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Coffee, Richard J., 1916-2010



  • Existence: 1916 - 2010

Biographical Information

Richard J. Coffee was born on May 13, 1916 in Decatur, Indiana to Claude M. and Frances (Butler) Coffee. He went by the nickname “Dick.” A graduate of Purdue University in 1939, he received his degree in Civil Engineering. As a student, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Phi Kappa Theta fraternity and the Purdue University Army ROTC. He married his high school sweetheart, Alice Mae Seibold, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They had one daughter, Barbara Jean. Alice died in 2001. Starting in 1939, Coffee worked for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Company. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps at the start of WWII. He served in Italy, New Guinea, and the Philippine Islands. Subsequent assignments in the Air Force included Tonopath, Nevada.;Tokyo, Japan; during the Korean conflict; the US Air Force Academy Construction Agency as Chief of Operations; the Pentagon; Oslo, Norway for NATO; Vietnam as Red Horse commander at Bien Hoa; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Colorado Springs for ADC. His military awards include a Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit, and Vietnam Service Medal with three Stars. He retired from the Air Force in 1974. Personal interests included skiing, woodworking, model railroading, gunsmithing and stamp collecting. He was a member of St. Joseph's parish in Salida, CO. As a member of NRA and Trout Unlimited, he pursued his lifelong passion for hunting and fishing.


Sources: “Fort Wayne Newspapers”, Obituaries. Dec. 7, 2010. “The Gazette” from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, 2010.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Richard J. Coffee papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSA 323
Abstract Letters, photographs, clippings, and material artifacts documenting the student life of Richard J. Coffee, 1934-1939.   Also included are items from his professional life after graduation.
Dates: 1934 - 1953; Majority of material found within 1934 - 1939