The Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association announced last week that its member, James Ernest Coston, a longtime roofing distribution professional, died on May 26 after fighting a battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. 

According to a May 29 news release, Coston was born on July 26, 1953, into a military family in Presque Isle, Maine, which afforded him the opportunity to live in exotic places as a child, including Tokyo, Japan, and Bangkok, Thailand. 

At the age of 17, Coston’s father retired from the military and moved the family to Tampa, Fla., where Coston’s mother was born. A year later, after graduating from high school, Coston enrolled in Saint Petersburg Junior College, majoring in mass communications. He received his Associate's degree in 1974, then transferred to the University of Tampa, where he earned his BS degree in Education in 1977.

In the summer of 1980, with his first child due to arrive that September, Coston secured a job with Westcoast Roofing Supply. The FRSA said that summer, the owner made him an offer that was “hard to turn down,” and Coston resigned from the school board to begin his career in the roofing supply business. The following day, his son, Jim Jr., was born. 

The FRSA said that Coston always stated  he was very fortunate over the last 44 years to work with some great companies and professionals in his industry, including:

  • Westcoast Roofing Metal Supply — 1980-1983, Sales
  • Tampa Bay Roofing Supply — 1983-1986 start up, Credit and Controller
  • Gulfside Supply — 1986-1995 Sales, Branch Manager
  • Suncoast of Tampa — 1996-2003 start-up, Equity Partner
  • Alliance Rep. Group — 2003-2007 independent Rep. 
  • Phoenix Sales, Inc. — 2007-2010 start-up to commercial distributor, Partner
  • Beacon Roofing Supply — 2010-2014, Regional Manager
  • SPEC Building Materials Corporation — 2014- present, Regional V.P.

Coston is survived by his wife of 18 years, Ann; three children, Jim, Christie and Makenzie; two grandchildren, Jimmy and Lily; three sisters, Cathleen, Laura and Barbara; two brothers-in-law, Donnie and Jim; two stepchildren, Katie and Amanda; and two step-grandchildren, Owen and Emma.

May his memory always be a blessing.

Condolences can be sent to Mel Stevenson, SPEC Building Materials, 2840 Roe Lane, Kansas City, KS 66103.