James Edward Coffey (Jim) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Jim and Florence Coffey on September 26th, 1928. He grew up in Garfield, Utah playing sports, exploring his home town, and possibly getting into a little trouble with friends.
Jim’s favorite toy was always a ball. He was a multi-sport athlete- playing football, basketball and baseball at his alma mater, Cyprus High School and then Westminster College. Later in life, Jim and Coral attended many sporting events together, including University of Utah basketball and football games, Utah Jazz games, and every single one of their grandchildren’s sporting, events and activities.
Jim attended Westminster College on a basketball scholarship, and quickly began playing football for the college as well. Before finishing college, Jim and some of his high school friends enlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War. After his time in the service, Jim returned to Salt Lake City where he met his sweetheart and partner, Coral Lee. Jim and Coral were married in 1954 and spent the next 67 years together, loving each other and raising their family.
Jim received a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Utah. He was a teacher in the Salt Lake City School District for over 30 years, finishing his career at Newman Elementary, teaching alongside his wife Coral and many wonderful colleagues who became life long friends.
Jim and Coral had three children; Brad, Chris and Cheri, who they raised in Rose Park. Jim was a hands-on and loving parent, always making sure his children left for the day with a hot breakfast. Jim was known for making dinner classics such as; stew, sh*t on a shingle, and chili. Jim was a lifelong sports fan, supporter of the local arts, and dutifully followed his wife into local politics. Jim and Coral struck a deal early in their marriage- he would attend plays and political rallies with her if she attended sporting events with him. He was dedicated to his family, and devoted the majority of his time to raising his children and doting on his grandchildren. He will be remembered fondly for his quiet and steady nature, his love and devotion to his friends and family, and his encyclopedic knowledge of everything.
Jim and Coral spent much of their retirement in Torrey, Utah, and were often accompanied by their beloved dogs, Sam and later Max. Jim enjoyed gardening on the property, and planted a large orchard and garden for years. Jim also spent a large part of his retirement taking deep dives into history and his family’s genealogy.
Jim is survived by; his children, Brad (Robert) and Chris (Randy), his grandchildren, Katie, Sarah, Peter, Sydney and Jake, his great granddaughter, Aubrey, his sister, Mary and his brother-in-law, Larry Harman. He is preceded in death by; his wife Coral, his daughter Cheri, his parents, siblings Roberta (Lester) Brooks and Dave (Jane) Coffey, sister-in-law, Mary Jean Harman and brother-in-law, Ed Gaythwaite.
A graveside service will be held in Torrey, Utah on Friday, July 22nd at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Huntsman Cancer Institute or the Utah Food Bank. Jim liked Benjamin Franklin’s quote ‘Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” so enjoy a sporting event, drink a cold beer and be happy.
Jim and Coral are two of my favorite people. I’ve never met better people. I have many great memories of them both. We miss them.
Please accept our sincere condolences.