Beth Cocchiarella: Celebrating a life of service

November 21, 2017

Futurewise lost a great friend and supporter in September. We were saddened to learn from our Spokane office of the passing of Elizabeth Cocchiarella due to pancreatic cancer. She lived life fully, gave generously and anonymously – and in this season of thanksgiving, we celebrate her life with gratitude.

Beth was a kind, soft-spoken teacher, a humanitarian and environmentalist who brought intelligence and persistence to her pursuits. A key supporter of Futurewise in Spokane, she was passionate about protecting open space and preventing sprawl in Spokane County and worked tirelessly to improve water quality and protect shorelines on Liberty Lake. Beth played a pivotal role in engaging and energizing lake water quality improvements through proven science.  This helped continue the transformation of Liberty Lake from an eyesore to an inviting community resource.  In their sympathy card to her family, one member of the Liberty Lake sewer district staff said, “Beth’s dedication to the Lake and watershed will be felt for generations in Liberty Lake. We would not be where we are without her involvement.”

Besides her passion for the environment, Beth gave of herself for other causes.  Her contributions were both local and global, her legacy expansive.  A world traveler, every conversation with Beth led to learning what was going on in the other parts of the world where she worked.  She had a special connection with New Zealand and the people of Mount Maunganui-Tauranga, as well as the New Zealand families engaged with the Forest and Bird Society and the Hillier Community Garden.  Even as her interests spanned the world she kept up with her community, teaching English as a second language to refugees in downtown Spokane, volunteering for the Barton School, serving Meals on Wheels, and serving as a board member of the Washington Lake Protection Association.  Beth’s conservation ideal inspired her to promote the best science and do all she could to improve our waterways.

Nearest to her heart were her family and her life as a wife and mother. She and her husband Ron raised two children, Rob and Anne, and she cherished her extended family in Ovando, Montana, where Beth was born.

Here at Futurewise, we will remember Beth fondly as a person who cared deeply about people and the world, and who was always a kind ally to us. When she entered hospice care in September, Beth took the time to call us and say goodbye and let us know again – as she had said before – “I believe in what you do.”  

Thank you, Beth. We are so grateful to have known you.