Don Coffman, Dealer and Promoter: 1937-2008

Donald R. Coffman, of Stockbridge, Mass., died in his home on Saturday Jan. 19. Donald was born in Swiftwater, Penn., on Oct. 9, 1937, the son of Alta M. and Francis R. Coffman.

Donald earned his B.S. in Business Education at Bloomsburg State College, in Bloomsburg, Penn., and a M.S. in Education at Syracuse University.

He began his teaching career at Morris Hills Regional High School, Rockaway, N.J., in 1958, and three years later was named department chairman. In 1967 he moved to West Morris Regional High School, Chester, N.J., as department chairman, and director of adult education. Two years later he was named the first countywide director of adult and continuing education in New Jersey, serving the 29 school districts of Hunterdon County. During those 19 years, he served as president of the New Jersey Business Education Association and also president of the Association of Adult Education of New Jersey. He also served six years on the Clinton Township Board of Education.

In 1988 he and his wife Joyce retired and moved to the Berkshires in Massachusetts where they purchased and ran the Red Bird Inn in New Marlborough for 12 years. They also opened an antique market at the Buggy Whip Factory in Southfield, which they expanded to more than 100 dealers at the Jenifer House Commons in Great Barrington, until they closed in the summer of 2007. Donald served on the executive board of the Berkshire County Antique and Art Dealers Association.

While living in New Jersey, Don and Joyce began managing antique shows, beginning with the “Antiques at Christmas” show, which started at the Round Valley School in Lebanon, N.J., and benefited ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). The show ran for 25 years.

Don and Joyce managed as many as 22 shows a year in the New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania area, all for charity, before turning the management of the remaining shows over to their son and daughter-in-law.

In addition to Don’s mother, Alta, of Cresco, Penn., and wife of 47 years, Joyce, he is also survived by a son, Philip, and Phillip’s wife Marty; three grandchildren, Rebecca, Peter, and Benjamin, all of Franklin Lakes, N.J.; a daughter, Paige, and her partner Sharon, of Chicago, Ill.; and another son, Paul, of Boston, Mass. He has a sister Brenda and a brother, William, both of Cresco, Penn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests all donations and gifts be made to Hospice Care In the Berkshires, in care of the Roche Funeral Home, 120 Main Street, Lenox, MA 01240.

COMMENT