Aug. 26, 1941 – Oct. 11, 2022
Lyman Bruce Coffey passed away peacefully with his family at his side on Oct. 11 in Connecticut from complications of an infection. Bruce was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend, and business executive, as well as a joyful sailor and civic philanthropist.
Bruce was born on August 26th, 1941, in Los Angeles to Virginia McFie and Keating Coffey. He grew up in Los Angeles and La Cañada, California along with his brother Malcolm Keating Coffey. As a teenager, he met Marty Morse who lived in Pasadena. Through letter writing and visiting each other, Marty and Bruce developed a romance during high school and college that blossomed into a 59-year marriage that brought four children and ten cherished grandchildren.
He attended high school at Phillips Academy, Andover and studied Engineering at Dartmouth College, making lifelong friends at both. He and Marty married shortly after graduation and Bruce joined the Navy, attending Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and Supply Corps school in Athens, Georgia – where his first son, Lyman Bruce Coffey Jr., was born. Stationed in San Francisco – where his second child, Keating James Coffey, was born – and in Seattle, he served as a Supply Corps Officer (or “porkchop”) on Navy training destroyer ships. After three and a half years in the Navy, Bruce and Marty moved back to Pasadena where he earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from UCLA.
Bruce began his business career working as a management consultant with Cresap, McCormick, and Paget in Manhattan, while living in Rye, New York, where his daughters, Georgina Coffey Younger and Celeste Anne Prisock, were born in nearby Greenwich, Connecticut. He enjoyed playing tennis, family bike rides, and fall hikes in the Adirondacks with children and dogs in tow, and a toddler on his shoulders.
In 1976, Bruce and his family moved to Kansas City where he joined Presto Food Products, the business founded by his father-in-law, Melvin Morse. After running RGB Laboratories and the food service plant for Presto in Kansas City, Bruce and Marty moved their family home to Pasadena for good. He worked side by side with Mel at Presto in Los Angeles, eventually becoming chairman and CEO, and later fulfilling Mel’s dream of building a new plant in City of Industry, California. Bruce loved the excitement and challenges of working with his team at Presto. He was especially enthusiastic about implementing the innovative principles of World Class Manufacturing.
Bruce treasured the years spent raising his family with Marty and being active members in their community. He was President of the Board of Trustees of Chandler School and served on the board of the American Heart Association. He also enjoyed the invaluable camaraderie of the Young Presidents Organization. In 1996, he sold Presto Food Products and he and Marty embarked on a new chapter of their lives.
They began dividing their time between Pasadena and Orcas Island. Inspired by his love of history and the arts, and a desire to make both more accessible to all, he joined the Board of Governors at the Huntington Library, serving for over 20 years, and was also a board member of Camerata Pacifica. On Orcas, he served on the Board of Trustees of Four Winds Camp for nearly 30 years. He was a founder of the Orcas Island Community Foundation and a Board and Committee member for nearly 20 years, and also served as a Board member of the Orcas Center. Bruce relished being part of the tight-knit community on Orcas Island and giving back to the place that was so dear to him and Marty.
It was here that Bruce got to enjoy the other love of his life – sailing. Having grown up sailing with his father and brother, he would bring family and friends aboard Dulce Domum, and he was in paradise. “On other boats, you’re going somewhere. When you’re on a sailboat…you’re already there.” he would delight in saying. He also enjoyed playing tennis and golf, skiing and hiking in the Rocky Mountains, spending time with his children and grandchildren, traveling with Marty, and reading together with their dogs nestled nearby.
Bruce was blessed with genuine friendships, a family that adored him, and a lifelong marriage filled with love. His care and commitment touched and inspired all who worked with him and loved him. A longtime family friend remembers, “his happy smile, kind eyes, and incredible curiosity and thoughtfulness; his patience, and generosity of time and attention – he was ever present and always excited for other people’s successes; a wonderful, loyal friend – a true, true gentleman.”
A celebration of Bruce’s life will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12th in Pasadena. Donations in memory of Bruce may be made to support the Huntington Library https://huntington.org/donate, the Orcas Island Community Foundation https://oicf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=1078, or the American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/?form=FUNELYZXFBW.