Remembering Jake Couch, 1932-2016


It’s “more than an obituary,” declared the subject line for the e-mail that began, “A neighborhood icon has recently passed away. He (and his huge, friendly dog) always walked the streets and so many people knew him — if not by name — and will miss his presence and be wondering what happened to him.” So this is in memory of North Admiral resident Jake Ellis Couch, gone at 83:

This sad news comes after a very long struggle with health problems that peaked on March 24 when Jake agreed to go to Virginia Mason Hospital. Tests showed massive damage to his heart and other organs from a silent heart attack some time ago. He was able to enjoy a few days visiting with family and friends while receiving excellent care from the hospital staff until his death on April 2.

Jake was from a proud fourth-generation West Seattle family. His great grandmother came north from California in 1902 in a covered wagon and settled on Gatewood Hill. He grew up in the North Admiral neighborhood and attended Lafayette, Madison, and West Seattle High, graduating in 1950 when he volunteered for service in the Korean War. Jake was a devoted family man who worked for Seattle City Light Underground, enjoyed skiing, the cabin he built near Crystal Mountain, the farm in Duvall, wood carving, and socializing with north Admiral neighbors while walking his dog.

We are so grateful to friends and family for concern and support. Your presence in our lives has given us the gift of joyful memories. No flowers please — remembrances can be made to your favorite charity.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

15 Replies to "Remembering Jake Couch, 1932-2016"

  • Sharon N. April 8, 2016 (9:32 am)

    I did not know Mr Couch but yes indeed, he was an icon in the neighborhood.  He always had a smile to share which made me want to pass it on.  Rest in peace.

  • Julianne Farmer April 8, 2016 (9:50 am)

    What a beautiful guy, his lovely dog too. God bless them and comfort them.

  • Marybeth April 8, 2016 (9:51 am)

    Thanks for sharing this, I’ve never met Jake but I’ve noticed him walking his lovely big dog in the neighborhood over the years. West Seattle icon indeed, what a history. I attended all the same schools as him. :) My thoughts are with his family, and sweet dog.

  • Kristen April 8, 2016 (10:05 am)

    I don’t know this man but I used to see him walking around Admiral all the time. He always stood out to me because his pup is so big! They always brought a little smile to my face. Thanks for posting this. Rest in peace. 

  • WSnative April 8, 2016 (10:19 am)

    RIP our paths crossed daily, he will be missed Thanks for sharing!

  • WS_Admiral April 8, 2016 (10:34 am)

    I recall passing Mr. Couch many times around Admiral. He seemed very kind and his dog was also very sweet. My dogs even liked his dog and would stop and sniff hello.

    Rest well Mr. Couch.

    I hope your pup is well taken care of and hopefully we will see him around West Seattle still. 

  • LatteRose April 8, 2016 (11:05 am)

    A kind man and a friendly dog.  We will miss seeing him in the neighborhood.

  • Enviromaven April 8, 2016 (11:30 am)

    Wishing Mr. Couch eternal peace.  I hope his beloved companion is being well cared for.

  • Loren April 8, 2016 (12:36 pm)

    His dogs name is “Sassy”.  I used to run into them both on my way to the water taxi in the mornings all the time.  Really nice guy, and a great big, super-mellow dog.  One day I got to take a bunch of photos of Sassy, which are still some of my favorites.  It makes me sad to think that Sassy is now without her dad.  :(

  • Buddy's humans April 8, 2016 (1:26 pm)

    Jake was cut from a cloth that doesn’t exist anymore. He was a a great friend, a great conversationist, and once you got past the armour a big huge lover of humanity.  My family will miss him so very much.

    All the light and love to you Pauline.

  • Keri April 8, 2016 (2:44 pm)

    As a runner, I would pass Jake and Sassy all the time.  Always a a hello and always a smile to my dog- in Admiral, up Ferry, in the Fairmount ravine… always saw Jake and always looked forward to seeing Jake.  Thank you for posting this because there are many of us who will be alarmed to not see him anymore.  I’m very sorry for your and Sassy’s loss.  What a gentle, kind man.  

  • Nancy April 8, 2016 (4:07 pm)

    Dearest Pauline,

    The Art Club is sharing in your bereavement.  We love you and miss you.

    Jake was such a talented woodcarver.  I have always marveled at his skill and artistry.  Wonderful reminders.



  • Laura April 8, 2016 (5:25 pm)

    Jake was a wonderful man with a wonderful family. We will miss him greatly. Sending you lots of love, Pauline and Sassy.

  • Barbara April 8, 2016 (11:51 pm)

    I am so sorry to hear of his passing.  Jake told such interesting stories……while Sassy, and Dassy (I think) before her, stood patiently.  Example:  there used to be a wooden footbridge across Ave 42 at Hill. Who knew? He told tales of different times and of when West Seattle was a different place. He could be a tease and he could be flat-out cantankerous.  All of which made my walks more interesting….I never knew what to expect when I saw them coming.  I’ll miss talking to him. He was part of the neighborhood fabric.   My sympathy to his family.

  • Craig & Charlotte Roberts April 10, 2016 (8:09 am)

    Pauline and Family…….thank you so much for sharing Jake with our family. His endless knowledge (about anything and everything) was always a wonderful source of conversation.   His love for working with his hands and transforming a block of wood into a glorious masterpiece with tools from a bygone era always amazed and impressed me.  His infectious laugh, his witty humor will be missed.  


    Craig and Charlotte

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