November 21, 2006

Charles Shelby Coffey

Charles S. Coffey

Among the well known and able representatives of the bar of Hamilton county is Charles S. Coffey, a resident of this city, for the most part, since 1900. Mr. Coffey is a native son of Kentucky, being born on the old home place of his parents near Monticello, in Wayne county, on the 18th day of June, 1882. He comes of old and honored families of the Bluegrass state, and his parents being Lewis and Sophia (Buster) Coffey. His father is now living retired in Danville, Kentucky. His mother passed away on January 1, 1894. Lewis Coffey was long numbered among the representative farming men of Wayne county, Kentucky, and was successful in his lifework, and so conducted himself as to win and hold the unqualified confidence and esteem of his fellow men.

Charles S. Coffey gained his early education in the public schools of Monticello, Kentucky, and was graduated from the high school of that place as a member of the class of 1898. Thereafter he held a position as bookkeeper in a bank in Monticello for two years, at the expiration of which time, in 1900, he came to Chattanooga, where he was for some little time in the employ of the D. B. Loveman Company, one of the largest department stores in the city. In January, 1902, Mr. Coffey entered the University of Tennessee, and in 1905 was duly graduated from the institution with the degree of Bachelor of Science. the following year he was graduated from the law department of the same institution with the degree of Bachelor of Laws.

After his graduation Mr. Coffey returned to Chattanooga, and for some time he was supervisor at the real estate loan department of the Chattanooga Savings Bank, a position that was placed at his disposal soon after he returned to the city, and he continued in that position until September, 1910, when he resigned the same to engage in the practices of his profession. About one year later he formed a partnership with Mr. Paul Campbell, under the firm name of Campbell & Coffey, and this alliance continued in effect for a year, at the expiration of which time Mr. James F. Finlay was admitted to partnership, and the title changed to its present form - Finlay, Campbell & Coffey. this is known as one of the strong and successful law firms of Hamilton county, and Mr. Coffey, as one of its principals, has met with a pleasing degree of success in his profession, the branch which clamim his chief attention being that of civil practice.

Mr. Coffey is unmarried. [Charles, Jr. eventually married.  His wife was Mary Helen Stewart, born Jul. 22, 1920 in Winchester, Johnson Co., TN.]  He is a member of the Chattanooga Bar & Law Library Association, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, and the Commercial Club, and he is affiliated with the Theta Lamda Phi and the Pi Kappa Alpha college fraternities. Mr. Coffey is a Democrat, and while he is enthusiastic in the cause of the party, he has no desire for political preferment. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and has served for a number of years as a member of the board of the church of this denomination in his home city.

It may be mentioned here with all propriety that the father of Mr. Coffey was a valiant soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war, and served in the command of General John H. Morgan. Under this noted leader he participated in the famous Ohio raid, and was captured at that time by the Federal forces. Thereafter he was held a prisoner at Camp Douglas, in the city of Chicago, until the close of the war.

Update Oct. 20, 2010

Charles Shelby Coffey, Jr. was a son of Charles, Sr., and a descendant of Lewis Coffey and Sophie Buster Coffey.  A sister to Charles, Jr. was Mary Katherine "Bitsy" Coffey, born Mar. 27, 1920 in Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN.

Bitsy married James Garland Rawlings in 1940.  He was born in Louisa Co., VA in 1916 and died on Jan. 19, 1994 in Lookout Mountain, Walker Co., GA.  Bitsy died this week on Oct. 28, 2010 in Lookout Mountain.

Her obituary:

Mary Katherine "Bitsy" Coffey Rawlings
Longtime Lookout Mountain Resident Was Red Cross Volunteer, October 28, 2010

Mary Rawlings

Mary Katherine "Bitsy" Coffey Rawlings, 90, of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, died on Thursday, October 28 at her home after a courageous battle with cancer.

She was born March 27, 1920, in Chattanooga to the late Charles and Margaret (Anderson) Coffey. She grew up on Lookout Mountain, attending Lookout Mountain Elementary School and GPS in Chattanooga. She attended Hollins College and the University of Chattanooga.

