Dr. David McMillian Coffey, intrepid traveler, explorer and beloved professor, departed on the Great Adventure on March 20, 2014, after a very brief illness. Born Feb. 17, 1950, to J.D. and Lois Coffey, he spent his formative years on a farm in Cumberland County, near Burkesville.
He was the first 4-H exchange student in Indonesia. He received his BS and MA from Western Kentucky University and his Ed.D in Vocational Technical Education from Virginia Tech in 1978.
His accomplishments were multiple and varied. His passion was using every moment to teach in and out of the classroom. His popular rural sociology classes were legendary, resulting in WKU Teacher of the Year awards. His curriculum for “Animal Rights/Animal Welfare” was used nationwide. “Ag in the Classroom” curriculum became a model for many states. David was the WKU faculty member in charge of the Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders for many years. Because of David’s outstanding record in student advisement, he was the first director of the WKU Office of Undergraduate Advisement. He later served as director of WKU Educational Enhancement Programs, TriO and Student Disability Services. He also served on the Kentucky FFA Foundation, was a member of the national FFA Board of Directors and received the national FFA HO Sargent Award for Diversity.
Hundreds of students and faculty were transformed by visits with David to Costa Rica, Argentina, Australia and, especially, Ecuador. David traversed Ecuador at least 27 times. An avid adventurer, David, along with a spirited entourage, journeyed the globe, visiting most countries of the world.
David is survived by his mother, Lois Prewitt Coffey; close confidant Dr. Luis Samayoa; beloved daughters, Coco Coffey and Kristie Guffey; faithful son, Antonio Echeverria; brothers, Danny (Jane) and Daryl (Debra); sisters, Ann Coffey (Steve Dahmer) and Pam Coffey Wells (Tom); numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends.
A remembrance ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the WKU Alumni Center and at 2 p.m. April 5 at the Burkesville United Methodist Church. Cremains will be distributed to the WKU Chapel, the Coffey family farm on the Cumberland River and Ecuador. Local arrangements are entrusted to J.C. Kirby & Son.
David touched those around him with loving-kindness. His great compassion and sharp wit endeared him to people across many continents. Contributions in memory of him can be made to the Dr. David Coffey Scholarship Fund, c/o College Heights Foundation, 1906 College Heights Boulevard 41016, Bowling Green, KY 42101. We are continuing to bask in the great karma we have received and are so appreciative.
Rest in peace, David. We will miss you and never forget you.