- 87 years old
- Date of birth: Mar 18, 1929
- Place of birth:
Pomeroy, Washington, United States
- Date of passing: Oct 15, 2016
- Place of passing:
Hillsboro, Oregon, United States
|Let the memory of Bill be with us forever|
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, William La Verne "Bill" Couch, 87, born on March 18, 1929 and passed away on October 15, 2016. We will love him, miss him and remember him forever.
"I'm Dave Couch and I'm the youngest of Bill's 3 sons. This is the tribute I gave my dad during his family memorial service on Saturday, October 22, 2016, at the Springs at Tannasbourne in Hillsboro, Oregon. I wrote my tribute in the form of a letter since I have found this to be an effective way of letting someone or something go that has meant a lot to me...
"October 22, 2016
I hope you are having a great reunion with your mother and father; your first wife and my mom, Anne; your brothers and sisters; my childhood dog, Misty; your cute little schnauzer, Ellie; your high school and college buddies; and, other friends and relatives that have passed before you. You lived a great life and touched a lot of people, many of whom we’ll never know because you were so quick to make friends and acquaintances.
I wanted to let you know that I’m relieved that your suffering is over and that I’m at peace with your passing. Your passing is bittersweet because I know you’re in a better place but I will miss you immensely. I don’t think either of us left anything on the table as far as our relationship is concerned. I think we were honest with each other; I’m so thankful that you showed me that being a man included being comfortable with your emotions and letting others know how you cared about them.
Thank you for telling me you loved me on a regular basis. You loved to tell the story of how, when I was a little boy, I would respond to your expression of affection by saying, “I love you too, dad, but let’s not say that anymore”. I’m glad I outgrew that and am willing to say it all the time, now. Not only did you communicate your love verbally, you undoubtedly gave the best hugs around. I’m proud to say that I’m passing this tradition on to my two young boys and am glad that they are not telling me to stop, at least not yet; they also give great hugs.
I also want to express my gratitude to you for giving me such a wonderful example of how to be a faithful and loving husband. It’s amazing to think that you were married to not just one soul mate but two; my mom, Anne, and Gaila.
You and my mom were such a loving and devoted couple. I know things weren’t always easy between you, but you both persevered through the difficulties and showed us boys what commitment and loyalty were. You both gave endlessly of your time and attention to your children and grandchildren and I’m blessed to have had that model. Although it was heartbreaking to experience my mom’s death to cancer, you gave unselfishly of yourself to her care and allowed her die in a dignified way. What an amazing example of compassionate, Christian love you showed to me.
I thank God that He put Gaila in your life after mom’s untimely death so that you could continue to give of your boundless love and energy to another woman. There may have been some resistance by your sons and other family members to remarry so soon after mom’s passing, but I think you took this opportunity to show us how to follow through on your strength of conviction regardless of what others may think. You loved Gaila and you weren’t going to let others change your mind. I want to have the same success in my marriage to Kolleen and pledge to work as hard as you did in your marriages to mom and to Gaila.
I also need to mention my gratitude to you, Gaila, and the rest of my family for not giving up on me during the rocky decade I experienced after mom’s death. I guess I needed to experience a life lived selfishly and suffer the consequences of bad decisions. Despite my continual denial and rationalization of my alcoholism, you refused to give up on me. Yet again, you showed your Christian example in welcoming me, the prodigal son, back into your home. Thank you for learning about recovery along with me and being constantly vigilant in making sure I was living by the principles of the AA program. If it wasn’t for your and Gaila’s support of me in recovery, I’m doubtful that I would be celebrating over 14 years of sobriety at this point.
Thanks, Dad, for passing on your love for sports to me; particularly your love of baseball. If I had a penny for every throw and catch we made, I probably could retire early. You always joked that you’d be pitching batting practice from a wheelchair until the day you died. Well, now I’m the one pitching batting practice, so in a way you were right. Nolan and Sam are the direct beneficiary of your willingness to spend time with me to learn a skill and perfect it to the best of my ability. But, not only did it matter to you that the skill was learned, but that you didn’t leave anything on the field in practice or a game. You wanted me to play every out and every inning like it was for the championship.
It’s taken a while, but I realize now that playing how you wanted me to play baseball has everything to do with how you wanted me to live my life. Learn how to be the best father, husband, son, employee, community member, or whatever role I’m in; learn how to play by life’s rules; and, don’t leave anything on the field at the end of each day. I can’t believe it took me nearly 50 years to put this together. But I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re teaching me about life, even from the grave!
It’s hard to say goodbye, Dad, but I know that you’ll be with me in my heart forever. You have left a legacy in me, my brothers, our wives and our children. You had a huge heart that you were never afraid to wear on your sleeve. You showed us how to live, love and, of course, laugh. You were the center of attention and the boy who never grew up. But you were also the stand-up man who lived and taught a set of principles that made your life a success and knew would make your sons’ lives a success too.
Thank you Dad.
"My name is Jason Couch, I am the third grandchild of Bill Couch. Gaila and his sons have kindly asked me to share a few thoughts from the perspective of a grandchild.
