One of Logan County’s local historians, at the urging of his daughters, has finally archived his life story from birth to present, along with the many stories that he has accumulated over the years about early life and family and the numerous places he has lived.
Edward Coffman Jr. has written and published “Happy Years… and Many More,” an autobiography that introduces you to a man whose life of selflessness and God-driven example has landed him right where he began, in a life of love, faith and family.
Most people in Russellville know Ed Coffman, if they don’t know Ed, they knew his father Edward “Pike” and Emma Coffman publisher of “History of Logan County” in 1962. And if they didn’t know his father they knew his grandfather Jacob Bradley Coffman, all of whom lived in the house on West Seventh Street, which adorns a friendly pineapple on the front lawn, welcoming those who come to visit. The home Ed lives in (The Curd House) was built in 1814 and has been in the family since 1866. Memories of visiting the house after school when his grandparents resided there are among many Ed has of this historic brick structure which is as inviting as any.
Mr. Coffman was born in Russellville on Jan. 25, 1922, he grew up there and graduated from Russellville High School in 1938. He was married for over 60 years to his late wife Carol Coffman, with whom he had three daughters, Cathie, Carol and Connie.
“Everything I am is rooted in the rich traditions of love, faith, joy and compassion of our family, as so beautifully chronicled by my beloved father. Thanks for the memories dad,” said daughter Cathie Ann Paluch of her father’s recent book.
Dr. Coffman earned his BA in History from Vanderbilt in 1942 and his BS in Ministry in 1944. He later earned an MS from Truman University in Missouri and his doctorate from Vanderbilt in 1972. Ordained into the ministry in 1944, Dr. Coffman has served as senior pastor of First Christian Church in Kirksville, Missouri and First Christian Church in Madisonville, Ky. and Associate Pastor/Campus Minister at First Christian Church in Columbia, Mo. He also served as interim pastor in Paducah, Bowling Green, Middlesboro, Greenville, and Guthrie, Ky., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala.
Mr. Coffman is no stranger to the writing world, as he has already published three pieces of work. In 1988, he published “Logan County, Kentucky, A Pictorial History (Narration). In 1991 he released “First Christian Church, Russellville, Kentucky 1941-1991, and in 2002 was “Through My Father’s Eyes- The Story of Logan County Kentucky” an update to his father’s work.
Mr. Coffman began writing his recent book about four years ago, two years before his wife had succumb to a lengthy illness. He said he couldn’t have written it without her help, as she had a much better memory than he when it came people, events and dates.
“She had a good memory, despite her being very sick,” said Coffman, who dedicated the book to her.
One of the inspirations for writing his autobiography was his daughters, said Coffman. They always told him he should write down his stories. He admits he loves to tell them.
In Coffman’s book, he tells a story of a life well lived and provides inspiration to all to share their gifts, take joy in every moment, and to live each day to the fullest. He takes you along with him to Seminary, Columbia, Mo., Kirksville, Mo., Madisonville and finally through the interim years.
There are 65 photos in the book, ones which Ed’s daughter Connie helped gather and identify. Ed says the book is really a collaboration with his youngest daughter who also acted as copy editor, among many other things.
“This book is yet another reminder of the love and courage that has marked your life and provided an example to me on how life should be lived… always with faith, courage and conviction, and with a love and generosity toward others. Thank you for taking the time to reflect on and share your life, leaving a legacy for all you have touched, especially me,” said Connie Sue Hitchcock.
Mr. Coffman had the book published a little before Christmas so he could give it to his daughters Christmas morning as presents. He said it made for a wonderful morning.
“Your life story captured here is the most meaningful gift I will ever receive. Each day, you continue to amaze and inspire me as you live your life fully with faith, knowing you have been richly blessed and always looking forward with confidence and hope,” said Carol Lee Coffman, Ed’s middle daughter.
Mr. Coffman’s book is not for sale. He gave a copy to friends and family, along with a copy to the Logan County Public Library for those who wish to read it.