Lewis Guy Coffey, age 94 of Rocky Mount went to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday, November 4, 2021. He was born to Myrtle Anna Martin and Clifton Conard Coffey in Roanoke, Virginia on May 18, 1927. He was the seventh of nine children born into that household.
He attended Jefferson High School in Roanoke, graduating early to enlist in the US Navy to serve during World War II, where he was a Fireman 1st Class at the US Naval Base in Key West FL. After the war, he returned to Roanoke to pursue employment and further his education.
Principles of hard work and education were instilled in him by his family. His jobs as a youth included delivering newspapers throughout Southeast Roanoke, bagging groceries at the City Market, and working on the construction teams that built the Roanoke public library and the Roanoke City Mills. While living in North Carolina with a brother, he was a woodworker at the Fairchild Aircraft factory on the AT21 trainer. Later, he worked as a brakeman on the Norfolk & Western Railway, a steel handler at the American Bridge Company, a shift supervisor at the Radford Arsenal, a shoe salesman at Thalheimers, and a night manager for the Avis rental car company – virtually any job that would finance his education.
He attended The University of Virginia, where he earned his BS in Biology in 1950, and later the Medical College of Virginia, where he earned his Doctor of Dental Science in 1955. He moved to Rocky Mount and started his practice in an upstairs office in the Haywood building, where he continued until his retirement in 1992. After retirement, he worked at Virginia Western Community College instructing in their dental hygienist program.
While in dental school, Lewis met a young nursing student and the woman who would become the love of his life, Martha Ann Fain, having been introduced on a blind date by a couple that were also dental and nursing students. They were married on December 27, 1955, shortly after Dr. Coffey started his practice.
Always into learning something new, Dr. Coffey had numerous hobbies and interests. He tried his hand at small engine repair, electronics and amateur radio (WD4AYR), flying, gardening, beekeeping, and furniture building. He was involved in his children’s and community activities, on the Jaycees, the Chamber of Commerce, the First Federal S&L Advisory Board, Boy Scout Troop 30’s Committee, the FCHS Band Booster Club, PTA, and a variety of other community activities. Faith has been a central focus in the Coffey household. Lewis and Ann have been active members at Rocky Mount United Methodist Church since arriving in Rocky Mount, and Lewis served in several capacities in the life of the church, including Chairman of the Administrative Board, Trustees, choir member, and Sunday School teacher. He and a friend, Gary Hatfield, personally restored the church’s chimes, leaving a lasting and audible imprint on downtown Rocky Mount.
Dr. Coffey is preceded in death by his daughter, Melinda Ann Peters (Lester) and grandson, Jonathan Samuel Peters. He is survived by his wife, Ann, his sister Edwina Boyce, and four children, Michael Coffey (Vanessa) of Overland Park, KS, David Coffey (Amber) of Peachtree City, GA, Gordon Coffey (Terana) of Viera, FL, and Beth Coffey of Johns Creek, GA. Between them, there are fourteen surviving grandchildren – Stephen Coffey (Jen), Matthew Coffey (Laura), Lauren Coffey (Colm), Katherine Britton (David), Christopher Coffey (Megan), Ashley Mitchell (Chris), Amy Heide (Kyle), Olivia Mah, Shelby Kennedy (Brian), Joshua Peters, Hayden Mah, Mark Peters (Carol Ann), Ben Peters, and Anne Bogert (Tayler), and fourteen great-grandchildren – Rebecca Coffey, Jonathan Coffey, Caralynn Coffey, Holden Mitchell, Peyton Coffey, Jack Britton, Inman Coffey, Libbie Britton, Gage Coffey, Margo Mitchell, Raelyn Heide, Grace Britton, Violet Kennedy, and Thorin Coffey-Friel.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Rocky Mount United Methodist Church Music Ministry, 35 North Main Street, Rocky Mount, Va. 24151.
Funeral services will be held at Rocky Mount United Methodist Church at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 9th, with visitation being held Monday evening at Flora Funeral Service in Rocky Mount between 5:00 and 7:00 pm.