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Dr. Jerry A. Coffey
Jerry Alan Coffey, PhD, 77, of Webster and Biltmore Lake, NC passed away peacefully at Haywood Medical Center on Saturday, January 15, 2022. Jerry was born on June 4, 1944, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was preceded in death by his parents Oscar and Katie Coffey, and his wife of 54 years, Laura Lee Denton.
Jerry is survived by his family, whom he deeply loved; his daughter Jennifer Coffey Frady of Webster, her husband Jason Frady; his son William Coffey of Sylva, his wife Shelly Coffey; his grandchildren Jase, Gracie, Gavin, and Gable Frady; his brother Larry Coffey of Winston-Salem, his wife Snezana Coffey, and their son Nick Coffey; and those special to him that he cherished as his own, special daughter Chimene Mathis, her husband Chas Mathis, and grandson Colton Mathis. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, as well as many dear neighborhood friends, lifelong friends, and professional colleagues.
Jerry obtained his undergraduate degree in psychology from Hanover College and then earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees from Indiana State University. He began his career as a Professor of Psychology at Wester Carolina University in the early 1970’s before opening his private practice with wife Laura in 1984. Jerry was instrumental in bringing psychological services to the seven western counties in North Carolina as a founder of the Western North Carolina Mental Health System. Along with his wife, Jerry maintained Sylva Clinical Psychology right up to his passing, providing psychological services to countless patients throughout the communities of WNC.
In addition to his professional career, Jerry found happiness hiking, camping, and attending concerts. In addition, he held a deep love for auto racing that began as a young boy, led to a brief, amateur racing career, the founding of the Spirit of the Smokies Car Show and Auto-Cross, and was punctuated with his family’s yearly pilgrimage to the Indianapolis 500. Jerry held a strong conviction that experiences were more important than gifts. Therefore, most everyone that was close with him was able to share in these experiences.
Jerry was passionate about his focus in psychology: caring for children. His work in the WNC school districts along with the families he saw privately established the credo that he lived his life by: It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
A service will be held on Friday, January 21st at 2:00 P.M at Appalachian Funeral Home; visitation with the family will proceed the service and will begin at 1:00 P.M.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made in his honor to the animal rescue of your choice.
I was a fellow psychology student with Jerry and Laura at Hanover College in the late 1960s. And I had the distinct pleasure of working with Jerry at the Englishton Park camping program for emotionally disturbed boys during the summer months. Jerry was then a person with a deep concern for others, and how wonderful to learn of his continued devotion to helping others in need.
Dr. Robert W Bowman Jr May 3 2022 5:37 PM
DR. Coffey You were one of the best in your field. Thank-You for being there for my Grandson. Rest in Peace
robin C falco Jan 24 2022 6:15 AM
I remember the day that Jerry and Laura came to Cullowhee for Jerry to interview for a job at WCU in the psychology department with my father. I sat with Jerry on the way from the airport in the backseat of my Dad's station wagon (the minivan of the 70's). I leaned over and whispered to Jerry, "You don't want to move here because this place is boring." Jerry said he knew if he was offered the job, they would spend the rest of their lives in WNC. RIP Jerry and Laura.❤️
Julie McDowell Townsend Jan 22 2022 1:36 PM
I really enjoyed meeting and knowing Jerry. He was a member of our local Car Guys group. A great guy, a good man, and I'm going to miss him.
Tom Aardema Jan 22 2022 10:40 AM
Darn. So very sad. RIP. My wife,DENISSA, remembers being One of their first students at WCU.
David Schulman Jan 22 2022 9:23 AM
I have known Jerry since he was at WCU. I came to better understand the importance and significance of his work after I became a therapist. I spoke with him from time to time and always enjoyed our conversations. Sincere condolences to the family with respect to the great loss of both your mother and father. They were well respected in all parts of the community. Rev. John Reid
John Reid Jan 22 2022 12:36 AM
My deepest sympathy to Will and Jennifer and their families for the loss of both of their parents in such a short period of time. Your parents made a tremendous impact on mental health services in WNC that will be a lasting legacy. May you find comfort in your memories.
Karen Lunnen Jan 21 2022 9:29 PM
A candle was lit in memory of Dr. Jerry Coffey
Faye and Mike Deitz Jan 21 2022 2:14 PM
Dr. Coffey and Laura were good neighbors when they lived in Webster. Jennifer and Will and families, you have my sympathiy. Love and Prayers, Elizabeth Stillwell
Elizabeth Stillwell Jan 21 2022 1:10 PM
I am blessed and honored to have known Jerry and Laura for over 40 years. Jerry was a great example of a great man, husband, father and grandfather. He enjoyed life to the fullest. The Friday group tastebuds, is where we all enjoyed his presence and personality. I never heard him speak and unkind word about anyone. He was always so upbeat and kind. He will be missed by all of us who knew him. Jerry, you and Laura enjoy eternity together.
Bob Lawrence Jan 21 2022 10:21 AM