James Ely Coffey

1955 – 2022

James Ely Coffey, 66, was born Sept. 26, 1955, in Kansas City, Kan., to Betty Jane (Douglas) Coffey and Junior Lee Coffey. James passed away on April 2, 2022, at KU Medical Center.


James attended several schools in the Kansas City area and graduated from DeSoto High School in 1968. He moved with his parents to the West Drexel area in 1972.


James was formerly married to Melanie (Smotherman) Coffey. In January 1977, the couple lost their first daughter at birth. They named her Angel Marie. They welcomed another daughter, Catherine (Katie) Renee, on March 13, 1982. Katie was the light of James’ life, and he was very proud of her. James and Melanie dissolved their marriage in 1994, but the two remained friends until she passed away in 2016.


James was raised helping his dad with a scrap metal business and doing farm work around their home. He was a very hard worker. Through the 1980s and early 1990s, James was employed at the J.C. Penny warehouse in Lenexa. Over the years, he also worked in a variety of restaurants and in the construction industry. He cut and sold wood for many years. Later, he worked alongside his brother, Michael, hauling scrap metal.


James was an avid hunter, trapper, and fisherman. He was known for his stories about all the deer he shot that got away. He enjoyed hunting and trapping with his buddies and cousins. He also enjoyed fishing on the Marais de Cygne River and going to Roaring River State Park in southern Missouri to fish for trout. He was very knowledgeable about local wildlife and game animals, and if there was something he didn’t know, he would make something up.


In his later years, James enjoyed fishing, spending time with family, telling stories, and racing his great-niece, Mattie, to the local Dollar General, he on his electric wheelchair and she on her tricycle. He has always been willing to step in and help whenever someone needed something. James loved puppies and kittens but would never admit it.


James spent most of his time with his older brother, Mike, going to pawn shops looking at guns and knives, fishing, visiting with friends near and far, and generously helping those who needed it. They enjoyed going to garage sales and finding a good deal. The two were inseparable. You didn’t see one without the other.


James is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, daughters Angel and Katie, and a sister, Nettie Burk.


James is survived by a sister, Ellen Madrid of Louisburg, Kan.; brother, Michael Coffey of the home; brothers John (Carol) Coffey and Eddie (Margaret) Coffey; both of Louisburg; several nieces; nephews; great-nieces and great-nephews; and one great-great nephew and three great-great nieces.


Celebration of Life will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 9, 2022, at the Schneider Funeral Home and Crematory, Pleasanton Chapel. Dinner will follow at Bunker Hill Community Center at 603 Main St., Mound City, Kansas.


In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the James Coffey Memorial to help defray funeral expenses and may be mailed to Schneider Funeral Home P.O. Box 525 Pleasanton, KS 66075. For more information, go to www.schneiderfunerals.com.

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