Note: Maj. Jesse5, Capt. John4, Daniel3, Timothy2, Timothy1) was born February 23, 1928, in Pensacola, FL. A graduate of Marion Military Institute, Marion, AL, he attended the University of Florida and afterward went into the building business. An avid hunter and fisherman, he was president of Pensacola Hardware Company. A dedicated family man, he was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church Pensacola, and the Pensacola Rotary Club. Socially active, he and his wife had a wide circle of friends and entertained often in their waterfront home in Gulf Breeze, where they lived on Fairpoint Drive.
For nearly forty years, a familiar booming voice and a hearty laugh welcomed countless customers to Pensacola Hardware when they strolled in the door of the downtown retailer. "Come on in, let's see what you need," was Jim Coe's familiar greeting. If someone happened to have a maintenance problem at their home or business after hours or over a weekend and was lucky enough to catch Jim not in the woods or out in his boat, he'd usually reply, "Meet me at the store and we'll see what we can do...." His gregarious personality and genuine enjoyment of people made him a natural in the business, and under his direction, the historic Pensacola enterprise flourished. One of his favorite expressions when he invited new acquaintances or out-of-towners to visit Pensacola was, "Come on down and we'll open a keg of nails!"
One of Pensacola's most entertaining personalities and enthusiastic community advocates, he died Friday, February 26, 2010. He was 82. His wife of 55 years, Ellen Martin Coe, predeceased him by one month. Together, they were a love match that united several prominent families who pioneered and helped develop northwest Florida. As a couple, they infused the lives of those around them with good humor, fun, love, encouragement and a sense of purpose.
Jim was the son of John Moreno Coe and Evalyn Shipley Coe. Called "Mansfield" throughout his life by his family, he was the fourth of five brothers and sisters. Growing up in East Hill, he attended MacReynolds Elementary, Clubbs Junior High and Pensacola High School, before entering Marion Military Institute, and the University of Florida. He served two years in the United States Army from 1949 to 1951, achieved the rank of sergeant and was honorably discharged.
A practical and resourceful person with a natural creative bent, he worked with his uncle, William Cecil Coe, to develop residential homes in Gulf Breeze. Later, he joined Soule Construction Company and oversaw the building of concrete and wooden bridges across the Florida panhandle, managing work crews with a combination of humor and hard work that won him respect, friends, and numerous anecdotes.
On June 25, 1954, he married Ellen Roberts Martin, born May 9, 1931, in Pensacola, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gordon Martin, Sr. Jim and Ellen shared a lifelong love of the people, places, history and environs of this area, and they were wonderful parents of four children: Ellen Adair, James, Jr., Martin, and Angela.
In 1963, his father-in-law, R.G. Martin, Sr., invited Jim to join Pensacola Hardware Company. He dedicated his life's work to the company, becoming president in 1976, and expanding the company's business lines, customers and reputation throughout the region until his retirement in June 2001.
Through his business leadership and career, Jim directed charitable assistance and giving that touched many lives and enriched the Pensacola community. School children, homeless individuals, families who were disadvantaged, and a host of other recipients throughout the area benefited from his kindness and support. He was a member of the Downtown Rotary Club and was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow.
As a Pensacola booster, Jim was involved with the Fiesta of Five Flags, local Mardi Gras organizations, the Pensacola Heritage Foundation, and he proudly championed the economic development of downtown Pensacola. He served on the board of directors of the Citizens & Peoples National Bank and on numerous committees of the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board.
A life member of First Presbyterian Church, Jim was an elder and served in numerous capacities. He actively aided and supported the efforts of the church to expand its downtown ministry, located across the street from Pensacola Hardware Company.
Jim Coe was an avid outdoorsman, and the natural beauty and abundance of wildlife in northwest Florida was integral to his life. His lifelong passions were hunting and fishing, and he was a charter member of the Hit-N-Miss Hunting Club. His family, friends and acquaintances enjoyed the bounty of his skill as a hunter and luck as a fisherman. He took particular enjoyment from the many friendships, experiences and adventures that Hit-N-Miss fostered.
An upbeat personality, integrity, forthrightness, love of God, country and family, and his zest for life were the ingredients that gave James M. Coe distinction.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Moreno Coe; his sister, Ruth Coe Romberg and brother, Charles Shipley Coe.
He is survived by four children: Ellen Adair Wyche (Henry) of Atlanta, James Mansfield Coe, Jr. (Sally), Martin Moreno Coe (Toni), and Angela Coe Sherrill, all of Pensacola; eight grandchildren: Bess, Hank and Gordon Wyche, Mansfield and Eleanor Coe, and Charlie, Amelia and Hugh Sherrill, and one great-grandchild, Jackson Thomas Sherrill. He is also survived by his sister, Evalyn Coe Grubbs, and his brother, Dr. Henry Wickline Coe, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews from both Coe and Martin families.
Longtime caregiver Lois Samuels and sisters, Denise Menninger and Leanne Laszko, were wonderful support during his later years.
A service in celebration of his life was held on Thursday, March 4, 2010, at First Presbyterian Church of Pensacola. A reception followed. Pensacola Hardware Company was closed in his honor.
Burial was at First Presbyterian Church Columbarium, Pensacola.
Note: JAMES MANSFIELD9 COE (John Moreno8, John McClay7, Dr. William Cecil6,
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