Brother James Floyd Coiner died Sunday evening at the Northwest Medical Center in Springdale surrounded by friends and family from 75 years to 14 months old. He was 65, and cause of death was listed as liver failure.
Dubbed Haulin' James shortly after he arrived in Eureka Springs in 1970, James would haul anything for anybody in his 1951 Chevy pickup, Blue Corrina. Coiner's arrival coincided with the second renaissance of Eureka Springs, when writers, poets and artists started buying and cleaning up abandoned houses. James would haul trash for $2 a pickup load, arranging long branches decoratively over the tailgate to conceal Corrina's perpetually expired license plate.
In his early days in town James opened a soup kitchen to feed the indigent, and after being shut down for lack of proper paperwork, he went to work as a cook at several restaurants.
James, who was shy and modest, led a simple countryman's life although he was exceptionally talented as a painter and sculptor.
On July 2, 1976, he was baptized at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, Crescent Grade, Eureka Springs. "It was a big thing in his life," said a close friend. "He was intimately involved with the church from that moment on."
James later became a Third Order Secular Franciscan, a lay order of Franciscans who do not live in community but rather live their everyday lives in a typical setting, striving to perfect charity in their own secular surroundings. From that time on, he was known as Brother James.
He died shortly after receiving Extreme Unction, or last rites, of the Catholic Church.
"Losing James is as though a whole species has gone extinct," one friend said. "He was a rare and wonderful person."
James was born in Neosho, Mo., the son of Floyd Coiner and Golda Eastep Coiner, both of whom preceded him in death. Survivors include two sisters, Virginia Scott and her husband, Monte, of Greenland, Ark.; Vicki Norris and husband, Danny, of Springdale; two brothers, Ronnie Coiner and his wife LaSaye of Tulsa, Okla.; and David and Charlotte Coiner of Ft. Smith; and many nieces, nephews, friends and extended family who will miss his lovely, smiling face.
A memorial celebration of Brother James's life will be held in Eureka Springs at a later date.