Larry Countryman Obituary, Larry Countryman, an artist and politician, dies

Former City Council member and longtime resident Larry Countryman, 81, died in his sleep on Dec. 6 at Providence Hospital in Everett from kidney complications. The family patriarch, known for his love of art, sports cars, construction projects and road trips, helped to establish the Snohomish Historic District, Snohomish Historic Business District and the Snohomish Station shopping center during his four terms on council. Politically known for his conservative views, Countryman enjoyed political banter and often expressed his opinions through caricature-style drawings to needle opponents. “He was a very talented artist. If you look at his comics, it was a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor,” former Snohomish City Council member R.C. “Swede” Johnson said. Johnson and Countryman were high school classmates and served together on the City Council from 2006 to 2009.

Countryman was born at the former Snohomish hospital on April 27, 1941. He graduated from Snohomish High School in 1960. Johnson recalled his first touchdown pass during a high school football game was to Larry Countryman. He earned an arts degree from Big Bend Community College in 1963. He returned to Snohomish in 1971, raising six children with his wife, Sandy. He worked as a lead illustrator for The Seattle Times before purchasing a historic Victorian home at 119 Cedar Ave. in Snohomish, which he renovated and they ran as the Countryman Inn from 1985 to 2019. He owned other properties in and around Snohomish. Countryman served on the City Council for four terms across three periods of time, first from 1976 to 1983 and then from 2004 to 2007, before being elected to a third period from 2018 to 2021.

His artwork is on display in many businesses around Snohomish and includes the “Snohomish: Population 8524” sign located westbound on Second Street just before the Rite Aid. He volunteered at the Snohomish Visitor’s Center for 10 years until it closed January 31, 2019. Countryman’s favorite movie was “Better Off Dead” from the mid-‘80s. He loved quoting the film and wearing his favorite sweatshirt, which sported the movie title, “Better Off Dead.” Ironically, he was wearing that same sweatshirt when he checked in to the hospital before his death, so the family decided to bury him wearing it. His family knew him for his love, humor, ornery attitude, and sarcasm. He always claimed he was “not having any fun,” which became an in-joke for the family.
His eldest granddaughter, Kayla Countryman, believes his proudest accomplishment was his family. “He was always very involved in his family. He left a legacy of a family that loves to be together,” Kayla Countryman said.
Former Snohomish council member Doug Thorndike seconded this notion. “I spent hours in the Countryman Inn discussing city issues. The tightness of the family has always impressed me,” Thorndike said. Johnson summed up Countryman’s priorities: “His life revolved around his church, his family and the city of Snohomish,” Johnson said. Countryman is preceded in death by his brother Edward and wife Sandy. He is survived by his siblings, Allen, Anita, Gary and Donald; children, Cary Countryman, Cheri Green, Perry Countryman, Cathy McRae, Jeri Moore and Teri Jo Countryman; 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A service in his honor will be Jan. 7, 2023, at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 8522 131st Ave. SE, Snohomish.