SHOREHAM - Peter James Coe, age 43, died Dec. 27, 2009, helping a stranger by the side of icy Richville Dam Road. The story was reported on the front page of last week's Addison Eagle. Where he saw a need, Peter Coe always helped.
Coe grew up in Bethesda, Md., where he graduated from Walt Whitman High School, while playing on their golf team. He turned down a golf scholarship to travel to California. He came back to the East coast and attended Lynchburg College and St. Mary's College. Shortly after returning to Bethesda, he met his future wife Valerie. They were married in 1990. Genevieve was born in that year and Nicholas was born in 1997.
He was most dedicated to his family's happiness.
He chose Vermont as his home after 36 years of living in the Washington, D.C. area, because it reflected his values of family, work and community. He was evenly excellent as a father, husband, son and friend. He always spoke of how much he loved the Vermont environment and lifestyle, where he could put in a full day of work and drive to see his son's baseball game without being stuck in traffic. The people of Shoreham, Vermont embraced him as much as he embraced them. His children were the pride of his existence and his wife was the live of his life.
As one of his multitudes of friends wrote, Peter Coe was an "upper". His innate happiness, humor and love of life filled every situation including his home life, work and friendships. Whether it was golfing, fishing, hunting or just hanging out, he just loved being with people. He made any situation better, from bad to good or good to great. He could make anyone laugh in any circumstance. Coe had the work ethic of a farmer, the intellect of a scientist and the heart of a social worker. He didn't sit still for too long. If he wasn't helping someone either as a friend or volunteer fire fighter, he could be found tinkering with his motorcycle or building something with his son or daughter. Peter Coe found an old side car that fit his motorcycle so he could take his son to school in royal fashion. He loved his job as a public housing manager, particularly when he could help people that were helping themselves.
Coe is survived by his loving wife, Valerie, daughter Genevieve, son Nicholas, parents Bebe and Chuck, siblings Chuck, Jr, Ginny, Chris, Rick, John and Mary and a host of friends.
A memorial service to mark the passing and to celebrate his life was held Dec. 31 at the Shoreham Congregational Church. The Rev. Gary O'Gorman officiated. Many family and friends shared in the service.
Special music was provided by Mark Christensen and Deb Teir. The honor and color guards were provided by members of the Shoreham Fire Department and First Response Squad.
A large contingent of firefighters from Shoreham, Whiting, Middlebury, Orwell, Brandon and Ferrisburgh fire departments served as honorary bearers.
Tom Esty, President of The Addison County Firefighters Association and Bob Jenkins, past president performed a final alarm bell ceremony during the recessional.
Following the ceremony the family received friends at the Shoreham Fire Station for a time of fellowship and remembrance.
Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be made, in him memory, to the Peter Coe Memorial Fund, for the benefit of his children, in care of Mark Young, First National Bank of Orwell, P.O. Box 38, Orwell 05760.
Arrangements were made under the direction of the Miller and Ketcham Funeral Home in Brandon.