It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our beloved William Kenneth “Ken” Lawrence Coffey, age 66 years. Ken was born at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital, St. John’s on June 17th, 1953 – and passed peacefully on December 29th, 2019 at the Intensive Care Unit of the same Hospital.
Ken was a devoted husband, father, brother, grandfather, and a passionate teacher and mentor who inspired and touched the lives of thousands during his 30-year career at Gonzaga High School. Leaving to mourn his cherished wife of 44 years – the love of his life and best friend – Carole Anne (Walters), and their treasured children James, Joseph (Sue Anne), Jeffrey (Susan) and Juliana – who were the pride and joy of his life. He was further blessed with eight precious grandchildren Lauryn, Gavin, Brandon, Carly, Jacob, Benjamin, Matthew and Nadia; two special brothers Michael Gray (Joyce) and Kerry (Sharon); six nephews Ian, Christopher, Scott, Andrew, Tyrone and John; a beloved goddaughter Sarah Loder (Green) and countless cousins, lifelong friends and close colleagues. Ken was predeceased by his parents James Michael Coffey of Angels Cove and Marguerite Josephine (Maher) of Aquaforte/Ferryland, whom he loved dearly, and sister Roseanne who died in infancy.
A naturally talented athlete, academic and gifted teacher, Ken graduated as the Valedictorian and Athlete of the Year for the class of 1970 at Gonzaga High School, where he returned in 1975 to begin his lifelong teaching career. Following his retirement in 2005, Ken furthered his career in science education as the Executive Director of the Newfoundland Science Centre and as the Director of Biotechnology for Sanofi-Aventis at Memorial University’s GENESIS Group.
Ken remained humble throughout his life, always assisting others without expectation of recognition or gratitude. He was kind to the betrodden, generous to the less fortunate, a loyal friend to all animals, and spent his life trying to better the lives of others. Ken lived by the motto – “A man for others” – a philosophy instilled in him through his immersion in the Jesuit culture at Gonzaga High School. In accordance with Ken’s character, the family requests that flowers and other items be withheld, and instead donations be made to The Gathering Place, or simply to pay it forward to an individual in need.
Special thank you to the staff at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital Intensive Care Unit for their care and compassion towards Ken and family in his final days, and to the many physicians, nurses, and specialists in Eastern Health who have attended to him over the years.
Ken was a faithful Christian, a scientist and always maintained his sense of wonder. When questioned or challenged on his beliefs, he always affirmed that “We are all made of stardust”. Please join us in celebrating his life with visitation at Carnell’s Funeral Home on Freshwater Road, St. John’s on Thursday January 2nd, and Friday January 3rd from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 pm with funeral service to be held at St. Pius X, Smithville Crescent, St. John’s on Saturday January 4th at 9:30 am.
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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