A few years ago this quote was shared and I felt like it represented Grandpa’s life.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
I would like to conclude the meeting with a few thoughts. Grandpa was an inspiration to me of achieving goals and seeking for excellence in everyday life. As we have listened to stories and experiences from Grandpa Couch’s life I like to believe we are all better people for having him a part of our lives. Although he was not my father, I think that the immeasurable influence my own father has been in my life in both preparing me to be a member of society and a father was because his own father set the example for him. You see, Grandpa’s father died when he was only a young man of about 12… Where did Grandpa learn how to be the wonderful father he was? I like to think that the seed was planted in him by his father Albert Sr. long ago, demonstrating the importance of this vital role of fatherhood. Great Grandpa and Grandma Couch set the precedence of how Grandpa would treat his fellow man. Grandpa made every effort to support his grandchildren in their interests, he would go out of his way to ensure he was at important events in our lives, such as graduations, sporting events, musical recitals. He had his own way of giving us compliments. He would say things like, “You’re following your Grandpa’s example of being an excellent baseball player.” Or, “you’re a handsome man, you must have inherited those looks from me.” Also, he had a way of saying things that only made you love him more like, “My good looks are only exceeded by my humility.” Or if you asked him how he slept last night he would respond, “With my eyes closed.” I still smile today when I think of the times we would visit him at the Springs, he would be sure that everyone we visited with at the Springs knew who his grandchildren were and that we were trying to accomplish great things in life.
I don’t think I ever heard Grandpa say the words, “I’m proud of you Jason.” Rather, he showed his great pride in his grandchildren by the way he would almost unceasingly share the events of their lives with his friends and neighbors. On the subject of his characteristics and how I will remember him, Bill Couch was a man of action. He would show his love by actions more than just by his words, he liked doing things for the people he loved. I remember growing up and visiting and Grandma Anne in Lewiston or at their home in Lake Oswego, and later in Sherwood with Gaila, there was always a freshly cooked breakfast on Saturday mornings. In fact, it isn’t uncommon that at a Couch family meal, we are planning the next meal! Grandpa’s quirks were an endearing quality that added to his charm. He had many sayings; Randy even recalled that Grandpa would always ask him often, “What kind of shoes are those? What are they for?” Randy would give him a quizzical look and courteously respond, “For walking?”
He will be greatly missed by us, his grandchildren. We recognize the great difficulties he has been through in recent years and do share with you in a sigh of relief that he is no longer suffering from dementia. I hope I don’t speak only for myself when I say that I believe I will see him again, he will be renewed, in the prime of his life, with all his faculties. Maybe I won’t recognize him at first because I only remember him as Grandpa Couch in his later years, but his presence, his spirit will be what will make him familiar and then I can again enjoy his company and his happy disposition. May I finish with a short story, followed by a quote?
Saint Francis of Assisi was a monk who devoted the later end of his adult life to Christian service and preaching the gospel. The mendicant friars, came into being in the early thirteenth century. Rather than secluding themselves in monasteries, they sought to carry the Christian message by preaching and doing good deeds. St. Francis was the founder of the Franciscan Order of monks and the city of San Francisco is named in his honor. He sought to follow the example of Christ in service and poverty. He was a man of action, he believed that it was his actions that showed his love for his fellowman and the Lord.
In a way, Grandpa Couch similarly was this way, a man of action and showed his love by doing. At his passing I’m sure we all have reflected on the reality of mortality, we will all die someday and make the journey Grandpa has made. May each of us be renewed in our efforts to look beyond ourselves, for it is service and kindness toward others that is an antidote to selfishness and the emptiness in secular pursuits. It is in this spirit that I would like to share the peace prayer, written anonymously in honor of St. Francis.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying… that we are born to eternal life."
Grandpa Couch unified his family, we are all closer because of his efforts. Now with him off on new adventures, in his absence, I hope we will all strive to maintain the family bond and keep the lines of communication open. Let us adopt the attitude taught in this prayer.
"Jason recently texted to us - the sons of Bill Couch - the following scripture that really struck a chord with me and I wanted it to be here on Dad's memorial:
"But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ."
"He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless; that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless; that there can be no more death."
"In an email to my kids recently I expressed a few thoughts about my Dad before he passed away and I wanted to share this with others:
Dad has had a good, long life and his health was good into his 80s. It was only after his fall that things started going downhill for him. It most likely accelerated his onset of dementia.
Randy, Chris, Jason and Andrea, You are each a product of my Dad's influence on me. Grandpa taught me how to be a father. He was purposeful in being a father. He worked at it and developed the qualities that I admire and have tried to do [and be] with my children. I admire my Dad for his willingness to engage with his children, to be interested in what they were interested in. To encourage and yes, sometimes push and prod us to be better. My children [his grandchildren] and my grandchildren [his great-grandchildren] are the fruits of his labor of love towards his family.
Dad guided by example, by word and encouraged us to become more and do more in our lives. I believe that life is a type and a pattern of heaven. Just like Jesus had His Father [Our Heavenly Father] to teach Him. As Heavenly Father comforted Him in His trials, so our earthly fathers can and do teach and comfort us. My Dad did that also.
We read in John in the New Testament after the Jews persecuted and mocked Jesus because he was laboring on the Sabbath Jesus said that He only did that which His Father had taught Him:
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.
17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.'
In a small way my Dad showed me what Our Heavenly Father is like.
I love my Dad, I honor him and respect him for the life he has lived. I would like to be more like Dad. In a similar way, just like I want to be more like Jesus and Heavenly Father.
What a grand heritage we have as Couches, may we honor Bill Couch by the way we live, love and lift others.
Love, your Dad [Scott]"
"We will miss you, Dad, but we know you are partying in heaven with your Mom, your Dad, our Mom, and your siblings and long-lost friends that have parted before you. Have a very happy heavenly experience Dad - we love you very much!, Bobby"
Have a suggestion for us?