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Robert Allen Coffey

March 25, 1928 ~ January 30, 2018 (age 89)
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Robert Allen (Bob) Coffey was born Bobby Allen Coffey on March 25, 1928 in the coal mining camp of Westburne, Tennessee. He was the fifth of six sons born to Charles and Birdie Wilhoit Coffey.

Upon graduation from high school, Bob was given the gift of a one way bus ticket to Knoxville, Tennessee - to help him find a future outside the coal mining industry. Like his brothers, Bob enlisted. It was upon his enlistment that his given name was changed to "Robert" from "Bobby".

Bob served in the US Army Signal Corps stationed in Austria. When his Army service was up, he enlisted in the Air Force. His next duty transfer, in September 1952, was to the airbase in Duluth, Minnesota. It was here that he met his future wife, Faye (Laurel) Tormondsen.

Bob and Faye were married February 28, 1953 in Tofte, Minnesota. Upon his discharge from the Air Force they moved with their infant daughter, Joan, to Pine City, Minnesota where Bob worked for Northwestern Bell. Their son, Steve, was born in 1955.

In 1962 the family transferred to Grand Marais, Minnesota where Bob continued his NWBell career. He worked as a lineman repairing phone lines up and down the Gunflint trail (except for a repair cut short by a close and unwelcome encounter with a bear).

The final relocation was to the Twin Cities in late 1964 where Bob began working in management. This move was again with an infant daughter in arms - Sandy, born in October 1964.

Bob continued working in management at Northwestern Bell and AT&T completing 30 years of service at his retirement in 1984. Upon retirement he took a part time job doing deliveries for a small marketing company leaving time to devote to his gardening and woodworking.

In June 1987 Bob suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). He spent 6 months in hospital, nursing home and rehab facilities, returning home December 1987. The following year was spent continuing his recovery, with his wife Faye spending countless hours helping him relearn.

Bob spent the remainder of his retirement woodworking, carving, gardening and creating folk art. He enjoyed the process of creating and spent many hours in the garage (his man-cave) making fanciful objects of ribbons, mardi-gras beads, stickers, coins and found objects. These were treasures he would only share with his family and good friends. Spring was his time for planting his favorite iris and pansies. During the summer Bob would mow lawns for several of the neighbors because it was the "neighborly thing to do". And in the winter he took it upon himself to snow blow the neighbor driveways because again, it was the "neighborly thing to do".

Bob took great joy in feeding the birds, enjoying his morning coffee while watching them at his many feeders. The occasional deer in the yard was a delight. The squirrels, however, were his nemesis and kept him busy concocting different means of keeping them out of the feeders (including a very effective electric fence).

As Bob entered his 70's he began suffering from dementia, a result of the TBI. While he continued to spend time on his activities, Faye provided an ever increasing amount of care. Bob spent his final 3 years in memory care at Brightondale.

Through his last days Bob remained consistent: he was kind to everyone, he loved the birds, his flowers, a good cup of that Lutheran coffee, his children and most of all, his beloved wife Faye.

Bob passed away peacefully on January 30, the age 89. He was preceded in death by his parents and 5 brothers.

He is survived by wife, Faye (Laurel); daughters Joan Coffey (Mike Kivley), Sandra (Paul) Mead; son, Steve Coffey (George Stirling); grandchildren Rachel Kivley and Abbey Mead.

The Coffey family thanks the wonderful staff at Brightondale Memory Care and Allina Hospice for their care of Bob during his final days.

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