Minister Burton Coffman dies at 101
Coffman baptized an estimated 3,000 people during his life and conducted hundreds of gospel meetings. Last year, he delivered a Sunday morning sermon two days before his 100th birthday at the West University church in Houston.
Born in west Texas and baptized in 1923, Coffman graduated from Abilene Christian College in Texas in 1927 with a bachelor’s in history and music. After graduation, he worked as a teacher and high school principal, but soon found his calling in ministry.
He preached his first sermon at the College church in Abilene, and in 1930 was offered a position as associate minister and song leader in Wichita Falls, Texas.
He also preached for congregations in Houston, Lawton, Okla., New York City and the District of Columbia.
During his time as minister for the Manhattan Church of Christ, Coffman preached across the nation and raised more than $1 million for The Manhattan Project, an effort to build a worship place on the world’s most expensive real estate.
While in Washington, Coffman was offered the opportunity to serve as guest chaplain for the U.S. Armed Forces in Japan and Korea. He hosted gospel meetings throughout both countries.
In 1952, he initiated an effort to increase the number of U.S. Air Force chaplains with Church of Christ backgrounds. At that point, only one Air Force chaplain was affiliated with the Church of Christ.
After retiring in 1971, he wrote a 37-volume commentary of the entire Bible, verse by verse, which was finished in 1992.
His wife of 64 years, Thelma “Sissy” Bradford, his parents, three brothers and a sister preceded Coffman in death.
Survivors include his second wife, June Bristow, three daughters, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
August 1, 2006