John "Jack" State

January 3, 1944 ~ January 6, 2024 (age 80) 80 Years Old

John State Obituary

On January 3, 1944, John Franklin State was born, and was John only until the Sisters of Providence at Sacred Heart Hospital were convinced he was named for a saint. From that point on, he was Jack!

Jack grew up with his two older brothers, Jim and Don and his parents Les and Leighora State on Crestline in Spokane. Like most Catholic kids, he went to public kindergarten then off to St. Al’s for eight years. While in elementary school, Jack always considered football his sport. He spent a lot of time at the YMCA where he took up gymnastics, swimming, boxing, and whatever else he could find.

Ultimately, Jack went to John Rogers High School where he ran track, played tennis and finally, basketball! He really did not come into his own until his senior year, where he topped out at 6’7” and about 160 pounds.

Jack went on to EWSC in the fall of 1962, finally reaching 6’8.5” where he played ball originally for Red Reese and ended his college career under the much-admired Ernie McKie where he earned Honorable Mention All-American. Truth be told, Jack was a bit of a celebrity in Cheney.

Jack was invited to an American Basketball Association try out with the Oakland Oaks in the fall of 1967. As a warm-up, Jack was selected to play basketball in Europe and the Middle East for Gulf Oil. A trip, he would have been happy to tell you was an amazing time of his life. Returning to St. Mary’s in the Moraga Valley, Jack had his pro-tryout. As fate would have it, he did not make the team, he returned to Spokane to accept a teaching/coaching position at Lewis and Clark High School for the next five years. There he coached basketball and track, played AAU basketball, KJRB all star, and thoroughly enjoyed life.

In the fall of 1972, Jack went back to EWU to begin work on his Masters of Education in Physical Education and coach basketball under new coach Jerry Krause. It was during this time that Jack met Colleen who was completing her undergrad degree. After earning his degree, Jack made the break for the west side of the state to Chehalis where unbeknownst to him at the time, he would complete his life.

Jack continued to coach basketball, first at W.F. West (boys), then, in 1977, assisting Bob Reimer at Centralia College for the next 11 years, after which he returned to W.F. West briefly taking the guys to the State Tournament in 1990 for the first time in 32 years. Jack then coached middle school boys and girls basketball including Kyle. He joined Henri Weeks in 2002 to coach the W.F. West girls to multiple state tournament appearances.

As a player, Jack went back to the courts in the ‘90’s, this time outside at Hoopfest with Jim, Dave and Dan for over 10 years. But, the highlight was participation in the Nike World Master’s Games in the summer of 1998, where he and his college friends were honored to take second place.

Interestingly, while adding and subtracting from basketball, Jack had quietly been building a tennis dynasty at W.F. West with both boys and girls, one that would continue for 50 years! Jack taught players who now teach players! He was on his third generation of players. . . “Coach State, I think you coached my grandma!” And, tennis will be his legacy.

Jack is survived by:

· His wife Colleen of 48 years

· Their daughter Kristin and her husband Chris Hutchinson and two daughters Leighton and Cleo

· Their son Kyle and his wife Claire (Hewett) and their two daughters Ruby and Hazel

· Nephews and Niece Mike, Steve and Julie State, and Donna Osborne

· In-laws Laura and JC Hewett.

There have been multiple tributes written about Jack in the Chronicle. He so enjoyed the article by his former player Isabel VanderStoep, and we are certain he was equally appreciative of Brian Mittge’s recent Commentary, I know we were. Please know he loved Chehalis. . . loved golfing with Tim, Denny, Russ, Don, John, Bernie, Del and Tom; loved crooning with Nancy, dancing with Vicki, swapping jokes with Claudia and Lynn and chatting with Sara. In short, he really had a wonderful life! Thank you all! Please plan to attend a celebration of Jack’s life in early summer 2024, information will be shared as soon as details are complete. All will be welcome as we gather together…bring your best stories to share.

For the past year Jack dedicated much of his time fundraising for the new Lewis County Indoor Tennis Facility, he was thrilled to have connected with so many of his players from years past. He was passionate about the need for this facility in our community and our family would be grateful if, in honor of Jack and In lieu of flowers, donations could be made to the completion of the project. To contribute, please call (360) 508-6572 or go to

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