James Howard Westby, age 77, died peacefully at his home on Nov. 11 after a long battle with cancer. Born in Tacoma in 1945 to Weldon Olaf Westby and Lilian Marie Torgersen, James was a year old when the family moved to Copalis to start Westby’s Blue Ocean Resort. James attended North Beach schools, graduating in 1963.
James lived a life of service. He’s a Navy veteran, and was aboard the USS Preble, a Guided Missile Frigate, DLG 15, and cruised to Vietnam during 1968-69. He worked with the Washington State Department of Fisheries doing razor clam research. He was an Aberdeen police officer for 23 years, retiring in 1995. Toward the end of his tenure, he joined the Copalis Beach Fire Department District #7, initially as a volunteer, then as the fire chief, serving a total of 30 years. He helped his dad with his sawmill and they worked, fished, and hunted together until his dad passed away in 1994. His mother died in 2005, after living a long and wonderful life.
In 2006, James married the person he wanted to be with for the rest of his life, Kathleen Rae VanDeWall. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter Mindi Westby of Bellingham; his son James (Jay) Westby of Portland; his brother William Westby of Silverdale; several grandchildren, numerous cousins, uncles and aunts.
A graveside service with military honors was held Nov. 22 at Hoquiam’s Sunset Memorial Park.
All that knew Jim are invited to his celebration of life on Sat, Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. at Copalis Beach Community Church 3140 SR-109, Copalis Beach. There will be a potluck social following. Please bring an easy dish to share.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers make memorial contributions to the Copalis Beach Community Church or to North Beach Medical Equipment (NBME.care).