October 28, 2007

Austin Blaine Coffey

Austin Blaine Coffey was a son of David Nathaniel and Caroline Levinia Coffey Coffey. He was born in Watauga Co., NC on Jan. 14, 1887 and died there on Aug. 28, 1970. He is buried alongside his first wife, Emma Mahalia (Hailey) Harris Coffey, at Boone Fork Baptist Church cemetery in Watauga Co.

Blaine represented Watauga Co. in the NC House of Representatives for several years, beginning in about 1917. He was still seated in The House in 1923 when his mother died.

Austin Blaine Coffey
Austin Blaine Coffey

Austin married Emma Mahalia (Hailey) Harris in Caldwell Co. on mar. 1, 1914. Hailey was the only child of Anderson Perkins and Frances Catherine Ennis Harris. Hailey had given birth to a son, Ralph A. Harris on Nov. 22, 1911. Ralph enlisted in the US Army in 1929 and subsequently killed in an automobile accident while stationed in Pensacola, Escambia Co., FL.

Emma Mahalia Harris
Hailey Harris


His obituary appeared in the Watuage Democrat on May 19, 1932:

Funeral Services Held for Ralph A. Harris

The body of Ralph A. Harris, 20, a private in the U.S. Army who was killed in an automobile accident near Pensacola, Fla., on May 7th, arrived at Lenoir on May 11th, in charge of Private Floyd Burkett, who was a friend and comrade of the deceased. Funeral services were held at Blue Ridge Advent Church on Thursday, May 12th by the Rev. S. E. Gragg, in the presence of the largest congregation ever assembled for a burial in this section.

Young Harris was a well liked by all who knew him. He completed his high school education at Crossnore, N.C., enlisted in the US Army in 1929, served three years, reenlisted and was serving his second term when the accident occurred. His death has caused widespread sorrow.

Pallbearers were Spencer Collins, Archie Simms, Spencer Henderson, Staple Collins, Mayrel Gragg, Frank Jones, Cecil Critcher, Jesse Coffey, Randel Pyatte, Melvin Calloway, J. C. Church, Ernest Simms and Seldon Wright.

Flower girls were led by little Ernestine Collins and Norma Collins, were as follows: Ruby Richards, Irene Jenkins, Sally Collins, Ruby Dula, Hailey Harris, Ruby Henderson, Rosetta Hollifield, Bessie Wooten, Jessie Hollifield, Ruby Byers, Ophelia Teague, Verdola Coffey, Fay Rupurd, Edith Calloway.

Burial took place at Boone's Fork graveyard.
Hailey died less than a year following the death of her son Ralph.

Ralph A. Harris
Ralph A. Harris


Hailey and Austin's children were:

Murray Harris Coffey, born May 9, 1915, died Apr. 5, 2003. He married Ruby Evelyn Dula on Nov. 19, 1938 in Watauga Co. Ruby was born Jan. 10, 1910 in Caldwell Co., and died Apr. 13, 1999 in Mecklenburg Co., NC. She was the daughter of Arthur Hill and Mary Jane Coffey Dula.

Murray's obituary appeared in the Watauga Democrat on Apr. 7, 2003.

Murray Harris Coffey
Rev. Murray Coffey

Rev. Murray H. Coffey, 87, of 157 Murray Coffey Road, Blowing Rock, died Saturday morning, April 5, 2003, at Blowing Rock Hospital.

He was born May 9, 1915, in Hudson, Caldwell County, to the late Austin Blaine and Hailey Harris Coffey.

Rev. Coffey was a retired stone mason and a minister. He was a member of Blue Ridge Advent Christian Church where he formerly served as pastor.

Both Rev. Coffey and his father, Blaine Coffey, served in the North Carolina Legislature as representatives from Watauga County.

Survivors include one daughter, Mrs. Imogene Poteat of Davidson; and one son, Terry Coffey of Blowing Rock; one granddaughter, Kimberly Coffey of Asheville; three grandsons, Paul Poteat Jr. of Coppers Cove, Texas, Mike Poteat and family of Charlotte, and Lynn Solesbee and wife, Melissa, of Mauldin, S.C.; one great-granddaughter, Anna Solesbee and one great-grandson, Ben Solesbee, both of Mauldin.

He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Ruby Dula Coffey; a son, Vern Coffey; a sister, Mrs. Gwyn Dula; and a brother, Hardin Coffey.

Services were conducted Monday morning at the Blue Ridge Advent Christian Church in Blowing Rock, officiated by the Rev. Gordon Noble.

Entombment followed in the Coffey Family Mausoleum in Boone Fork Community Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Boone Advent Christian Church, in care of Joyce Sherrill, 375 Shady Bark Lane, Boone, N.C. 28607.

Hampton Funeral Service was in charge of the arrangements.

Katherine Gwen Coffey
Catherine G. Coffey

Katherine Gwendolyn Coffey, born Aug. 1, 1919 in Watauga Co., died Aug. 19, 1997 in North Carolina. She married Clyde Lester Dula on Jul. 4, 1939. Clyde was brother to Ruby who married Murray.





Hardin Blaine Coffey
Hardin Blaine Coffey
Hardin Blaine Coffey, born Apr. 23, 1923 in Watauga Co., died Oct. 7, 2000 in North Carolina. He married Beulah Mae Coffey, born Mar. 24, 1924 to Joseph Merritt and Susan Augustus Childs Coffey. Joseph Merritt and Austin Blaine were distant cousins.

Hardin's obituary:

Mr. Hardin Blaine Coffey, 77, of Ransom Street, Blowing Rock, died Saturday morning, Oct. 7, 2000, at his home.

He was born April 23, 1923 in Blowing Rock. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Blowing Rock.

Mr. Coffey was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army and a 56 year charter member of the Blowing Rock American Legion Post 256. He retired with 30 years service at Tweetsie Railroad as a steam locomotive engineer. A snow making pioneer, he installed the first snow making equipment at Blowing Rock Ski Lodge and Hound Ears Club.

Survivors include his wife, Beulah C. Coffey; one daughter, Judith Wesson of Boone; one son, Joe Coffey and wife, Cathy, of Snowmass Village, Colo.; three grandchildren, Michael Jason Wesson of Boone and Samuel Ryan Coffey and Joanna Haley Coffey, both of Snowmass Village, Colo.; a brother, Rev. Murray Coffey of Blowing Rock; and three nieces, Gail Pitts of Blowing Rock, Cathy Wilson of Boone and Linda McCullach of Millers Creek; and one nephew, Terry Coffey of Blowing Rock.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Austin Blaine and Hailey Harris Coffey; one sister, Gwyn Dula and a nephew, Vern Coffey.

Services will be conducted Monday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home Chapel, officiated by the Rev. Dean Coffey.

The family will receive friends Monday afternoon from 1-1:45 p.m., prior to the services, at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Blowing Rock.

Flowers are appreciated or memorials may be made to Hospice of Watauga County, 136 Furman Road, Boone, N.C. 28607.

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Austin Blaine Coffey's second wife is said to have been Sally Phillips of West Virginia. Sally had been married previously to Doctor [given name] Hill Wright, a son of Thomas A. and Margaret Ann Coffey Wright.

Update 2/11/2012:  There is another marriage record in Watauga Co. for Blaine Coffey, age 47, to Anna Lee Phillips on 20 Mar. 1934.  A Nov. 13, 1951 marriage record has also been found for Austin Blaine Coffey to Sally Phillips Wright.  The marriage register put together by Appalachian State University at Boone and published in 1995, notes that this "marriage lasted 4 days."

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