Stella S. Coffman, 91, of rural Metamora, passed away at home on Friday, October 1, 2021, at 2 a.m. after a three-year struggle with cancer.
Stella was born May 2, 1930, in West Frankfort to Mike and Mary (Kaneversky) Senkus. She is survived by her devoted husband of 67 years, Myrle L. Coffman, whom she met in college and later married on June 12, 1954, with 20 guests in attendance.
Surviving are her sons, Michael (Julia) Coffman of Metamora and Steve (Penny) Coffman of Lisle; grandchildren, Neil (Leah) Coffman, Gregory (Courtney) Coffman, Leslie (Chris) Dina, Timothy Rademacher and Karen (Tom Rajca) Rademacher; and great-grandchildren, Ava, Declan and Scarlett.
Stella was preceded in death by her parents; an infant daughter, Linda Kay (1958); and her brother, Mike E. Senkus (2004).
Throughout her life, Stella resided in a number of locations. As a youth, she grew up as a coal miner’s daughter, living in both southern Illinois and West Virginia, and oversaw her brother’s daily care after her mother’s death. Her father died tragically in a 1951 Franklin County IL coal mine explosion.
Stella graduated from Frankfort High School in 1948 and received a B.S. Degree in Education in 1952 from Southern Illinois University, where she lettered as a Saluki softball player. Stella began her career as a high school teacher and later quit teaching to tend to her sons as a full-time mom. Because of Myrle’s job, the family relocated several times to New Jersey and Wisconsin, eventually settling in Naperville, IL. When her children grew older, Stella worked part-time as a billing department clerk for the City of Naperville.
The Coffman foursome enjoyed many outdoor adventures while traveling throughout the United States. Some of the more memorable family exploits included hiking and mule-riding into the Grand Canyon, tent-camping in South Dakota, white-water rafting in West Virginia, and saucer-sledding in snowy Wisconsin. Later, Stella and Myrle traveled throughout the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, and visited their southern Illinois roots often.
Stella and Myrle were also avid gardeners. Stella canned fruits and pickles from their home harvests. She and her husband also supported local women’s sporting events and community theater. These interests carried over from Naperville to their retirement location in central Illinois. In Metamora, Stella and Myrle also volunteered for 15 years at the Illinois Prairie District Library, assisting with the library’s digital card catalogue conversion, indexing a century of Metamora matter-of-record data, and gathering requested genealogical information. Stella and Myrle were also members of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Peoria where she joined its quilting circle, sewing quilts for Lutheran World Relief.
While living in Metamora, Stella began a new chapter in her life as a grandmother and later as great-grandma. She thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her expanding family and always kept them amply supplied with her delicious, homemade, chocolate chip cookies. Whether teaching her grandkids and great-grandkids to bat or honing online iPad communication skills, she loved her full-time grandma role. Rarely did Stella miss attending their sporting events, concerts and milestone celebrations. Stella’s grandchildren also relished her participation in their lives.
Cremation/inurnment has been accorded by Mason-White Funeral Home in Washington. Burial of ashes in Chapel Hill Gardens West Cemetery in Oakbrook Terrace, IL, will follow a private family committal service, on October 12, 2021, officiated by Pastor Jason Anderson (Oak Lawn) with collaboration from Pastor James R. Lillie (Peoria). A Celebration of Life will be scheduled at Stella’s home church at a later date, followed by an ice cream social, as requested by Stella. Chocolate chip cookies and cake will be served.
Memorials in Stella’s name may be made to Threads, Hope and Love (www.threadshopeandlove.org) in Washington or Center for Prevention of Abuse (www.centerforpreventionofabuse.org/) in Peoria. To express condolences online, visit www.masonfuneralhomes.com.