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Walter Coffer

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Walter Coffer Obituary
Walter W. Coffer Jr. was born on October 11, 1926 at the home of his maternal grandmother in Aquilla, Texas. When he was very young, his father worked as a lineman building an electrical line between Waco and Dallas. One day when his father was working at the top of an electrical pole, a truck ran into the pole and knocked his father to the ground. His father was seriously injured and unable to walk for a number of years. When his father was able to sit on a horse, the Coffer family moved to a ranch outside of Menard. When he was the age of a primary school student, Walter served as his father's legs as his father performed his duties to his employer, often performing the same services as the grown men working at the ranch, but always under the loving guidance of his father. In high school, Walter was a star football player for Milby; his mother made a scrap book of newspaper articles chronicling his successes. He went to Rice University on a full football scholarship, played in Rice's 1947 appearance in the Orange Bowl and majored in electrical engineering. His education was interrupted while he served in the Pacific in World War II as an engineer on a U.S. Navy ship and on the PT boats that depended on the ship. After he returned from his Naval service and graduated from Rice, he went to work for Houston Lighting and Power Company. Having gained valuable experience at HL&P, he started his own electrical contracting company, Texas Electric Construction Company, building electrical generation and transmission facilities in Texas and Louisiana. Beginning in the mid 1970s, he worked for several international contractors on large electrical generation and transmission projects in countries including Guatemala, South Africa and Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he worked on the construction of what was at the time the longest electrical line in the world. He counted getting to know people in the foreign countries in which he lived and worked as one of the blessings of his life, and certainly he was a blessing to their lives. In quintessential Walter Coffer fashion, he generously paid for medical care and other needs of the people around him and performed countless acts of kindness which improved their lives significantly and endeared him to them. In the 1980s, he taught electrical engineering at the University of Houston where he was coauthor of an electrical engineering text book which is still used in a number of countries. His last full time employment was for Enron, from which he retired in 2001. He continued to work as a consultant for a number of businesses after that.
Walter is survived by his wife, Syble Coffer, who resides in Conroe, 11 children and step children, daughters- and sons-in-law, and 23 grandchildren. Two of his children predeceased him. Walter left this world on May 17, 2012, at the age of 85, to live with his beloved Maker. Several times during his life, Walter found himself in a war zone facing grave danger. He always trusted God and was deeply grateful for God's protection and blessings.
Walter's family and friends will miss him very much, but will continue to rejoice in his remarkable life. He lived his life consistently with his values. His life was characterized by his integrity, his love for God and his fellow man which fostered countless acts of kindness and generosity, appreciation for other people for who they are, his formidable work ethic, and his gratitude for the blessings of his life.
Family and friends are invited to a memorial service to celebrate the life of Walter Coffer on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. at the Conroe Church of Christ, 1860 Longmire Road, Conroe, Texas 77304. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Conroe Church of Christ.

Published in Houston Chronicle on May 20, 2012
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