Kathlyn L. Coffman

Kathlyn Eva (Larson) Coffman was born December 15, 1931 to Carl R. and Hazel (Kamping) Larson near Cabool, Missouri. She left this life suddenly on August 6, 2008 at her home near Cabool at age 76.

Kathlyn was raised on a local dairy farm. She attended Cabool Schools and was helping to plan the 60th reunion of the 49’ers class at the time of her death. She attended McPherson College where she met and married Eldon Coffman on August 10, 1952.

Following graduation Kathlyn and Eldon began two years of Brethren Volunteer Service at the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. At the end of that time, Eldon was offered a religious education position with the National Council of Churches and Kathlyn began a teaching position with the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the school. Over a period of 25 years she taught home economics and English, including everything from basic cooking and apartment living to health occupations and drama. She started a theatre program for the Navajo students and was also a co-founder of the Heritage Community Theatre in Brigham City. During this time she completed a master’s degree in early childhood development at Utah State and a PhD in education administration at the University of Utah. And she was the first woman in the district to run for school board. Kathlyn and Eldon raised three children, Hazel Ruth, Carol Anne and David Kee, during their years in Utah.

She retired from the BIA in 1982 and moved back to the home farm near Cabool to enjoy rural life and begin work on her vision of a milking barn turned theatre and art school. She had a lifelong love of the arts and letters and enjoyed writing the Shady Grove news, directing two dinner theatre productions at Shady Grove schoolhouse, and acting roles on the Star Theatre stage in Willow Springs. She was an avid watercolor artist and a frequent visitor at Springfield Art Museum. During a five-year interlude in Iowa (1991-1996) she helped found the Keokuk County Arts Council and directed a play, “Dog Gone,” that went to the state fair as part of a state heritage emphasis.

Kathlyn leaves behind her husband of 55 years, Eldon; daughters Hazel and husband Elliott Lips of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Carol and husband Brian Mollhagen of Cabool; and son David and wife Daphna of Vallejo, California; five grandchildren, Noelle, Ariel, Kathlyn Rose, Jennavive, and Shawn; and a host of friends (and a barn full of good “stuff”).

Brothers Carl Jr. and Stephen Larson preceded her in death.

A memorial celebration took place Wednesday, August 13, 2008, at the Cabool Church of the Brethren. Her cremains will be interred in Pleasant Grove Cemetery.

Any memorial funds will go to the restoration of the Shady Grove school or Cabool Church of the Brethren.

Leave a Comment