of the Year. Tom designed and landscaped three custom homes in Montrose, where family and friends were always welcome.
His favorite pastimes included traveling, snow skiing, golfing, hunting for arrowheads and mushrooms, and fishing the West Fork of the Dolores River. He was an accomplished landscaper and gardener who loved the beauty of flowers and birds. He took great joy in his children and grandchildren, and was proud of all their accomplishments.
A remarkably honest, hardworking, talented man who lived his life to the fullest, always with a smile on his face and a whistle in his step.
A celebration of his life will be held in Goodland, Kansas, at a later date.