James Frank “Jim” Sussex

November 24, 1957 - March 26, 2023

James Frank “Jim” Sussex

November 24, 1957 - March 26, 2023


James Frank Sussex (Jim), age 65, passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack while doing something he loved, riding his bicycle, on Sunday, March 26, 2023 in Bellingham, WA. He is survived by his cherished daughter, Elena Sussex, sisters Janet Sussex, Barbara Owens, and Deborah Sussex (Michael Dietzman), nephews Max Owens, Noah Sadowski, nieces Grace Sadowski, Stella Mullins and Nora Mullins, former wife Kathleen Mullins, Aunt Mary Sussex Nelson and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his beloved parents, Virginia Mitchell Sussex and Thomas Levin Sussex and brother-in-law James Owens.

Jim was born in Chicago, IL and raised in North Dakota and Minnesota. In his teens he developed a love for climbing which inspired his desire to live near the mountains.  After many adventures and extended stays in Boulder, CO and Petersburg, AK, Jim settled in Seattle, WA since 1983 and recently relocated to Bellingham, WA in June of 2022.

Jim received a BA in Geography from the University of Washington and a M.A. in Environmental Planning from the University of British Columbia. He was passionate about the environment and had a 25 year career in several different divisions of King County ending with the Wastewater Treatment Division as a Water Quality Planner/Project Manager where he was respected, trusted and a well-liked colleague.

An outdoor enthusiast from an early age, Jim was passionately drawn to bicycling, climbing, ice hockey, skiing, and paddling.  He was a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan and firm believer in their potential for a  Super Bowl win, someday.  He enjoyed travel, outdoor adventures, maps, philosophy, history, watching ice hockey, lefse, black licorice, and rich chocolate cake.  Jim enjoyed time with his extended family doing puzzles, playing games and demonstrated an uncanny ability to find a word with a “Q” to fit on the triple word score line on the Scrabble board.  Elena fondly remembers how much her dad loved evenings on the couch together as a family watching movies and shows.

Jim was also extensively read and could spend hours engrossed in the inventory at a bookstore or library. This quest for knowledge and wisdom lent itself to Jim’s love for conversation and his remarkable ability to retain information on a variety of topics.  His personal library exceeded 600 carefully tended titles which have been donated to libraries in the Bellingham area.

The family will always remember Jim as kind, sensitive, compassionate, intelligent, and hardworking. His uniquely clever sense of humor and unforgettable laugh are cherished.  With his creative mind, no scrap of paper was safe from his doodles that morphed into miniature works of art. Our beloved Jim was an exceptionally loyal person who cared deeply for his family and friends with his giant, loving heart. He left an indelible mark and will be greatly missed.

The Sussex family would like to express our deep gratitude to the first responders and bystanders that were with Jim in his final hour.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered to:

Natural Resources Defense Council at:  Be a Force for the Future | NRDC

Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders at:  Help save lives. Donate now. | Doctors Without Borders

A Celebration of Life will be held the weekend of June 10th, 2023 in West Seattle.  Details TBA.

Interment in Hope Cemetery, North Dakota July 15th, 2023.  Details TBA.

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3 responses to James Frank “Jim” Sussex

  1. Jim was a great friend and coworker. He will be missed by all who knew him. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as family and especially his daughter who he talked about a lot.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments and support Frank. Yes, Jim is beloved by many and our family is deeply saddened by the loss. That is so sweet that you comment about Elena and how Jim talked about her alot. She was the star of his life.
      Please feel free to join us for Jim’s Celebration of Life in West Seattle. And feel free to share the information with your coworkers.

      Celebrate the Life of Jim Sussex
      Saturday, June 10th at 11am
      The Dakota Place Park Building
      4304 SW Dakota Street in West Seattle, WA 98116
      Reception to Follow

    2. An update here that Jim’s Memorial is at Noon on June 10th (not 11:00am)

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