With his sly humor intact, Oliver “Ollie” Ernest Coffin, previously of Edgartown, left his post at the Six Lakes golf course in Florida on Friday, July 23, 2016. He was 85.
Ollie was born in Orleans to Hetty Roxane and Ralph Alaric Coffin on October 1, 1930, and was immediately recognized as their favorite child.
Ollie played shortstop, centerfield, and occasional relief pitcher for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape League, and while Terry Malloy once said he “could’a been a contender,” Ollie chose instead to serve his country in Korea. His field promotion to Sergeant 1st Class when the 1st Cavalry 5th Regiment landed in Pyongyang has been celebrated with a sigh of relief from his subsequent offspring.
Ollie was a manager at Com Electric on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, where he maintained the storytelling traditions of his mother, successfully distracting customers from electricity. He was an inveterate family man, always announcing his arrival home immediately after work with a whistle appreciated by all couples getting married on a two-seated bicycle within a quarter-mile radius.
Clamming was a passion for Ollie. His love of Cape Cod shellfish was apparent in the size of his knuckles when he carried in the handful of quahogs that survived his shucking of the entire bushel. He possessed the ideal blend of “skill and luck” for the social game of cribbage, at which he excelled, possibly by always claiming he was losing. Hearts, pinochle, bid whist, or bridge brought the same bluff, maintained paradoxically through his many victories. He “never won” quite a bit of money at bingo, and he golfed vicariously right up to the end, sitting on his patio rating others on a scale of 1 to 10 at Six Lakes Park (nobody ever got a 10).
Ollie waited 74 years for the Red Sox to win the pennant. His surviving family will be filing suit with the Red Sox for the 2004 and subsequent victories, without which Ollie could not have moved on with a life fulfilled.
Ollie stepped out with just months to spare before his 50th wedding anniversary with surviving wife, life partner, and “straight man” of the Edgartown Dube clan, Joan Dube Coffin. He is also survived by nearly his entire brood, seeding all corners of the United States, including Cindy Carlton of Maryland, Rebecca Locklear and husband Chip of Oregon, Barry Coffin of Florida, Joel Coffin and wife Mary of Massachusetts, Veronica Clark and husband Dave of Texas, and Phillip Coffin and wife Lara of California; as well as 10 grandchildren. He is predeceased by his infant son David Tristram and his son-in-law Dale Carlton.
Services for Ollie will be held at the First Christian Church in North Fort Myers, Fla., on Saturday, August 6, at 2 pm. Some of the other thousands of people Ollie has touched with his smiles, jokes, and stories will be welcome to celebrate his life back on Cape Cod sometime this autumn.