J. Russell Coffey was one-year-old at the turn of the century in the year 1900. Although he saw little action in the conflict, he is being remembered this week at his passing as the oldest veteran of World War I.
But as he once confided to his daughter, he would have preferred to be remembered more for other aspects of his life rather than his age. "Even a prune can get old," he reportedly said.
Coffey was an educator who taught in high school and college. He may have first gotten his interest in teaching when he was a young man delivering newspapers. He often read the paper to immigrants whom he delivered to. For more about the life of J. Russell Coffey see this AP article.
You may remember my earlier discussion of DNA and the Cowhey connection to the Coffey/Coffee/Ó Cobhthaigh family. More than likely, J. Russell Coffey is probably a very distant cousin of our branch of the Cowhey family. Jack Coffey at the Coffee/Coffey call weblog described J. Russell Coffey's family history here.
According to Betty Jo Larsen, J. Russell Coffey's daughter, her father had a wonderful memory and way very independent, even driving a car up until age 104 and living alone until age 105.
Let's hope our Cowhey side of the family shares the same genes.