Elsie Mae Cofer


Elsie Mae Cofer, 86, of Ottumwa, died at 4:30 a.m. January 12, 2023 at Vista Woods Care Center.

She was born December 7, 1936 in Torrington, WY to Charles Dare and Elsie Barkman Hawley. Elsie Mae married Larry Wilson Cofer on June 4, 1982.

Elsie Mae was a graduate of Southeast Wyoming Junior College in Torrington and earned a B.A. from William Penn University and a Masters in Education from the University of Northern Iowa. She took additional courses at Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville and University of Iowa. She taught elementary grades in Hawk Springs, WY, Lingle, WY and for 17 years in Ottumwa Schools.

Elsie Mae was a member of First Presbyterian Church and taught Sunday school, played the organ and sang in the choir at several churches. She served 10 years on the Airport Advisory Board, was a member of the Irving Club and P.E.O. Chapter G.

Elsie Mae was the author of “Carrier on the Prairie”, a history of the Naval air station in Ottumwa and also authored several poetry books and magazine articles. She taught poetry at the National Baptist Poetry Workshop in Wisconsin.

Surviving is her husband, Larry; her children, Jani Dawn (Phil) Davis of Las Vegas NV, Jocelyn Elaine (Ralph) Pickett of Graham, NC and James Dare (Tanya) Henman of Burlington, IA; 2 step-daughters, Aurora Paige (Mark) Eike of Craig, CO and Tiffany Erin Lenhart of Des Moines; 13 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; siblings, Anna Charlene Davis of Denver, CO, Dorothy Eileen (Charlie) Zavorka of Torrington, WY and sister-in-law Joyce Hawley of Casper, WY.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Floyd Edward Hawley and step-son-in-law, Bill Lenhart.

Her body has been cremated.

The family will greet friends from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, January 20th at Reece Funeral Home.

Memorial services will be 1 p.m. Saturday, January 21st at First Presbyterian Church with Pastor Bill Hornback officiating. The service will be livestreamed on the church Facebook page. Inurnment will be in Ormanville Cemetery at a later date.

Memorials may be made to Friends of the Naval Air Station, 14550 Terminal Ave, Ottumwa, IA 52501.

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