Coila Anita Sheard, age 93, passed away peacefully on Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019, after a long and abundant life. Born on September 19, 1925, to John and Ella Gallup in Kansas City, Kansas, a grocery store owner and seamstress, they instilled the value of a tomato and the importance of sharing with those less fortunate. Being raised during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, left lasting impressions with Coila. She developed a strong work ethic and a loathing for farm work, and she could not get out of Kansas soon enough.
During World War II, Coila worked as a civilian communication employee at an air base in Topeka where she met Jack Grant. Engaged to be married, she moved to Seattle, Washington to live with Jack’s parents John and Anne Grant. Jack died in a tragic accident returning from the war, yet by then Coila had forged what would be a lifelong family with the Grants.
While working at the Telephone Company in 1952, Coila met and married William F. “Bill” Sheard, Sr. Together they had three children. This alone would have been a full time job, but Coila saw a need and joined the women’s Fabiola Auxiliary Club which was instrumental in raising needed funds to build Overlake Hospital in Bellevue, Washington - the first hospital on the growing Eastside. Later, Coila managed her and Bill’s small Office Equipment business, and eventually worked at an investment brokerage business in Seattle. Though she may have boasted about her children, a vigorous discussion on the stock market made her giddy.
In 1980, Coila moved to Port Townsend, Washington where she purchased a historic building and brought needed energy and drive to help vitalize a neglected town. She opened and operated The Sand Castle toy store on Water Street. She was active in developing the local Main Street Program which eventually won national recognition. And, after 30 years, she was honored with the award of Business Woman of Two Decades. Most locals knew Coila, some possibly by her wagging a finger at them. Nonetheless, she gave her heart, soul, and a fair amount of money to the little town she grew to love.
Coila was preceded in death by her parents John and Ella Gallup, and her brother and sister-in-law Charles “Bud” and Karol Gallup. Coila will be greatly missed by her children, Bill Sheard, Jr. (Yu-Shan), John Sheard (Elaine), Sue Sheard (Scott); grandchildren: Nate, Jason, Michel, Megon and Audrey; four great-grandchildren; a niece and a nephew.
We will miss many things but mostly her wry sense of humor and uncanny ability to be mad and chuckle at the same time. She lived life her way: full of tenacity, passion, courage, and generosity, and because of that, she left this world a better place.