Published: January 22, 2008
Donald R. Coffman died in his home on Saturday, January 19. Donald was born in Swiftwater, Penn., on October 9, 1937, and was the son of Alta M. Coffman and the late Francis R. Coffman.
A well-known antiques manager in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania area, he began his career in education.
He earned his BS in business education at Bloomsburg State College, Bloomsburg, Penn., and a MS in education at Syracuse University, and began teaching in Morris Hill, N.J., in 1958; three years later he was named department chairman. In 1967 he moved to West Morris Regional High School, Chester, N.J., as department chairman and director of adult education. Two years later he was named the first countywide director of adult and continuing education in New Jersey, serving the 29 school districts of Hunterdon County.
During those 19 years, he served as president of the New Jersey Business Education Association and also president of the Association of Adult Education of New Jersey. He also served six years on the Clinton Township Board of Education.
While living in New Jersey, Don and his wife Joyce began managing antiques shows, beginning with the Antiques at Christmas show, which started at the Round Valley School in Lebanon, N.J., and benefited ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and continued for 25 years.
Don and Joyce managed as many as 22 shows a year in the New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania area, all for charity, before turning the management of the remaining shows over to their son and daughter-in-law.
In 1988 Don and Joyce retired and moved to the Berkshires in Massachusetts where they purchased and ran the Red Bird Inn in New Marlborough for 12 years. They also opened an Antiques Market at the Buggy Whip Factory in Southfield, Mass., which they expanded to more than 100 dealers at the Jenifer House Commons in Great Barrington, Mass., until they closed the antiques market in the summer of 2007.
Don served on the executive board of the Berkshire County Antiques and Art Dealers Association.
In addition to his mother, Alta, of Cresco, Penn., and wife of 47 years, Joyce, Don is also survived by two sons, Philip, and his wife, Marty, and three grandchildren, Rebecca, Peter, and Benjamin of Franklin Lakes, N.J., and Paul of Boston, and a daughter, Paige, and her partner, Sharon, of Chicago. Don is also survived by his sister, Brenda, and brother, William, also of Cresco, Penn.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests all donations and gifts be made to Hospice Care In the Berkshires, in care of the Roche Funeral Home, 120 Main Street, Lenox MA 01240.