Mary Katherine Coffey Rawlings*
In 1940, she married James Rawlings at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. After his service in World War II, he joined the Army Corps of Engineers. The family moved 17 times until his retirement with the rank of Colonel in 1961. The family then returned permanently to Lookout Mountain.

Bitsy rejoined Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church, singing for many years in the church choir. She was a member of a book club formed by wives of Lookout Mountain servicemen that continued for more than 50 years.

She was also a member of the Fairyland Garden Club, the Outlook Club, and the Study Club. For many years, she served as a Red Cross volunteer at Memorial Hospital and Alexian Brothers Nursing Home.

Her beloved Lookout Mountain home was the gathering place for almost 50 years of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family.

Bitsy was from a family of long standing in Chattanooga. Her great-grandfather was the Rev. Jonathan Bachman, 50-year pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga. Her father, Charles Coffey, was an attorney in the city who served on the boards of the YMCA, Public Library and Baylor School.

From her father, Bitsy learned and would pass on to her children the importance of community service and lifelong education. Like her mother, she was a lady in the true sense of the word, with graciousness growing from kindness, personal dignity and quiet spirituality. She was cheerful by nature, compassionate and generous.

Bitsy was preceded in death by her parents, husband and three brothers, Charles, William and Robert Coffey.

She is survived by her children, Margaret (Bill Meindl) Rawlings, Green Bay, Wi.; Colonel James S. (Ginny) Rawlings, Steilacoom, Wa.; Dr. Peter (Milly) Rawlings, Lookout Mountain; Katherine Rawlings, Roswell, Ga.; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is further survived by her brother, Rev. Jonathan Coffey, Palm City, Fl.

The family would like to thank her son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Milly Rawlings for their many years of care for Bitsy in her later life. The family is grateful for the compassion and support given to Bitsy in her last months by Jennifer Brewer, Diane Robinson, Kim Wyatt, Margaret Rainey and Hospice of Chattanooga.

Memorial service arrangements are pending. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church or Girls Preparatory School, Chattanooga.

Arrangements are by the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory, and Florist, 404 South Moore Road. Please share your condolences at

*The photo of Mary Katherine accompanied her obituary at, Oct. 28, 2010.

Source for Charles, Jr. bio: Hale, Will T., A History of Tennessee and Tennesseans (Chicago, IL: Lewis. Pub. Co., 1913)

Update Dec. 19, 2012

Charles Shelby Coffey, Jr. died in June, 1974 at Chattanooga.  His wife was Mary Helen Stewart and they were married on Jun. 23, 1942 at Franklin Co., TN. [1]  Mary Helen was a native of Winchester, Johnson Co., TN.  I am missing her death date and burial site.

Mary Catherine and James Garland Rawlings were married in Hamilton Co., TN on Sep. 4, 1940.[2]

Jonathan Bachman Coffey was the third child and second son of Charles Shelby and Mary Anderson Coffey.  He was born Sep. 26, 1921 in Chattanooga and died in Palm City, Martin Co., FL Dec. 15, 2012.

His obituary:

