September 16, 2017

Joel Lawrence Coffey, Jr.

Joel Lawrence Coffey, Jr.
Joel Lawrence Coffey, Jr., was the first son and second child born to Joel Lawrence, Sr. and Myrtle Watson Coffey.

A short bio for Jr. appeared in the Watauga Democrat newspaper on Nov. 11, 2011 and relates a part of his adventures during WW2 in the European Theater of Operations. The item, written by Sherrie Norris tells how he came to earn those medals you see spread before him. His obituary provides a bit more information.

I recognize some of the decorations.  He earned the (l-r) Bronze Star medal with two oak leaf clusters; a Purple Heart for wounds that got him sent back to England for treatment; a Germany Occupation Medal; WWII Victory Medal; a Good Conduct Medal and a European Theater of Operation medal.  I have been unable to identify the  center medal.

Also shown in the photograph is his CBI or  Combat Infantryman's Badge.

Joel descends from Edward Coffey and Ann Powell through their son John and his wife Jane Graves; their son Reuben and wife Sarah Scott; Jesse and wife Peggy Edmisten; their son Reuben and Rachel Hayes; Jesse Calton and wife Nancy Raines; Thos. Carlton and wife Martha Cook and finally, his father, Joel, Sr.

Joel died Nov. 5, 2014 in Boone, Watauga Co., and was buried at Laurel Springs Baptist Church Cemetery at Deep Gap, Watauga Co.


Obituary, The Watauga Democrat, Boone, NC, Fri., Nov. 7, 2014

Joel L. Coffey, 90, of Deep Gap, passed away Wednesday evening, Nov. 5, 2014, at Watauga Medical Center. 

Joel was born January 13, 1924, in Watauga County, a son of the late Joe L. Coffey and Myrtle Watson Coffey. He was a retired rural mail carrier and a lifetime member, past superintendent, and deacon of Laurel Springs Baptist Church. Joel served in the U.S. Army during World War II, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, and received two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. He was also a charter member of the Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Department, where he retired as chaplain. 

Joel is survived by his wife, Geraldine "Gerry" Coffey* of the home; one son, Michael Thomas Coffey, Sr. and wife, Mary Alice, of Deep Gap; one daughter, Brenda Coffey Farthing and husband, Len B., of Vilas; one step-daughter, Jane Ragan Pignolet and husband, Mark, of Braselton, Ga.; one granddaughter, Amanda Farthing Huff and husband, Todd, of Deep Gap; two grandsons, Michael T. Coffey, Jr. of Sanford, and Joel Farthing and wife, Nicole, of Vilas; five great-grandchildren, Jackson, Walker, Ella, Colt and Hattie Mae; one step-granddaughter, Amy Ragan Grady and husband, Gary, of Kettering, Ohio, as well as their children, Ragan and Riley. He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews. 

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Gaye Warren Coffey; and three sisters, Louis Cary, Margaret Lane, and Sue Craig. 

Funeral services for Mr. Joel L. Coffey will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, at Laurel Springs Baptist Church. The body will lie in state, at the church, from 1 until 2 p.m. Officiating will be Pastor Tim Lynch. Military graveside rites and burial, provided by American Legion Post 130 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 90, will follow in Laurel Springs Baptist Church Cemetery. 

The family will receive friends Friday, from 6 until 9 p.m. at Hampton Funeral Service. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Laurel Springs Baptist Church Cemetery Fund, c/o Stewart Rhymer, 6596 Old US Hwy 421, Deep Gap, NC, 28618; Disabled American Veterans Chapter 90, PO Box 2914, Boone, NC 28607; American Heart Association, 128 South Tryon Street, Suite 1588, Charlotte, NC, 28202; or to a charity of the donors choice. 

Online condolences may be sent to the Coffey family at 

Click on this Watauga Democrat link to read his story.

*Geraldine was his second wife.  His first wife was Laura Gaye Warren to whom he was married on Jul. 18, 1949.  Laura died on Dec. 10, 1966 and is also buried at Laurel Springs.

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