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Harry E. Coffie, 1906-1957


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 1/28/2009 at 07:27:59


Last Rites Set for Monday

Harry E. Coffie, 50, lifetime and well known Estherville resident, died shortly after 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon [31 Jan 1957] of septicemia (blood poisoning). Mr. coffie had been admitted to Holy Family Hospital Tuesday afternoon after complaining of severe pain in his arm and shoulder.

Wednesday night the pain spread to the abdomen.

Mr. Coffie has been closely identified with the growth of aviation and aviation facilities in Estherville and had conducted an increasingly large farm operation.

The son of John and Frances Coffie, Harry Coffie was born April 30,1906 at Estherville. He was united in marriage to Gladys Mabel Graves in July, 1939.

He is survived by his widow and four children, Dana 16, Susan 15, Lonnie 14 and Tim 11. Also surviving are his mother, Mrs. Earle Selden of Lamar, Colo.; and two brothers, Guy Coffie of Altoona and Dale Coffie of Highland, Ind. His f, John Coffie, died Jan. 20.

Funeral sevices will be conducted Monday at 2 p. m. at the First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Thomas G. Melton officiating. The body will lie in state at Sternborg Funeral Home from tomorrow noon until 11 a. m. Monday when it will be taken to the church to lie in state until time of services.

Burial will be in the Oak Hill cemetery.

Mr. Coffie graduated from Estherville High School in 1923. He had been a member of the high school debate and track teams and was winner of the honor award.

In 1928 he received his Bachelor of Science degree, and Doctor of Law degree in 1935 from the State University of Iowa. He was admitted to the Bar in 1935.

While attending SUI, Mr. Coffie was a member of the "I" Club from 1924 t0 1928; the cross country track team, 1925-27; track varsity 1926-28 and the Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity.

In 1928 and 1929 Mr. Coffie served in the U.S. Air Corps Reserve, stationed at March Field, Riverside, Calif. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1929 and served as temporary U.S. Marshall in 1929-30 at Fairbanks, Alaska.

From 1930 to 1932 Mr. Coffie was a barnstorming pilot in the midwestern states. He practiced law here from 1935 to 1941 and served as Emmet County attorney from 1936 to 1940.

In 1940, as a qualified instructor of civil aeronautics, he operated the Estherville Junior College civilian flight training program and was director of the program throughout the war years. Thousands of students got their first flight training under Mr. Coffie's guidance. During that time barracks were built at the local airport to house the students and a large staff was employed to conduct the flight training program.

Mr. Coffie had been active in Republican party activities and was delegate to several state and judicial conventions.

Mr. Coffie had served as president of Flight Operators, a state organization; was a member of the Emmet County, the Iowa State and the American Bar Associations; was Chamber of Commerce director, chapter secretary for the former Estherville Lions' Club; and was active in the Knights of Pythias Lodge. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church.

In recent years Mr. Coffie had taken an active interest in the Masonic Lodge, and at his death he was vice president of the Iowa Civil Aeronautics association and had served several terms previously in that capacity.

He was appointed in 1949 by the late Gov. William S. Beardsley to serve as a member of the five-man Iowa Aeronautics Commission and was reappointed again in 1955 by Gov. Leo Hoegh to serve until June 30, 1961. Gov. Herschel Loveless will name a successor.

Mr. Coffie had been the Municipal airport manager for a long period of years but had tendered his resignation effective March 1. He had compiled a long record for careful and accident-free pilot-flights.

He began his farming operation in1945 and had gradually increased the operation in addition to taking care of the airport with a deep interest in rotation farming. He made extensive improvements to his farmland and had produced large numbers of livestock.

Mr. and Mrs. Coffie were among the Estherville persons who attended the Rose Bowl game at Pasadena, Calif.

Source: Estherville Daily News, Estherville, Emmet County, Iowa, February 1, 1957.


Emmet Obituaries maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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