Michael Reardon Coffeen

Friday, October 13, 2023 5:19 pm

Michael Reardon Coffeen died peacefully at home in Venice, Fla., on Oct. 3, 2023, after an ongoing struggle with emphysema. 

Michael was born on Dec. 8, 1945, in his family hometown of Decorah to parents Charles Everett Coffeen and Everetta Reardon Coffeen.

He attended Decorah High School (class of 1964) and the University of Iowa, where he majored in theatre, to be continued in New York. After that, he moved to the hospitality industry and hotel management in New Orleans (thanks George Camalier), Dallas, Kansas City, Boston (all with the Marriott Corporation), Princeton, N.J., at the historic Nassau Inn, and finally, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Michael had an easy laugh and enjoyed his impressions of famous men, including Jimmy Stewart, Richard Nixon and others. He loved movie trivia and imparted a love of the horror genre to his two sons, much to the chagrin of their mother. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, which he shared with his father-in-law, although the Yankees were always his team, while the Dodgers and the Mets were Russell’s team.

Michael met his wife Karen (Fraser) in 1972 in New York when they were doing a show, Butterflies are Free, and they married in 1975. They and their two sons enjoyed getting to know the many different cities of the hotel world before landing in Fort Wayne in 1990 where they remained until retirement and a move to Florida in 2013. Michael loved the warmth, the water, the restaurants of Venice. He loved anytime his brother would visit, and he loved his family, including the four legged members. In later years he missed his grandchildren and his best friend, John Matter.

Michael is survived by his wife Karen and their two sons of whom he was very proud, Fraser Reardon Coffeen (Jen) aged 45, and Charles Russell Coffeen (Dawn Apang) aged 35. He is also survived by his brother Paul (Adrienne) and his two much-loved grandchildren, Simon and Juliette.

He was preceded in death by his parents. 

Michael will be cremated and his ashes buried in Phelps Cemetery, followed by a memorial gathering at the Hotel Winneshiek in downtown Decorah on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. Memorials are welcome at Tidewell Hospice, Sarasota, Fla. 

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