Obituary of Edward Nichols Coffey
Edward Nichols Coffey, age 84, beloved husband of Marcia Burr Coffey of Monroe, died peacefully in the comfort of his daughter’s home, surrounded by his family on May 8, 2023. Born in Bridgeport on January 14, 1939, he was the son of the late John E. and Edith Nichols Coffey.
Ed was raised in Bridgeport and graduated from Fairfield College Preparatory School in 1957. He earned a B.S. in education from SCSU in 1961 and an M.A. from Fairfield University in 1965. He was awarded his 6th year certificate in 1974.
He enjoyed a 40-year career as a teacher for the Fairfield Board of Education. Over the course of his career, he taught at Osborn Hill Elementary, Pequot School, Fairfield Woods Middle School, Roger Ludlowe High School, and Fairfield High School. He loved teaching and was often told that he made history come to life with his dynamic teaching style and field trips.
A history enthusiast from a young age, Ed was a member of the Children of the American Revolution. He later became a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and was the historian for the local branch from 1966-1981. Ed received the Educator award for outstanding contributions to the preservation of colonial history from the Daughter’s of Colonial Wars in 1983 and the Teacher of the Year award from the Daughter’s of the American Revolution in 1992.
In 1963 Ed moved to Monroe and would reside there for 60 years. He and his wife purchased a Georgian style home circa 1775 and spent years restoring it. He loved the town and was extremely passionate about preserving its historic buildings and area around the Monroe town green.
Ed helped establish the Monroe Center and Stepney historic districts and was a board member for many years. He served as the historian for the Monroe Sesquicentennial Commission from 1971-1973.
In 1974 he wrote the first town history for Monroe, A Glimpse of Old Monroe. He was the acting town historian from 1972-1988 and then appointed as the official town historian in 1989. He helped design the Monroe Town Hall Green gazebo in 1991. He was the historical advisor for the David Merrill mural in 1982 and for Images of Monroe in 1998, and created the DVD Trolley Through Time in 2007, a tour of Monroe.
He was a founding member of the Monroe Historical Society; served as their historian from 1968-1981; vice president from 1960-1961; president from 1962-1968; and served on their board of directors for many years. He was involved with the restoration of the Barn Hill Schoolhouse, East Village Meetinghouse and Beardsley homestead. In 2021 he received an award from the society for his years of service and dedication.
He was involved with the Monroe Center Cemetery Association since the early 1970’s and over the years served as treasurer, vice president and most recently president. He was a member of St. Peter’s Church and served as their historian from 1969-2009.
Ed was a lecturer on Connecticut and local history, genealogy, architecture, dating old houses, and antiques. He was a charter member of the Huntington (now Shelton), Bridgeport, Trumbull, and Easton Historical Societies and served on the board of directors for both Huntington and Bridgeport. He was also a member of countless other local historical societies and organizations.
He was a lifetime member of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Inc. and served on their board of directors from 1985-1987. He was a member of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation and the CT Landmarks Society and served as councilor for the CT Society of the Founders & Patriots from 1971-1978. He was also a member of the CT League of Historical Societies and served as vice president, chairman of the membership and promotion committee, and education committee in the 1970’s.
Ed held many titles in his life, from teacher to architectural consultant, but by far his favorite role was being a father and grandfather. Family was always his first priority and he was incredibly proud of all of his children and grandchildren and devoted much of his post-retirement life to taking care of his grandchildren.
In addition to his beloved wife of 60 years, he is survived by his devoted children, David Coffey and his wife Karen of Monroe, Jonathan Coffey of Monroe, and Laura Trautz and her husband, Todd of Shelton; cherished grandchildren, Jennifer Blewitt and her husband Jacob and Hunter, Drew, and Spencer Trautz and great grandchildren, Isabella and Dominic Blewitt, as well as several cousins and dear friends.
Private interment will take place in Monroe Center Cemetery, Monroe. The Wakelee Memorial Funeral Home, 167 Wakelee Avenue, Ansonia is in care of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Monroe Historical Society, P.O. Box 212, Monroe, CT 06468 – donations will be put toward the preservation of their historic buildings. Online condolences may be made at www.wakeleememorial.com.
The family wishes to send a special thank you to Dr. Kenneth Nori and Dr. Joseph Rosa for their many years of care and compassion.