Richard Easter “Dick” Coffee, Jr. – Obituary

by Lynn McMillen
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DickMr. Richard Easter “Dick” Coffee, Jr., age 91, died on Friday, June 21, at his home in Birmingham. He was preceded in death by his son John Peyton “Josh” Coffee; father, Richard E. Coffee; mother, Mary Sue Graves Coffee; sisters, Louise Coffee Morris and Helen Coffee Jones; and daughter-in-law Jeanie Alexander Coffee.

Survivors include his wife of almost 60 years, Nora Virginia Strength Coffee; son, Richard Easter “Dick” Coffee, III of Birmingham; daughter, Linda Coffee Ramsey of Martin, TN.; grandsons, Brett Ramsey (Jessica) and Matt Ramsey of Nashville; great granddaughter, Eliana Ramsey of Nashville; brothers-in-law, John Strength (Ann) of Newnan, GA, Vernon Strength (Danna) of Ft. Worth, TX, and Leonard “Bud” Strength of Marianna, FL.; a number of nieces and nephews; and countless friends.

Dick Coffee was born in his beloved hometown of Decatur, AL, on September 21, 1921. He served his country in World War II as a member of the 10th Armored Division of Patton’s 3rd Army, earning a Purple Heart following an injury just days before the Battle of the Bulge. Following the war, he enrolled at the University of Alabama, graduating in 1950, with a degree in Advertising from the “Commerce” School. At the university, he was an active member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. After college, Coffee founded Dick Coffee Enterprises. He published a number of magazines, including Birmingham Doin’s and Tuscaloosa Doin’s along with similar visitor’s guides for Huntsville, Montgomery, Decatur, Savannah, Memphis, and Brunswick and the Golden Isles. In addition, he began to print his annual football and basketball guides.

A life-long Methodist and a long-time member of Canterbury United Methodist Church, Coffee served on the Administrative Board for several terms and was an active member of the John Wesley Class. He was involved in many organizations affiliated with the University of Alabama, including the National Alumni Association, The Jefferson County Alumni Chapter (long-time executive committee member), the Commerce Executives Society, the Red Elephant Club, the Bama Tipoff Club, and the 1st and Ten Club. He was recently named as the University’s Alumnus of the Year, and was an honororary member of the A-Club for lettermen in athletics. Coffee attended every Alabama football game from November 30, 1946, through January 8, 2013, a total of 781 consecutive games. In 2010, he was named College Football’s #1 Superfan by ESPN. The New York Times acknowleged that he was the creator of the “Charge” cheer which has been heard at athletic events throughout the country for many years.

Coffee was an active member of the Birmingham Rose Society. He and his wife Nora had as many as 375 rose bushes in their garden, and he earned the designation as a Consulting Rosarian for the Deep South District of the American Rose Society.

He loved the city of Birmingham and its people. Coffee was a long-time member of the Monday Morning Quarterback Club, having served on its board and actively participated in the organization’s annual fundraising efforts for children’s charities. He was a member of the Birmingham Tipoff Club as well.

Visitation will be Tuesday, June 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m at Canterbury United Methodist Church with a memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. The family asks that memorials be directed to the “Alumni Fund” for the Coffee Family Scholarship at the University of Alabama, the Crippled Children’s Foundation for the Quarterback Club’s fundraising campaign for children’s charities, or Canterbury United Methodist Church.

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