- Eleanore Smith Coffey died Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, after a long illness. She was born May 17, 1918 to Cecil and Pearle Smith, who owned a farm near Freemont, IA. She graduated from Freemont High School in 1936 and entered nurses' training the following fall. After an automobile accident that kept her bed-ridden for eight months, she enrolled at Iowa State University and graduated in 1942. While serving as a dietician at the Naval Preflight School at Iowa City, she met Dr. James Coffey. They were married June 18, 1944.
In 1955, Eleanore, her husband, and three children moved to Emmetsburg. Over the next 50 years, she was very active in community and civic affairs, donating her services as a dietician to the Palo Alto County Hospital and serving on the City Parks Board, the Emmetsburg Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Emmetsburg Community Development Council. She helped organize Meals on Wheels and was a devoted member of Trinity Episcopal Church and served on its Bishops' Committee and Altar Guild. Eleanore was also active in A.A.U.W and Friday Club. She was a lifelong member of Alpha Delta Phi sorority.
In 1956, Eleanore became active in Democratic Party politics. She played a prominent role in re-vitalizing the Democratic Party organization in Palo Alto County and was a delegate to the 1960 Democratic National Convention, where John F. Kennedy was nominated to run for the presidency. From 1964-70, she served on the Iowa State Democratic Central Committee.
Beyond these many civic engagements, Eleanore was first and foremost a devoted wife, mother, and homemaker. She was a loving companion and partner in Dr. Coffey's many civic projects. She created a loving atmosphere in the home and entered into the lives of her children and grandchildren. She served as a babysitter for grand children in Moscow and as a surrogate parent for a grand daughter at boarding school. She opened her home to five foreign exchange students and many other guests. She was an avid bird-watcher, ecologist, and Bridge player. At a time when other faculties were in decline, she managed to make a grand-slam in Bridge.
Eleanore was preceded in death by Dr. James Coffey (2007), her daughter Margaret (2013) and her two sisters, Pauline and Margaret. She is survived by her two sons, Steven (Nancy) of Sterling, VA, and John (Janet) of Faribault, MN; her brother, Dr. Sydney Smith of Oskaloosa; five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.