Obituary, Fr. Jonathan Bachman Coffey, Sr., Aycock Funeral Home, Stuart, FL 77228-1717
The Reverend Jonathan Bachman Coffey, Sr. died peacefully in his home at Sand Hill Cove, in Palm City, in the early morning hours of Saturday, December 15, 2012. Fr. Coffey was born just over 91 years ago in Chattanooga, Tennessee on September 26, 1921. 
He was the third of five children born to his parents and he grew up, enjoying a wonderful childhood, on Lookout Mountain. Jon took the now famous Incline to school in the city and frolicked with brothers and his one beloved sister in the Chickamauga National Military Park just one block from their home on Richardson Street. Jon graduated from Baylor Military School and then the University of Chattanooga before enlisting in the U.S. Army after Pearl Harbor. He served in the Pacific throughout World War II, and while there met a beautiful missionary's daughter in Honolulu named Mary Corey. He and Mary fell in love and after the war they were married. 
After several years in insurance, Jon went off to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. While he and Mary were there, they had two boys, Chris and David, to follow their first-born, Jon Jr. Jon's first parish was Christ Church in South Pittsburg, 
Tennessee. After two years he moved to Miami, Florida where he built a church, All Angels, in Miami Springs where his beloved daughter Constance Elizabeth, was born. He then served as rector of All Souls in Miami Beach. Jon finished his active ministry as rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Jensen Beach and then he and Mary moved to Martin Downs where they lived for over twenty years before moving to Sand Hill Cove. 
Jon served in many capacities in both church and community, always a leader in everything he undertook. He will be remembered by all as a loving pastor, a good friend, a devoted father and a loving husband to his beloved wife of almost 65 years, Mary.  
Jon is survived by his children: Jonathan Jr. (Julie) and their children Kate (Justin) and Spencer; Christopher (Karen) and their children Brianna and Nicholas; David (Susan) and their children Jeremy (Laura) and their daughters Kristin and Kate, Melissa (Jason) and their son, Cooper, their daughter Caitlin (Justin) and their son Quinn, and their son Andrew; and their daughter Consie (Trampas) and their children Zachary, Shelby, Alexander, Christopher, Corey mand Caleb  
The funeral to celebrate Jon's life will be on Wednesday, December 19 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Stuart, Florida. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Episcopal Relief and Development at 815 Second Ave. New York NY 10017 or www.
The interment will follow at All Saints Cemetery in Jensen Beach at 1:30 p.m. and all are welcome. A cortage [sic] [cortege] will depart St. Mary's at around 1 p.m. Please sign Jon's online guestbook at www.aycock  
All arrangements are entrusted to Aycock Funeral Home, Stuart, FL. 
William Milton Coffey, fourth child and third son was born Aug. 15, 1924 in Chattanooga and died Jun. 26, 2007 in Austin, Travis Co., TX.  Probably to his parents consternation, William quit high school in his third year and enlisted in the Army on Jul. 23, 1943.  I have not yet found any other info; e.g., marriage.

The fifth and last child born to Charles and Mary was Robert Lewis, born Dec. 27, 1926, died Feb. 23, 2010 in Powder Springs, Cobb Co., GA.  Robert married Frances Sue Davidson on Jun. 18, 1948 in Hamilton Co., TN.[3]

His obituary:

Powder Springs, GA - Robert Lewis Coffey, 83, passed away Tuesday, February 23, 2010. 
He was born in Chattanooga in 1926, the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Coffey Sr. He grew up in Chattanooga, attended Baylor Military Academy, and then joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 at the age of 17. During WW II he participated in the Battle of Okinawa as a part of the crew of the USS LST 841
After the war he studied business at the University of Chattanooga and then electronic engineering at Valparaiso Technical Institute, eventually joining Lockheed Georgia Co. where he worked for 35 years. 
In 1948 he married Frances Sue Davidson, of Red Bank, Tenn., and then raised his family in Georgia. They were married for 63 years. 
Over the years his interests included photography, short wave radio, woodworking, electronics and more. He was well known for his talent of being able to repair almost anything! He was a loving husband and father who was happiest when with his family and working in his workshop.
He was a member of Faith Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. 
He is survived by his wife, Frances Sue; daughters, Dorothy Sue and Martha Jean; and sons, Edward Parker and Robert Lynn. Additional survivors are a sister, Mary Katherine Rawlings and a brother, the Rev. Jon Coffey, along with eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. 
The family will receive visitors at West Cobb Funeral Home from 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Friday.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association on behalf of Robert Coffey. Alzheimer Association, 1925 Century Blvd NE, Suite 10, Atlanta, GA 30345. 
A graveside service will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Cheatham Hill Memorial Park, Marietta.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. at Faith Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Austell.

[1] Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002", index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Dec 2012), Charles S Coffey and Mary Helen Stewart, 1942.

[2] "Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950", index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Dec 2012), James G Rawlings and Mary Katherine Coffey, 1940.

[3]"Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950", index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Dec 2012), Robert L Coffey and Frances Sue Davidson, 1948.

Photos of Jonathan and Robert were found with their respective obituaries.

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