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Darrell D. Coffey

Darrell D. Coffey

December 3, 2016

Darrell Dwaine Coffey, age 92, of Altoona, passed away on December 3, 2016 at Oak Gardens in Altoona.

Darrell was born on April 12, 1924 to Carl and Mary (Hoffman) Coffey at the Morningside Big House in Garden Grove, Iowa. He grew son of a sharecropper, and was the second child of four. He attended Grades 1-8 in several country schools, including one near Woodland, Iowa, which the students referred to as Skunk Ridge School. After grade school, he and his brother Kenny lived with their maternal grandparents so they could help with their farm and attend high school in Garden Grove, Iowa, graduating in 1941. He briefly attended the University of Iowa. He had joined the Army National Guard, but when Pearl Harbor was attacked, he left to join the Naval Air Forces, serving in the U.S. Pacific Fleet from 1942 to 1945 as chief mechanic for a group of PBY 5A aircraft (amphibian and wheeled) responsible for air-sea rescue. When he returned to the States, he married Illa Dorsey on June 9, 1945, at the Methodist Church in High Point, Iowa. They were married nearly 69 years. 

Back in school after the war, Darrell and Illa lived in Hawkeye Village at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Darrell received his B.S. in psychology in 1949. They then lived in Sioux City until 1951, when they moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where Darrell served as the Director of Vocational Rehabilitation at Goodwill Industries for 16 years. During his time in Omaha, he earned his M.S. in psychology from Omaha University. He was active in the First Christian Church and in Sertoma Club. In 1967 the Coffey family moved to Menomonie, Wisconsin, where Darrell helped start and build the master's degree program in vocational rehabilitation at Stout State University, now University of Wisconsin-Stout. The following year he was named Director of the Evaluation and Training Center in the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. From 1974-76 he took a sabbatical to earn his Ph.D. of Education at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. When he returned to Stout, he lead a team that traveled around the United States to train people working in vocational rehabilitation. He retired in 1989. In retirement, he continued as chief editor of the National Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation for a number of years. Darrell was active in the Unitarian Church in Menomonie.

Darrell was preceded in death by his parents: Mary Hoffman Coffey (1952) and Carl Coffey (1987); brothers: Kenny (1942) and Richard (2015); his younger sister, Betty Imogene Coffey (1928); his wife, Illa Dorsey Coffey (2014). 

He is survived by his children: Carla Schoenbaum, Cindy (John) Glowaski, Diana (David Burke) Coffey, Matt (Nancy) Coffey, and Melissa (Will Brown) Coffey; grandchildren: Tasha, Kim, Jen, Ashley, Lexi, Emily, Theresa, Frieda, and Kelder; great grandchildren: Shaylyn, Aaidan, Tyler, Bain, Alaina, Jackson, Dylan, Nico and Dempsey. He is survived as well by nieces, nephews and cousins. 

The family wishes to thank the staff at Oak Gardens Place in Altoona, Sacred Heart Hospital, Sacred Heart Dialysis – Dr. Jalil and staff, and Marshfield Clinic – Dr. Jeff Shepich and staff for their kindness and care.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to University of Wisconsin Stout-The Henry Redkey Endowed Scholarship fund. Next summer, a simple service and his ashes will be buried in the Leon, Iowa cemetery.




Next summer, a simple service and his ashes will be buried in the Leon, Iowa cemetery.