John Coker, MD

Obituary of John William Coker, MD

John Coker (Jack to his friends) passed away on May 20, 2019 from cancer-related complications at Mother Joseph Care Center in Olympia, Washington.  


Jack was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 26, 1938 to James T. and Marie B. (Pflugfelder) Coker, the youngest of their three children.  He grew up in Havertown, Pennsylvania, attended Haverford High School and graduated from Haverford College in 1960.  Jack was an avid football player from elementary school through college, serving as captain of his team in high school and college.  During his youth, Jack enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending time at his parents’ cabin.


Jack entered Temple University Medical School in 1960 and graduated in 1964.  In 1962, he married Lynn Ellsworth.  Jack joined the U.S. Public Health Service after graduation and served his internship in Baltimore.  Jack completed his service in Seattle and then moved back to the Philadelphia area to finish his residency and training.  In 1970, Jack and Lynn moved their family to Olympia, Washington, where Jack started his private orthopedic practice, Olympia Orthopedic Associates.  Jack and Lynn divorced in 1979.  He left his practice in 1994 and became an independent medical examiner for the next 20 years.


Jack enjoyed life.  He loved being on the water and spent years sailing Puget Sound. He spent time riding motorcycles, including rides through Europe.  He skied, traveled, golfed and enjoyed watching various sports teams, particularly the Phillies, the Eagles, the Seahawks and the Mariners.  He enjoyed spending time with friends, including his good friend Jackie Hightower, in Seattle, Benton City and Palm Desert.  He also enjoyed spending time at his “sanctuary” on Curlew Lake and with his friends in Republic, Washington.  After living on Hood Canal and then in Seattle, he moved back to Olympia to be closer to his family.


Jack is survived by five children, Carolyn (Dean), Liz, Steve (Gretchen), Chris (Penny), and David (Mara); and nine grandchildren, Alison, Kenny, Nick, Owen, Avery, Ian, Emerson, Zayn and Jack.  He also is survived by his sister, Barbara (Meric); brother, Jim (Kathy); as well as numerous nieces and nephews.   Jack was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Kenneth, who died of the flu in 1969.


An open house celebration of Jack’s life will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2019, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the River’s Edge Restaurant in Tumwater, Washington. 


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made online to the National Down Syndrome Society or Providence St. Peter Foundation.

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Celebration Open House

2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Saturday, June 29, 2019
River's Edge Restaurant
4611 Tumwater Valley Dr SE,
Tumwater, Washington, United States
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