Rev. Marvin E. Coffey
Feb. 3, 1935-July 21, 2007
Rev. Marvin E. Coffey, 72, of Aurora died Saturday, July 21, 2007, at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha after a diagnosis of acute leukemia.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, July 24, 2007 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Higby Funeral Home in Aurora. Visitation with family from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Funeral Services will be at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25th at the United Methodist Church in Aurora, with internment following at the Phillips cemetery. The Rev. Merwin Davidson will officiate with Rev. Richard Karohl assisting. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through the mortuary website at www.higbymortuary.com.
Marvin was born Feb. 3, 1935, at a farm outside of Phillips where he grew up. As a child he developed a love for the farm and for baseball (he played Little League Baseball and at the age of 10 also became a score keeper for the adult leagues), two interests he maintained throughout his live. He graduated from Phillips H.S. in 1952 and from the University of Nebraska in 1956, where he graduated with honors with a degree in agronomy and was a member of the Farm House fraternity. After graduation Marvin signed up as a short-term missionary to Espirito Santo, Brazil, where he served at an agricultural and vocational school and met his future wife, school teacher Dalva Mozzer. In 1959, after marrying Dalva on August 1st in Brazil, he returned to the U.S. with his new bride. The newlyweds initially stayed with Marvin's parents at the farm to assist his dad, who had suffered a heart attack, and give his younger brother Keith a chance to complete his agricultural degree at UNL. At this time Marvin started his first preaching assignment at the Inland Methodist Church as he felt God was calling him to continue his mission to the church as a minister.
In 1960 Marvin started his seminary course at the St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo., and also served the Montrose, Lorry City, and Thays Chappel churches outside of Kansas City. He graduated in 1962 and returned to Nebraska to serve his first appointment in Bladen and New Virginia. He was ordained a Deacon of the Nebraska Conference United Methodist Church in 1962 and an Elder in 1964. In 1965 Marvin, Dalva and three children returned to Brazil to work in the mission field under the Brazilian Methodist Church. They were sent to Mato Grosso, a frontier state in southwestern Brazil, to work on the "Pilot Plan" which was a community development plan sponsored by the Brazilian and Canadian Methodist churches involved in starting schools, hospitals and churches. While serving as minister of the Methodist Church in Fatima do Sul, Marvin wrote the statutes of the first community hospital in the city of Fatima to Sul and was its first president, responsible for finding doctors, equipment, and other necessities for the hospital. In 1968 Marvin and Dalva, with the assistance of the local mayor Samir Chaffic Garib, built a junior high school in the 3-year old village of Culturama where he and Dalva served for 16 years. The school started with 41 students and by the time Marvin left to serve as minister of the church in Campo Grande, the capital of the newly founded state of Mato Grosso to Sul, had become a full-fledged K-12 school with over 1200 students. Marvin and Dalva's life's service in Brazil was recognized and honored in 2005 by the governor of the state of Mato Grosso to Sul in a special ceremony in the state legislature making them Honorary Citizens of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul.
In 1982 Marvin and Dalva moved back to the States as their children were going to school here. He served many churches throughout Nebraska and also in Missouri and Kansas. Churches he served include Montrose, Lorry City, and Thays Chappel, MO; Inland, Bladen, Oxford, Trumbull, Loup Cooperative Parish, Randolph/Winside, Palisade/Wauneta, and Harvard, NE, where he retired. However, it was difficult for Marvin to stay retired as he had a love for God's service and His people. He returned to server as minister in the Wilsey/Dwight churches in Kansas and was serving in the Paulene and Coweles churches in Nebraska when called to meet his Lord. Marvin's love for his mission in Brazil never faded as the churches he served in Nebraska can attest -- all of them became very involved in his continuing Brazil mission projects with contributions, love and prayers. A school for underprivileged children (Jardin das Reginas) and a youth camp in Campo Grande are examples of their joint efforts and love for the mission to serve in God's name.
Besides his life's devotion to God and His work wherever he went, Marvin was also endlessly devoted to his family. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, son and brother to those closest to him. He will be dearly missed. He loved people and enjoyed life to the fullest.
Survivors of the immediate family include his wife, Dalva; daughter Roseanna Torres and spouse Duda of Lins, Brazil; daughter Sharol Bohl and spouse Larry of Poulsbo, Wash.; son Dwight Coffey and spouse Leah of Richardson, Texas; son Roger Coffey and spouse Jodie of Green Bay, Wis.; sister Doris Wiens and brother-in-law Marv of Lincoln, and sister-in-law Darlene Otto of Hastings.
Marvin and Dalva have 10 grand children and 3 step-grand children, Jeffrey, Stephen and Kevin Bolis of Brazil; Glauber, Joleine and Lauane Torres of Brazil; Bryana Bohl of Washington; Danielle, Nathan and Evan Coffey of Texas; and Ericka, Justin and Gabrielle Coffey of Wisconsin;
Marvin was preceded in death by brother Keith Coffey, parents George and Twila Coffey, son Giovanni Coffey and granddaughter Sarah Coffey.