PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles City Council member Jim Moran, a New Jersey native known for passionate civic involvement and volunteerism in his chosen home of Port Angeles, has died.
Those close to Moran struggled to name every board the 71-year-old Vietnam War veteran was involved with or all the organizations he volunteered for, but they all agreed his death leaves a void in Port Angeles.
“He cared a lot about this community,” said John Brewer, a friend of Moran.
Moran died in his sleep Friday night or Saturday morning. His wife, Marie Moran, found him in bed at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday when she returned home from a trip to see family members.
He is survived by his wife, two sons and two grandchildren.
Information on the cause of death was not available Sunday.
Moran, former president of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, began his four-year City Council term in January 2018. He served on the Clallam County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, the Lumber Traders Board of Directors and the North Olympic History Center Board of Directors, Brewer said.
Moran also helped with the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association, refereed and announced for various sports and drove a van for the Port Angeles Senior Center.
“There are a lot of volunteers that do things in this town, but there’s probably nobody that did it to the level he did,” Brewer said. “He was constantly in motion and working for the good of everyone.”
Moran served in the U.S. Army for five years, flying helicopters in Vietnam and exiting the military as a captain. After returning from overseas he earned a master’s degree before serving as the district manager in Seattle for a large east-coast financial firm. He left that company to start his own firm specializing in pension administration.
Clallam County Commissioner Randy Johnson said he and Moran would often meet to bounce ideas off each other. Johnson said they shared frustrations about not being able to fund certain things, but he noted Moran’s financial analysis was almost always right.
Johnson said it was “amazing” that Moran was so involved with the community and that though they didn’t agree on everything, Moran always was willing to have a “rational discussion.”
“The fact is he gave back to our community in so many different ways,” Johnson said.
In 2008, Moran decided to make Port Angeles his home.
“He loved Port Angeles and the people in Port Angeles,” Marie Moran said Sunday. “He loved going to Ediz Hook, walking the Olympic Discovery Trail. The water drew him in.”
She said her husband helped build up the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association and that he helped with sea scouts.
She said when her husband wasn’t driving the Senior Center van, he was often driving for other organizations. He helped transport people to the Dungeness Lighthouse and also drove the ice resurfacer when he helped with the Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Ice Village last year.
Among Moran’s last actions as a council member was supporting Council member Cherie Kidd in her bid to remove Council member Sissi Bruch’s title of mayor over her suggestion that muskets held by metal cutout soldiers on a fence at Veterans Memorial Park are objectionable.
Kidd described Moran’s volunteerism and civic involvement as “remarkable” and said that he was “one of the most hardworking” council members she has worked with.
“He was always helping someone in some way,” Kidd said. “He was always planning ahead, had a sense of humor and was tremendously smart. Jim’s death is going to leave a big hole in our hearts and our community.”
Moran’s financial background helped guide council discussions during budget season, she said.
“He was on vacation in Hawaii and took the budget to read,” she said. “When he came back from Hawaii, he had 20 questions to ask about our budget.”
City Manager Nathan West said he was shocked to hear that Moran had died.
“Jim Moran has been a phenomenal person,” West said. “It feels like every month he is volunteering to help with something new, whether it’s chamber events, ice skating, rowing or driving the Senior Center van, Jim is doing everything.”
West said the city will work in the coming days to develop a process for dealing with the empty council position, but said the first priority is to allow people to grieve.
“City staff is extremely saddened and disturbed by his passing,” West said. “We’re going to take the next few days in making sure we’re providing respectful assistance to Jim’s family and to allow staff and council to move forward with the grieving process.”
West said Moran has demonstrated a great amount of care for his community.
“He just cared for and was entrenched in this community,” West said. “I believe Jim recognized the potential of this community and he very much wanted to be a part of changing this community for the good and making sure the community became the best it could be.”
Funeral services are pending and Harper-Ridgeview Funeral Chapel is handling arrangements.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].