Joe Cofran, aged 85 years, passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 26, 2017, at the Sunrise of Leawood facility in Leawood, KS.
Joe was born in Topeka, KS, in 1932, to the late Roswell L. and Marie Cofran, Jr., named Robert Joseph, and was raised in this community along with his late older twin brothers, Roswell L. Cofran III and Rodney H. Cofran.
He lived and worked the majority of his adult life in Topeka. Other home bases included:
• Summers of youth often spent at the Cofran family cabin on Big Spirit Lake, IA, where a lifelong passion for almost all things on and in the water developed
• Both Boston, MA, and San Diego, CA, while serving in the US Coast Guard
• He loved the Boston community (including a passion for the Celtics and actually playing in AAU and service team level-undercard games on the old Boston Garden parquet), BUT noticeably shivered at the memories of “watch duty” in the often frigid and brutal North Atlantic
• Tulsa, OK, while living out his lifelong “gearhead” passions in working with the well-known Creitz drag racing team and driving a Class C gas dragster for them (and proudly keeping a photo of it in his office for many years and occasionally wearing a “ratty-looking” but cherished jacket with words that included “100 MPH Club”
• In retirement, Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico, and Sahuarita, Arizona before returning to Kansas City in October 2016 in order to be close to family providing much-welcomed health care support
• In Manzanillo, passions for golf and being close to/on the water were indulged (including living a golf cart ride away from the first tee)
• In Sahuarita, his passion for golf continued to be indulged (again, a golf cart ride away from the first tee.
His passion for being on/in the water included boating (both under sail and power), “wrenching” on a championship-level powerboat racing team, swimming, fishing and water skiing. He had a very successful and respected career with Bob Florence Contractor, Inc., in Topeka within the commercial construction universe, starting shortly after high school as a lather and eventually rising to a role on the executive management team there. He also advised, consulted for and mentored many others at the firm and beyond (e.g., clients, architects, industry) who trusted his demonstrated abilities and confident “can do” attitude and those of his teams, as well as his pragmatic and/or “outside of the box” thinking as project needs dictated. He could project an easy and outgoing manner when desired (a “born schmoozer” when the occasion warranted), which when coupled with flashes of humor, a wry smile and even a twinkle in the eye when wanted, resulted in his many friends. He enjoyed seeing and experiencing new things in traveling to different destinations all across North America and a few other parts of the world. An appreciation for music (especially jazz) and dance (he “cut a mean rug” in his day) provided much entertainment and good times with his wives and their friends.
He was blessed to be loved and cared for by two wives and his children during his lifetime:
• The late Virginia Lee Cofran (nee Golightly), who was the mother of his three children, Jeff, Jerri and Jame, all of whom survive
• Karen Kay Cofran, who survives and is the mother of his two step-children, Rick and Kevin, who both survive.
Joe is also survived by:
• Grandchildren Lucy Jean, Thomas Joseph and Andrew Lee Cofran
• Brother-in-law Ret. Lt. Col. (USAF) Robert D. Golightly (Gerry), and three nephews, Daniel R. (Sheryl Crawford) and Thomas L. (Martha) Cofran, and Niel L. (Lori) Golightly
• Numerous step-relatives through marriages including four step-grandchildren.
Joe was also predeceased by daughter-in-law Laura Lee Cofran (nee Jeffress).
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home, Olathe and Topeka, KS. A memorial service celebrating Joe’s life will be held in Grace Cathedral, 701 SW 8th Avenue, Topeka, KS, 66603, on Friday, December 1, at 2:00 PM. Interment of his ashes at Mount Hope Cemetery will follow the memorial service.
If so inclined, suggestions for donations in memory of Joe are:
• Ascend Hospice, 4550 W. 109th, Suite 210, Overland Park, KS, 66221
• Grace Cathedral.
“Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let Your perpetual and glorious Light shine upon him” in his now perfectly healed state brought about by the welcoming embrace of Your Loving and perfectly healing arms at entry into Your everlasting Kingdom - full of Your unbounded and unconditional Love, Peace, Mercy and saving glorious Grace, which surpasseth all human understanding, shared by the faithful who have preceded him.
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