Former Grays Harbor coroner and longtime Washington State Patrol Trooper Ed Fleming, 67, died in Aberdeen Thursday morning after an extended illness.
The lifelong Aberdeen resident served as county coroner from January 1999 until his retirement in May 2009.
“Ed dedicated himself to public service for more than 40 years,” said current Coroner Dan Burns.
Fleming was a state trooper for 25 years and then served as a deputy coroner and county coroner for more than 15 years. He was first elected to the county position in November 1998 and then again in 2002 and 2006.
“It was my privilege to have known Ed and been a friend for more than 30 years,” Burns said. “Anyone who knew Ed liked and respected him because he was such a considerate and caring person. I have never met a nicer man. Ed touched so many with his compassion and those of us will always have fond memories of him.”
Services and funeral arrangements are pending through Harrison Family Mortuary in Aberdeen. Fleming is survived by his wife Sherri, and their three children, Kelly, Kristy and Mike.
When he retired, the Washington Association of Counties noted that Fleming lived his entire life in Grays Harbor with the exception of about 7 years in Monroe for State Patrol duties.
“Ed is well known for his friendly manner. He stops to greet everyone he passes and most of Grays Harbor County residents feel they know him personally,” the association said in reporting his retirement. “His imposing stature inspired confidence in his years as a trooper who either pulled you over to discuss an ‘error’ on your part, or as a tower of strength in the face of a traffic accident.
“That same feeling of strength is what he has provided to the community in matters he handled as County Coroner. His gentleness and quiet manner have been a welcome presence upon his arrival at death scenes.”