August 7, 2010

Mary Annis Coffey

Mary Annis Coffey
KENWOOD - Mary Annis Coffey was a passionate flamenco dancer and a gifted pianist, who gave acclaimed piano concerts under the late Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conductor Erich Kunzel.

She was also a devoted mother of three and touched hundreds of other young lives over the years teaching piano lessons in her home and ballet for more than 20 years at Cincinnati Country Day School in Indian Hill.

"I saw her as a person who was very proud of her profession and carried herself that way," said Marcella Trice, a former colleague and principal at Country Day. "When you saw her you knew she was something special."

Mrs. Coffey died Aug. 4 at Hospice in Blue Ash. She was 76.

Mrs. Coffey was born in Dante, Va., where she started playing the piano at age 3 and gave her first radio concert at age 5, according to her family. She moved to Cincinnati in the 1940s after getting a scholarship to the Conservatory of Music (now the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music).

She graduated in 1956 with a piano major and a voice minor.

She met her soon-to-be husband, Warren Coffey, through her profession. He was a concert guitarist working in concert management and he needed a pianist. She fit the bill. Soon they discovered they had more in common than music.

"I had to propose inside my car," he recalled. "There wasn't much room. I said 'You're going to have to move over' and got on my knees inside the car."

They married in 1961. Although they divorced about four years ago, the Coffeys remained close until her death.

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