James Elwyn

James Foss Elwyn

Tuesday, April 11th, 1967 - Friday, June 19th, 2020
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James Foss Elwyn, 53, of Wenatchee, WA, beloved husband and father, passed away at home, on June 19, 2020, after a short battle with brain cancer. James was born on April 11, 1967, in Salt Lake City, UT, to Richard and Olive (Manson) Elwyn. He graduated in 1985, from East High School in Salt Lake City, then moved to Tacoma, WA, where he graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a degree in philosophy. It was at PLU, that he met Kathryn Grace Thompson, his soulmate and fellow competitive swimmer.

James and Kathy moved to Montclair, NJ, where James received a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching Philosophy to Children from Montclair State University. His philosophy background served him well when he became a father, as he often answered his children’s questions with, “Why?” or a similar open-ended phrase that taught them to think for themselves.

James and Kathy were married on August 22, 1992, in Wenatchee. After a few years’ residence in Salt Lake City, where James taught and coached at Tooele High School, they settled in Wenatchee. James was a much-loved social studies teacher at Wenatchee High School, as well as the coach for both the girls' and boys' swim teams. He had the privilege of coaching each of his three children. James' accomplishments as a coach were numerous. He led multiple boys and girls teams to top 1ten finishes at State and was named Coach of the Year by several organizations. His most recent honor was as 2020 WIAA Boys 4A Coach of the Year. Additionally, he was the current president of WISCA/WIACA, the organization that oversees Washington State high school competitive swimming. As a teacher, James’ accomplishments were far more meaningful. James had extraordinary compassion for others and an incredible ability to understand high school students. His sense of humor, combined with his passion for teaching and coaching, earned him the love and loyalty of many. He had a positive impact on multitudes of swimmers, students, and their families.

James loved music, the Utah Jazz, swimming, his dog, Marley (and all his previous dogs), working with young people, and most of all, his family.

He is survived by his wife, Kathy; daughter, Kayli Jessica; sons: Connor Sinclair and Austin Richard, all of Wenatchee, WA; mother, Olive Elwyn of Portland, OR; brothers, Reed Elwyn (Lynette) of Tualatin, OR, and Todd Elwyn of San Luis Obispo, CA; and sister, Laurie Elwyn (Pat Barrett) of Cheyenne, WY; and by many nieces, nephews, and friends. James was preceded in death by his father, Richard A. Elwyn.

The family wishes to thank the community for their tremendous support and love during this difficult time. Additionally, we are grateful to the many doctors, nurses, and physical/occupational therapists at Confluence Health, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and the University of Washington who assisted in James' care.

A Celebration of Life will be held when the guidelines allow. Details will be announced through Caring Bridge, Facebook, and Velocity Swimming.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the James Elwyn Memorial Scholarship Fund through the Community Foundation of NCW at or sent to CFNCW, 9 S Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee, WA, 98801, or to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at or sent to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, P.O. Box 24385, Seattle, WA 98124-0385. Checks may be written to either organization indicating that they are in memory of James Elwyn.

Arrangements are in care of Chapel of the Valley, Wenatchee, WA.

“Nothing is ever wholly lost. That which is excellent remains forever a part of this universe.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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