It’s a story that seems orchestrated by both Cupid and God. It includes death but is packed with life. 

Bryce Coshow entered the Catholic Church at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Seaside March 31, 2013. Just nine months later, at age 59, he received a Catholic funeral. 

And in between? “He had the most beautiful year,” said his wife, Candy Coshow, an energetic 51-year-old. “I’m amazed at how someone could change that much.

Always in love with Bryce, Candy said his “newfound relationship with Jesus gave me my dream husband.”

Bryce had a rocky life and “was very rough around the edges,” said Candy, who met him in 1999. The couple married in a Christian church in 2005 and the Catholic Church in 2008. 

Raised Mormon, Bryce grew up amid wealth but not the attention he craved.

“He never felt love from his mother, and he loved her so much,” explained Candy. Though he worked hard at a job in his family’s semitruck tire company, he struggled with alcoholism and often was quick to anger.

“He was a good guy, but I guess he hadn’t realized how much God loves him,” said Carolyn Mill, Candy’s mother, who knew Bryce well.
Bryce began to grasp God’s love while attending Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults classes at Our Lady of Victory.

“I could see right from the beginning that he had a pretty tough background,” said Chris Rose, a longtime RCIA instructor who worked with Bryce. “He didn’t elaborate on it, but it was obvious he’d struggled in life.” 

Rose said Bryce showed great interest in every aspect of the church but especially the sacrament of reconciliation. 

“That sacrament made a great difference to him, it was a huge lift from what he’d been carrying,” said Rose.
Candy, a lifelong Catholic, always supported Bryce in his faith journey. 

“He found Jesus in his own way, but he’d ask me lots of questions and I hope I helped him,” she said. 

Observing Bryce go through the RCIA process helped Candy’s own spirituality. She’d often stop into classes with their dog, listening in and learning. And, to “watch Bryce, you couldn’t help but fall in love with Jesus even more,” she said.

As Bryce understood more about the faith, “he was like an innocent child who grew more loving to everyone he met,” said Candy. He was kinder, slower to anger and he drank less.

For years eager to cook meals for his family, Bryce began to feed those in need.

“He had a big old wood stove outside and would cook on it, often for hours at a time, and he would cook for the poor in the community,” recalled Candy.

“He was a changed man — not perfect, but who is?” she said. 

The summer after he entered the church, Bryce saw information in their parish bulletin about Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a Catholic marriage-enrichment program.

Enthusiastic about all things Catholic, he convinced Candy they should attend. 

It was a powerful weekend for the longtime Catholic and the newly minted one. “I learned some things about my husband that I never knew before,” said Candy. “And if you are drawing closer to each other, it organically makes you closer to God. We both fell in love with each other and God more than ever.”

Then, on Dec. 27, 2013, two days after Christmas and four months after the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend, Bryce died of a heart attack. 
“Candy was in overwhelming pain, but because of her strong faith she was happy for Bryce, that he was in heaven,” said Rose.

“I miss him dearly, but I feel so grateful,” Candy said. She recalled how the night of Bryce’s death he’d been laughing, his eyes sparkling. “He made it easy on me; I’m so happy for him because he was ending an amazing year, and he was with God.”

Candy noted that Father Nicholas Nilema, former pastor of Our Lady of Victory, and Rose were integral to Bryce’s faith journey. 
“Bryce loved Chris as a brother,” said Candy, now a member of Holy Redeemer Parish in Vancouver, Washington. 

Rose has been an RCIA leader for 30 years and said he’s worked with a couple hundred people. “But Bryce was one of the most enthused and excited about the faith. It was a very big transformation,” said Rose, adding that “it was a big shock to learn of his death.”

“It’s unusual to see the full cycle of coming into the church and then going to God so quickly,” he said.

“I can’t mourn ya, Bryce, because God blessed us so much,” said Candy with humor and sincerity. “My husband gave me so much and he still does.”