Donald Arthur Coulter

April 21, 1951May 10, 2018
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Strength, admiration, inspiration, perseverance, positive outlook, can do attitude, fighter, quirky, witty, funny, stubborn, are just a few phrases to describe Don. He was a husband, father, grandpa, brother, cousin, family, friend, co-worker, and so many other things to all of us. We all will remember him by his determination in life. Medically his life was anything but easy. Regardless of loss of both his legs, two kidney transplants and numerous surgeries, this didn’t keep him from doing what he wanted. His brother Bob graciously donated a kidney to Don in 1984, which lasted 12 years. Don received a kidney and pancreas in 1998, which gave him 20 more years. We all are forever grateful for such generous donations to have Don in our lives for the last 67 years. Don grew up in Irondale with his Mom LeRose, and Dad Ernest, and 6 siblings. He went to Chimacum School, and he always said he was a 13 year Senior, as he went to the same school from K-12. He graduated High School in 1969. Don always said he saw a commercial which showed large mainframe computers and that is what he pursued after high school. He enrolled in technical school and learned to be a computer programmer. Don loved work, the solving problems or creating programs. He worked 30 years for the State in various agencies doing virtually the same thing in each agency. He then went back to work for another 12 years when he finally quit in 2014. During his 42 years of working for the State Don made many good friends. His great love, Kelly were together for 47 years, married for 45. They met one weekend when Don went to visit his good friend from Chimacum School, Mary, when she and Kelly were attending Peninsula College. The joke, according to Mary, was that she introduced Don to Kelly and she never saw them again until after the wedding. It was a small intimate wedding at Kelly’s parents’ house on Mercer Island on February 10, 1973. Don loved his family and loved spending time with them. Don and Kelly went to Disneyland and Disney World numerous times. Later, they both found Disney cruises and made many friends cruising all over the world. They also went on an Adventures by Disney land tour of China and Hong Kong. If it wasn’t vacation, it was day trips on the trike. Both Don and Kelly enjoyed taking advantage of the nice weather and going on rides on the trike as much as possible. No matter what life threw at Don, he always made it work. Loss of both of his legs never got him down. He had a great sense of humor about it, which at times made Kelly simply roll her eyes at the banter Don and Jennifer would go into. He was a great man who none of us will ever forget. Please know that he will be missed, but will always live in each of us and walk through life with us. He would want us to celebrate his life and think of him in times of need. I know I ask myself what would Dad do, and the answer is always keep going, don’t give up, if you want it then you will do it. He was an inspiration, but to me he was simply my Dad.

In loving memory of Don Coulter, composed by his loving daughter, Jennifer Karlson



  • Visitation Thursday, May 17, 2018
  • Funeral Service Thursday, May 17, 2018
  • Interment Thursday, May 17, 2018


  • Reception

Donald Arthur Coulter

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Cal & P. J. Sanders

May 18, 2018

Don and Kelly have been our dear friends and neighbors for almost 30 years! We first met when they were walking the "loop" together, which was one of their major activities. We've spent many hours over the years talking and laughing together - good times to remember. Don was always upbeat with a twinkle in his eye. He enjoyed a spirited discussion and liked to give wise cracks with a big smile! He was very intelligent, interesting and entertaining. We watched through the years as he tackled one health crisis after another, always pushing through to the other side. It was amazing how much he endured through his transplants and amputations. We were awed by his ability to do whatever needed to be done and without any drama. He just did it. He was determined to live his life with Kelly and his family, and he was the strongest person we've ever seen. We have had so much joy with Don and Kelly through the years, especially when our grandchildren got together to play. We've got many fond memories of days gone by, and we will keep Don in our hearts. He was a true inspiration, a respected man with integrity. He was a hard worker and never let anything get in his way. He loved Kelly, Jennifer and her family with all his heart. We will always remember you, Don for your grit and determination to do what's right, and to keep going no matter what. Now we'll focus on Kelly, our sweet friend and neighbor. Kelly is the nicest most genuine woman we know. She is a part of our lives, and we will be here for her always. We look forward to times with Jennifer, Trinity and the rest of the family as time goes on. We will really miss seeing Don. He's been a part of our lives for so long. We pray that God blesses his soul and that he is again walking on two sturdy legs of his own. Don is a one of a kind, and so many people will be missing him. We love you Don, and we love your wife and family. We shall always remember the lessons you have taught us about living.

Jim Lema

May 17, 2018

I met both Don and Kelly over 30+ years ago. Over the years there were many family reunions where I had the opportunity to spent time talking to Don comparing ideas and discussing shared interests. Those were always times I looked forward to having. Don had an intellect and wit that was both sharp and refreshing. Through all of the physical challenges he faced over the years that I knew him he remained positive and embraced life. He was a remarkable person to know and he will be missed by all of knew him. My deepest sympathy and condolences to Kelly and the family.

Alice Mortenson

May 17, 2018

Uncle Don you will be missed dearly. I'm so glad that I was part of your life. I love you and I appreciate all you did for me. And thank you for bringing me Aunt Kelly. My heart is with Aunt Kelly and Jennifer I love you both.

Kateri and Kevin Wimsett

May 16, 2018

Kelly, we just got back from vacation and today heard the news. We are so very sorry! From the first day we met you both (walking the loop) we could see your love for each other. You both are amazing people and we are fortunate to call our friends and neighbors. Please know we will always remember Don with a smile on his face. We love you both!

~ Kevin, Kateri, Truman, and Sarah

Jim & Sherry Gallagher

May 16, 2018

Our dear friend Don,
Though you've gone on before us, you will always be with us in spirit. You will forever be remembered for your determined spirit, your deep devotion and love for Kelly and your family, your zest and interest for life, your quick wit and humor, and your ability to face life's challenges with a positive spirit. You were a true gentleman in all respects.
Never were you concerned about your own being, but always genuinely interested in others. You were a man of integrity, who earned respect, for your many accomplishments.
You have left our hearts saddened for our loss here on this earth, but we are much richer for having known you. Thank you for the memories over the years of laughter and friendship. Thank you for being YOU - until we meet again!
Your friends, Sherry & Jim Gallagher

Shirley & Dale Wyckoff

May 16, 2018

We met Don & Kelly on a Disney Panama Canal cruise from Florida to California in 2005. As we were disembarking the ship we exchanged e-mail addresses. This quick exchange made us fast friends on the internet. We had 2 more wonderful cruises with Don & Kelly. Our daughter, Debbie & her family cruised once with all of us and became friends with Don & Kelly. We loved Don's sense of humor and how he was always so upbeat.

Last summer we were so happy to meet Jennifer when she came to our town on business.

We are thinking of all of you and sending our sympathy! Dale, Shirley & Family.

Naomi Bryan

May 15, 2018

Hi Kelly and Jennifer- I don't have a memory to share, obviously, but I just wanted to send a brief message to you both offering love and condolences. Kelly, you are one of the kindest, most loving women I have ever known, so I know Don must've been a heck of a guy to have held onto you for so many years. Hold onto those memories, relive them always, and find joy in the 40+ cherished years you were able to spend together. Lots of love, hugs, kisses, and thoughts to you both. Naomi Bryan