Jim Guthrie, who was known for his wit and talent as a journalist and in the theater, has died.
He was 81.
A former reporter and columnist for the Peninsula Daily News and columnist for the Sequim Gazette, Guthrie died Nov. 5 at EvergreenHealth Medical Center in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland — where the Port Angeles resident had lived in recent years — after being admitted in late October for pneumonia.
“An acerbic iconoclast who suffered neither fools nor their false gods silently, Jim Guthrie left a trail of people who dearly loved and admired him,” said John Brewer, former Peninsula Daily News editor and publisher, who worked with Guthrie.
“His bullsh-t meter had a hair-trigger — he took pride in calling it like he saw it as a reporter, columnist and in various editor roles at the Peninsula Daily News from 1979 to 2002.”
Guthrie was a featured columnist at the Gazette from December 2006 to January 2009.
“His creativity and quirky sense of humor endeared him as an actor, director and playwright in local community theater,” Brewer said.
After he retired from the PDN — where he served as Spotlight editor, among other roles — Guthrie worked in theater.
Guthrie “graced our stage with nearly 20 performances, directed at least 10 and wrote several productions,” the Port Angeles Community Players said in a tribute to him.
He also wrote and directed plays in the 1970s and ’80s for the Port Angeles Children’s Theater and acted and directed with Olympic Theater Arts in Sequim.
“His kindness, ever-present laugh and sense of humor will be a part of the Playhouse,” the statement said.
Even in the hospital, Guthrie rooted for the Dodgers, as well as the new Seattle Hockey team.
“He kept his great sense of humor to the end,” according to a Facebook post, “putting a selfie of himself in the hospital wearing a Kraken hat for the new Seattle Hockey team writing: ‘Release the Kraken! Release me!’ ”
Before joining the PDN, Guthrie worked at the Ventura (Calif.) Star-Free Press (as a sports writer, reporter and interim editorial page editor) and the Walla Walla (Wash.) Union-Bulletin (columnist and news editor).
He studied journalism at Ventura College and political science and theater arts at the University of California Santa Barbara.
John Marrs of Port Angeles, had known Guthrie for 60 years.
“He was an avid golfer and played the game as well as I played it badly,” Marrs said. “When I discovered he was in Port Angeles at the PDN in 1979 I cold called him and greeted him with a golf line to which he instantly replied, “Marrs, you wouldn’t know the right end of a driver if I handed it to you.”
“Jim had the best sense of humor and sharpest wit of anyone I’ve known,” Marrs said. “He is missed.”
Cheryl Baumann reported that Guthrie’s niece, Lynn, who lives in the Seattle area, “emphasized that Guthrie continued with his theatre and journalism work right up until the end of his life.
“While a resident of Lakeview of Kirkland, he faithfully wrote an article for the monthly Lakeview Ledger. He also wrote theatre scripts, two of which were turned into theatre readings brought to life by his fellow residents.
“He also very much enjoyed having his dog Tessa with him and their walks out and about.”
Guthrie is survived by his wife Ann, daughter Sarah Guthrie Hitch, granddaughters Kendal Larson and Jordan Larson, and others. His son, Russell, preceded him in death.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Donations in his honor may be sent to the Port Angeles Community Players and Olympic Theatre Arts.