Bernald Clair Coffin
Born February 13, 1924
Bernald Clair Coffin was born in Duluth, Minnesota on February 13, 1924 and died in Greeley, Colorado on March 19, 2013. Bernie served in the Navy from July of 1943 to May of 1946, while attending the University of Minnesota. He was married to Bernice (Bea) Wigg in 1948 and they had 4 children, Joyce, Roger, Marlene and Tim. They lived in Minneapolis until 1969 when Bernie was transferred to Littleton, Colorado as an aerospace engineer for Honeywell, Inc. Bernie traveled the world supporting Cadence International ministries - providing a home away from home for military soldiers and families in the Philippines, Germany and Japan. In Mexico and Venezuela they served as short term missionaries through Bethany Evangelical Free Church. After retiring from Honeywell, Bea and Bernie moved to a beautiful home on Cross Lake in Minnesota. Missing their children and grandchildren in Colorado and having completed “their mission” of being a key part of building a new Free Church in Cross Lake, Bernie and Bea moved back to Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Bea Coffin died in 1991, but God blessed Bernie again with Mary Frances of Longmont, Colorado and Bernie and “Fran” enjoyed more than 21 years of marriage together. As God moved Bernie from one place to another Bernie found ways to use the gifts God gave him to the Glory of God and to serve those around him. Bernie never left a place the same as he found it. He always found a way to improve things and bless those around him. His was a life of service and giving to others. For his children Bernie helped enlarge and improve many of their homes from Texas, Virginia, to Illinois and Colorado. Every church he attended was blessed by his leadership, vision and hard work. In Minneapolis he spearheaded construction at First Evangelical Free Church to build an education wing, almost doubling the size of the church. He led Boy’s Brigade for Christ touching the lives of hundreds of young men, and helped raise the funds to add a world class pipe organ to the Church music ministry. At Bethany Free Church in Littleton, Colorado Bernie led youth group efforts from Boy’s Brigade to Youth for Christ and Youth Mission programs. He helped expand the facilities for the Church youth, led the building program for the education wing and gym and was probably most appreciated by all attending…when he put air conditioning and solar reflecting windows in the sanctuary which meant that listening to sermons on fire and brimstone did not mean you had to feel like you were actually there! When the Coffin’s arrived back in Minnesota at Cross Lake the church was meeting in the old Elk’s Lodge. Bernie saw a much more fitting structure that was suited to the land of Paul Bunyon. By the time the church at Cross Lake was finished they had the largest log cabin structure in Minnesota and a congregation more than 20 times the size it was when they arrived. When Bernie and Fran moved to Peoria, Arizona, once again God moved him to build and he was a key leader for the expansion of Desert Hills Church. Interspersed between these major projects Bernie could be seen building snow forts for his children and grandchildren, tree houses, play houses and host of other swings, toys and furniture. Bernie is remembered as a man who welcomed everyone he met and continually worked to make others’ lives better, whether it was through his next building project or coffee at the Johnstown diner. A few days before he passed away Bernie was at church, serving as an elder, encouraging a heart for missions. After the meeting, at age 89, Bernie could be seen pushing the chairs and preparing for the future, not because it was his job, but because he still could. Bernie is survived by his wife Fran and his four children and three great grandchildren. Each of us who knew him felt privileged to have been touched by the life of this great man of God. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations made to Cadence International, Inc. (http://www.cadence.org/content/memorial) or the missions fund at Bethany Evangelical Free Church or any of the churches he attended.
- Graveside Service Friday, March 22, 2013