Miss Keepers of the Crown

LuciaBenton1937Lucia Benton - Miss Kansas 1937

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Lucia Benton Coffey passed away peacefully at age 97 at her home in Katy, Texas, attended by loving family, January 27, 2013. She was born in Oberlin, KS on August 15, 1915, and grew up in Norton, Norton County, Kansas. She was the daughter of Floyd E. and Mary Leona (Miller) Benton, and the twin sister of Leona Mabel Benton Ward, who predeceased her, as did two other sisters, Maxine Benton Myers and Rosalie Benton Muir.

In 1939, Lucia married James Eugene (Gene) Irwin, and they moved to Kansas City where she spent most of her life. Gene Irwin was the Chief Engineer of List & Clark Construction Company of Kansas City, and died in 1963 at age 56. Their two children are Gary E. Irwin of Moraga, California and Anna Lee (Mrs. Kenneth R.) Burton of Katy, Texas. She also is survived by five grandsons; Darren and Ryan Irwin, and Mark, Cory, and Scott Burton; and ten great- grandchildren. After being widowed in 1963, Lucia married Dr. Ralph R. Coffey of Kansas City in 1969. She was predeceased by Dr. Coffey in 1984, and later by Dr. Coffey's daughter Annette (Coffey) Walker of Clinton, Missouri. She is survived by his grandchildren Martha Walker (Mrs. Arlie) Johnson of Overland Park, Kansas and Mike Walker of Miami, Florida, and great-grandchildren Ryan Johnson and Erin Johnson Weber. Lucia was active in P.E.O., with more than 50 years of service, and she endowed a P.E.O. scholarship at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri.

She was a long-time member of Country Club Methodist Church, and was a supporter of the Richard Cabot Foundation of Kansas City and the Kansas City chapter of the American Red Cross. Lucia is a descendant of a settler at Jamestown Colony, and is a descendant of six signers of the Mayflower Compact. She was selected as Miss Kansas in 1936, and was a finalist in the Miss America Pageant of 1937 in Atlantic City, NJ.

Lucia was a beloved mother, grandmother, and friend. She truly was "Great Lucia", as her great- grandchildren called her. Services will be held on Thursday, January 31 at the Country Club United Methodist Church, 55th and Wornall Road; visitation with family members will be from 10 to 11 am, with funeral services starting at 11 am, and a graveside service immediately afterward at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Lucia B. Coffey Scholarship Fund, PEO Executive Office, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines IA 50312. Mt Moriah & Freeman Funeral Home. 10507 Holmes Rd., Kansas City, MO 64131. (816) 942-2004 www.mtmoriah-freeman.com

Published in Kansas City Star on January 29, 2013
Mount Moriah Cemetery
Kansas City
Jackson County


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