HOULTON - James "Jim" Coolong, 79, passed away Feb. 11, 2015, at a Bangor hospital. He was born January 10, 1936, in Houlton, the son of Tellosphore and Lena (Plourde) Coolong.
Jim grew up in the Patten area and graduated from Patten Academy. He attended the University of Maine, Orono, and graduated from Ricker College and the University of California, San Deigo, earning his Masters in Mathematics. Jim met and married Margaret MacArthur on Oct. 16, 1957. His teaching career started at Aroostook Central Institute, Mars Hill, then to Ricker College, Southern Aroostook High School, UMPI, Loring AFB and finally Presque Isle High School, where he served as department head. Even though many professional opportunities were presented to Jim, he chose to stay in Houlton and raise his family in God's country. Together he and his wife, Peggy, raised six fine children. Jim was Master Mason 33rd Degree and served in many capacities including Assistant Grand Lecturer, Grand Lecturer and Senior Grand Warden, Senior Warden, Master, and Chaplain of Aroostook Lodge #0197 and Monument Lodge #0096 and served as chairman of many various committees. He was the recipient of the Simon Greenleaf Medal, the Josiah Hayden Drummond Distinguished Service Medal, the 25th and 40th year service pins and the Grand Lodge Veterans Medal which honors a fifty year member. He was a devoted longtime member, chairman and trustee of the Houlton United Methodist Church. He served on many other committee positions within the church. Jim was well respected statewide as an educator, a Mason and as a friend. He enjoyed being outside whether he was gardening in his flowers and vegetables, fishing or canoeing. After retiring, Jim and Peg traveled to Hawaii, Japan, Germany and many different places in the United States visiting family. Jim held high expectations for himself and those around him. He loved clean cars. Jim was a matter of fact individual and there was never a doubt what he felt about something when asked.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his beloved son, Wayne Tellos Coolong; three brothers, Henry, Earle and Hadley Coolong; as well as a sister, Eva Gardiner. Jim is survived by his wife of 57 years, Peggy Coolong of Houlton; five children, Paula Gendron and her husband, Marc, of Houlton, Pam Wiggins and her husband, Doug, of Oklahoma City, OK, Kevin Coolong and his wife, Julie, of Chesapeake, VA, Cheryl Erhart and her husband, Steve, of Knoxsville, TN, and Valerie Gamage and her husband, Keed, of Boothbay Harbor; fifteen grandchildren, Andrew and Emily Gendron, Audra and Larry Tucker, Owen and Kendra Wiggins, Crystin Coolong, Rachel and David Tonning, Jessica and Brian Crabb, Sarah and Jamie Erhart, Taylor Lewis and Grady Gamage; beloved great-grandchildren, Caylin, Ava, Howie, Brody, Norah, Ali and Carter; a brother, Chester Coolong and his wife, Barbara, of San Diego, CA, several nieces, nephews, cousins, and countless friends and neighbors.
Friends may call at the Dunn Funeral Home Sunday 12 noon-2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. with a Masonic service being conducted at 1:30 p.m. Funeral service will be held at the Houlton United Methodist Church Monday 12 noon with the Rev. Victor Han officiating. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Jim's memory payable to the Masonic Childrens' Dyslexia Learning Center or the Houlton United Methodist Church, care of Dunn Funeral Home, 11 Park Street, Houlton, ME 04730. Online condolences and guest book: www.dunnfuneral.com.