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Orrin Junior Coffinger, beloved husband, father, grandpa, neighbor, friend, and mechanic, 95, of Paw Paw, passed away peacefully at White Oaks on November 10, 2023 with family by his side, after two difficult years with Dementia.
He was born (at home) east of Bangor, MI, the son of Walter and Leona (Norton) Coffinger, the third child of six. The family moved to 40th Ave. in SE Arlington township when he was young, and he lived on that gravel road in Lawrence most of his life.
Orrin grew up on a mixed farm with dairy cattle, hogs, chickens, rabbits, grain fields and orchards, and had to leave school in 8th grade to work on the farm full-time. At one time he and his father farmed an entire Section (640 acres). He learned to drive at 8 and got his license at 13, driving semi-loads of apples into Chicago at that age. As a youth he enjoyed playing baseball and hunting. On July 5, 1947 he married the love of his life, Edna Weland, but they didn’t have a honeymoon because Orrin had to put up hay. Their two boys Ron and Randy followed in ’48 and ’50; the family didn’t have indoor plumbing until 1952, bathing in a ‘warshtub’ with water heated on the woodstove.
As the boys grew, farming wasn’t enough, so in 1955 he went to work full-time for Harvey Ford in Paw Paw during the day, and farmed early mornings and evenings. He was a master mechanic who could fix anything, and his garage was where the whole neighborhood brought its vehicles, tractors, mowers, and small engines for repair. A man of few words, Orrin was honest, frugal, dependable, and kind, with a great sense of humor and a stubborn streak. Hard work was a way of life, he was staunch and strong as an ox-he could pick up 4 bushel boxes of apples (~220 lbs.) and “walk away with them,” and had the thick hands to prove it.
He enjoyed deer hunting in the U.P., camping and salmon fishing trips up north with the Coulsons and Harveys at Platte Bay, snowmobiling, stays with friends Sherm and Helen in Maine, and took the trip of a lifetime in the motorhome with Edna in 1992 when they drove to Alaska and back, enjoying the beautiful mountain scenery and wildlife. He always grew a big garden, caught a lot of fish, cut a lot of wood, took pride in his yard, and enjoyed spending time around the firepit with the Beechings and other neighbors.
Orrin was a country boy who liked Gene Autry, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patty Page, Don Williams, Western shows, sports, and Hee Haw. He and Edna both stayed active and sharp into their 90s. He was a picky eater but his favorite meal was meat-and-potatoes with veggies from the garden, and Edna always had a homemade cake or pie around. A child of the Depression, his advice to all was to spend less and save more!
He is survived by his two sons, Ronald (Bonnie) Coffinger and Randy (Ronda) Coffinger, four grandchildren, Brad (Susan) Coffinger, Chris (Kristina) Coffinger, PJ (Maki) Chmiel, and Amy Beam, and great-grandchildren Caitlin (Bill) Heckart, Ali Coffinger, Paityn and Kaidence Beam and Landen Doneruse. He was preceded in death by his wife Edna after 75 years together, and his siblings Harlan (Evelyn) Coffinger, Wilma Grinage, Jean Gardner, Sue Dietz, Margy Conway and grandson, Eric Beam.
The family is deeply grateful to the staff at White Oaks Assisted Living for the excellent and compassionate care they gave Orrin in the last 2 years of his life; always going above and beyond even during his most trying times.
Services will be held at Adams Funeral Home, 502 West Michigan Ave., Paw Paw, on Monday November 20, 2023, with visitation from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., a service will begin at 1:00 p.m., burial at Hill Cemetery in Lawrence to follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Centrica Care Navigators (Hospice). A biographical interview with Orrin will be posted online here: https://soundcloud.com/orrincoffinger
Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo MI 49009