James Robert Plihal, D.D.S.


February 22, 1932 ~ June 26, 2020

  • James Robert Plihal, D.D.S.
    James Robert Plihal, D.D.S.

James R. Plihal, of Seattle, Washington died peacefully at home, with his wife by his side, on Friday, June 26, 2020.

Jim was born to James and Maude Plihal in Table Rock, Nebraska. He grew up in Table Rock and Pawnee City where he graduated high school. He decided to follow in his father’s career as a dentist and attended the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Doctorate of Dentistry, graduating first in his dental school class. While still in school, Jim fell in love and married Jo Ann Utermohlen of Stella, Nebraska in 1954. After graduation in 1956, he began his dental career in the United States Air Force at Moses Lake, Washington. After two years of active duty, he transitioned to reserve status, and returned to Lincoln, teaching at the University of Nebraska Dental School and establishing his first dental practice. In 1963, Jim and Jo Ann, now with their three children Joni, Judy and Jim Jr., made the bold decision to gather the family and move to Seattle. Jim initially established a practice in Ballard, but a few years later, he relocated his practice to Edmonds where the family lived.

After Jo Ann’s passing in 2004, Jim was re-married in 2007 to Sharon Schloredt of Seattle. He then sold the family home in Edmonds and moved to Sharon’s home in Seattle. He became an integral part of Sharon’s family of four daughters, their spouses and grandchildren.

Jim had a true passion and calling as a dentist. He practiced for 60 years, until he was 85 years old and health issues would no longer allow it. After selling his own practice, he practiced part time, working for colleagues, most recently at Kenmore Dental. While still practicing part time, he also taught dental assisting at Sno-Isle Technical College. Jim was a dedicated advocate of dentistry and high-quality oral care. He served as President of the WSDA in 1983 and was a Washington State delegate to the ADA. He was also active in the Snohomish County Dental Society, serving as President, and with the American College of Dentists.

Christian faith and service was important to Jim. As a younger man, he sang in the church choir. He was actively involved most recently at Denny Park Lutheran while also attending a men’s bible study at his former Faith Community Church in Edmonds.

Jim was a fan of sports, nature, personal connections, family and dogs. He was a bird hunter, fisherman, and grew prize winning roses. He rarely missed watching a Seahawks or Cornhusker football game. One of Jim’s most cherished places was the family cabin on Orcas Island. There he was able to creatively combine his love of family, outdoor recreation, nature and good company.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 49 years, Jo Ann in 2004, his parents and three older sisters, Mae, Dorothy and Marilyn. He is survived by his wife, Sharon, and his children, Joni, Judy and husband Doug, Jim Plihal Jr. and wife Christine, and his grandchildren, Savannah and husband Dan, Ivan, Tucker , Jordan Plihal, and Jacob Plihal, in addition to many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is also survived by his stepchildren Kim DeGalllier and husband Jeff, Kelly Schloredt, Kerri Garcia and husband Andy, Kristin Dillon and husband Jessie and stepgrandchildren Garrett and Nick DeGallier, Kate and Ben Dillon Due to the current COVID-19 mandates, a family only graveside service will be held at 1:00 PM on Saturday July 11, 2020. A traditional memorial service will be held when larger group gatherings resume. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of Nebraska Dental School or Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.