Obituary Listings

Laura P. Coffman

March 4, 1924 December 17, 2019
Laura P. Coffman
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Obituary for Laura P. Coffman

Laura Plumlee Coffman passed quietly on Tuesday, December 17, into the great mystery. If there is a self-awareness she carried into it, her family hopes she found it another "butterfly moment," as she named them and wrote books about: Sudden unbidden moments of wonder and joy the universe/God offers as reminders of the goodness, life, and love she understood life was intended to be.
Born March 4, 1924, Laura was seventh of nine surviving babies of farmers Elizabeth and Harvey Plumlee of Manhattan, Montana, and next youngest of two born after her father survived being shot in the back by a hired man. After losing the farm to the 1930s' drought and depression, Harvey found work in Bozeman, where Laura began school. She and all her siblings excelled in school; Laura especially loved science and music. All eventually graduated from Montana State College (MSU), even after serving in various capacities in WWII.
While working at an armory as a drafting technician in Rock Island, Illinois, Laura and coworker Wayne Coffman met and fell in love. Wayne soon joined the Navy and was assigned as a weatherman to Point Barrow, Alaska, and Laura returned to school. They were married in Bozeman, March 25, 1945, shortly before the war's end. After the war Wayne de-enlisted and they both entered college, living with Laura's parents until graduation. During that time, daughter Karen and son Gary were born. Wayne was disappointed by the unavailability of architectural jobs (his degree), but did receive US Weather Service employment. He was assigned to Butte, where youngest son Carl was born, and then to Billings where Laura obtained a teaching certificate and taught science and French. They remained in Billings throughout their careers and their children's school years.
After retirement and several trips abroad they adventurously left many friends to seek warmer climes. In Green Valley, Arizona they found new beloved community at the Presbyterian Church. Their life in Green Valley became a period of spiritual deepening for both of them and Laura began writing as part of their adult spiritual growth classes. They remained both politically centrist and progressive in their faith. Laura's writings gained an audience, being passed friend to friend, so her pastor encouraged her to write them into the book she edited into her first of three books, "Butterfly Moments."
After their years in Green Valley, Wayne and Laura felt age creeping up on them and decided to move closer to family. Once again they left friends and moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, near son Gary and family. And once again Laura and Wayne found community at the Presbyterian Church, and Laura found fans of her book that encouraged her to write another.
Soon, Wayne began to decline in health and after many struggles died on their 64th anniversary, March 25, 2009. After losing Wayne, Laura maintained an independent life until 2017, when she moved to the Village at Orchard Ridge. It was a wonderful new home to her, but the move was difficult and she found life's changes more and more difficult to adjust to. There, after saying goodbye to each of her last three siblings, she prepared herself for her own withdrawal from life. Though death eluded her longer than she hoped, Laura never lost her loving spirit and appreciation of the butterfly moments she still watched for.
Laura is survived by children Karen Loos (Joe), Gary Coffman (Becky), Carl Coffman (Cheryl Sterns); grandchildren Talia Loos (Alyx Kesselring, Nada Djordjevic), Elizabeth Loos (David Jolley), Jeremy Steffman (Merissa Watkins), Kenneth Caswell-Steffman (Vera Hawley), Camber Coffman (Doug Bonesteel); and great-grandchildren Dexter and Silas Bonesteel.

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Memorial Service




11:00 AM 1/24/2020 11:00:00 AM
First Presbyterian Church

521 Lakeside Avenue
Couer d'Alene, ID 83814

First Presbyterian Church
521 Lakeside Avenue Couer d'Alene 83814 ID
United States

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