David R. Coahran

David Coahran PhotoDavid Richard Coahran of Pullman died peacefully on Saturday, June 24th at his son’s home in Moscow.  He was 84.  He knew it was coming, and felt ready to go.  He kept mobile and active right up to the last couple weeks.

He was born April 10, 1933 at Cincinnati, OH to Jesse Myers. and Mary Allen Dillon Coahran. He grew up and attended school in Smethport, PA and obtained his BA degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1954. He then attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received his PhD in Biophysics in 1960.

He accepted a position at Washington State University in the then Agricultural Chemistry Department. During that time he taught himself electronics, developing the ability to repair and devise laboratory instruments. His career gradually shifted to instrumentation, and other WSU departments would sometimes request his services.

Upon “retirement” after 25 years David branched out into the design of digital computer peripherals. He started RDesign where he developed, manufactured and sold computerized systems for measuring the activity of yeast. The product is used in the food industry internationally. He sold the business in the late 1990’s.

He was an amateur radio operator, was active in the Palouse Folklore Society, and Habitat for Humanity as a member of their “Codger” Building Crew until very recently.  He served for many years on the Whitman County Rural Fire District 12.  He was interested in solar power, was active in the Boy Scouts in Pullman often doing projects at Camp Grizzly, and was a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).  He led the family in building our own house, and taught the kids to fix their own vehicles and other machinery.

He and Margaret Matchett were married on August 5, 1956 in Richmond, Indiana and were later divorced. He is survived by his children, Timothy Coahran of Fairbanks, Alaska, Marge Coahran of Toronto,  Ontario, Allen Coahran of Moscow, Idaho and William Coahran of Coram, Montana. He also leaves 6 grandchildren (Cera, Dean, Jesse, Jill, Jon, and Serena) and several great grandchildren.  David is also survived by his partner Jimmi Mead, her daughter Cedra Eichenauer, and her granddaughter Rowan, all of British Columbia.

The family suggests memorials be made to Habitat for Humanity, 304 North Main St., Moscow, ID 83843, or to North Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, c/o Jonathan Brown, Treasurer, 838 Hiawatha Place S, Seattle, WA 98114

A memorial service is being planned for fall and will be announced later.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to www.shortsfuneralchapel.net.

3 Responses to David R. Coahran

  1. Connie Hall says:

    My deepest sympathy to you all. Dave was a wonderful man and such a hard worker. I met him first on the build site and then often he would come in to the Surplus Sales for some small need and we would catch up on each other’s lives. I found Dave to be a warm and loving man who was interested in everything. He always had a big smile to greet me and since we enjoyed many of the same interests there was always something to talk about. Jimmi, I know that you were often working as hard as Dave and you were so very kind to me. What a wonderful support and helpmate you were all these years. I will miss Dave’s bright smile and twinkling eyes!

  2. James D. Koger says:

    I first met Dave after hearing him on the 80 meter ham radio band and realized that he was a very close to me. This was sometime in 1967. Soon Dave began to be one of the most significant influences and friend of my life. Dave had a talent for simplifying the most complex technical problems and reducing them to easily achieved (doing it on the cheap!) technical devices whether mechanical, electrical or chemical.
    We had some really interesting adventures and occasional misadventures over the years all of them learning experiences. In many ways I am a better man for having known Dave. RIP Dave.

    My condolences to the family we will miss him very much.

  3. Jim Miller says:

    Dave was an inspiration (Jimme, too) . I worked along side him as part of the Habitat crew and enjoyed and respected his willingness to do anything, including work I thought (and discouraged him from doing) that was too dangerous. His low profile modesty and genuineness were very endearing. I’m glad I told him how much I respected his participation. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to say, ‘Goodbye. “

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