Desmond Thomas Coffee

Des, left for heaven surrounded by his family at home Wednesday July 19, 2017. Des was a man who loved and served God. His family was so important to him and he delighted in being with them all.

He was born in Visalia, California to Earl J. and Genevieve Coffee. His California legacy stretched back many generations, as his family had been early settlers of Madeira, California.

He achieved Eagle Scout and enjoyed attending one of the big Boy Scout Jamborees held at the Irvine Ranch which later became the Town of Irvine, California. His high school years, he was active in student government and established a dance band. He spent many happy times playing music on his saxophone and piano. He graduated from Tulare Union High School as Valedictorian of the Class of 1956.

He entered seminary in Oceanside, California and spent a year there before transferring to Santa Clara University. He graduated in 1961 just in time to start his Navy career in Pensacola, Florida. Between flight school and advanced flight training in Texas he married Tiblene Peace in 1961 in San Jose, California. He continued his career with two tours in Vietnam flying as NFO in The A3 Sky Warrior jet which was the largest plane to land on a carrier. He enjoyed the privilege aboard the aircraft carrier, Coral Sea which was welcomed to Australia for the commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea. He was selected to do his Masters program at American University in International Relations, which was followed by a teaching tour at the US Naval Academy. He served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon as special task force directed by President Carter. He retired his Navy career in 1982 and started a new career with Sanders, later BAE where he worked as a business development manager. When he retired in 2001, his retirement brought another career in full time volunteer work.

He loved skiing and spent 11 years as a ski and kayak instructor for the Handicap program, NEHSA at Mt. Sunapee. Des’s other passion was volunteering for Care Givers, he served as president of the board and spent time as a driver. He wanted so much to help make it possible for the elderly to stay in their homes with assistance.

He was predeceased by his son, Gavin Coffee, he is survived by his wife Tibby of 55 years; Sister Eloise McPeters of Rocklin, CA; daughter in-law, Heidi Coffee of Seattle, WA; daughter, Deslene and Rob Ackerly of Spokane, WA, son, Brett and Rana Coffee of Seattle, WA, son, Ian and Stefanie Coffee, Las Vegas, NV, daughter, Alicia Coffee and partner, Stacey Blodgett of Concord, NH, daughter, Shannon and Brendon Collins of Melrose, MA; and 16 grandchildren.

Visiting hours are on Wednesday, July 26th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in the Smith & Heald Funeral Home, 63 Elm Street, Milford. A Celebration of his Life will be held on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in the Amherst Christian Church, 134 Hollis Road, Amherst, NH. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to Caregivers at 960 Auburn Street, Manchester, NH 03103-3504 or NESHA at P.O. Box 2135, Newbury, NH 03255. Arrangements are in the care of Smith & Heald Funeral Home, Milford. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please go to www.smith-heald.com.