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Rosemary's Story

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EXETER, N.H. — Rosemary H. Coffin (Baldwin), 88, died Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, peacefully at home in RiverWoods at Exeter. Survived by her husband of 62 years, David D. Coffin, Phillips Exeter Academy Faculty Emeritus; a daughter, Sarah Coffin Klebnikov O'Connor (Thomas) of New York City and a son, Peter Douglas Coffin (Eleanore) of Kingston, N.H.; founder of Seacoast Hospice and RiverWoods at Exeter.

Rosemary was an active member of the Exeter community for over 50 years. In 1978, she founded Seacoast Hospice, becoming the first chairman, establishing offices in Exeter Hospital. Concurrently, she saw the need for a retirement and continuing care community, founding and first chairman of Life Care Services of New Hampshire, co-founding RiverWoods at Exeter, into which she and David moved in 1994.

Rosemary's early volunteering included being a founder of the Rockingham Choral Society (1954), President of the Exeter Players (1956-9), room mother in the Exeter Elementary School and President of the PTA (1962-3), Girl Scout troop leader, volunteer in the Exeter Hospital X-ray room, draft counselor (1970-74), member of the Exeter Hospital Corporation (1972-90), Board of Rockingham and NH Child and Family Services (1974-8), and member of the Exeter Healthcare Board (1982-88). She received the Citizen of the Year Award from the NH Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and was a member of the Vestry at Christ Church, Exeter. She was a member and Chairman of the Hampton Falls Ad Hoc Committee on Low Income Housing (1984-5), received Concord Academy's Joan Shaw Herman Award (1985), a Distinguished Woman Leader Award from the Nashua NH YWCA (1986), an honorary doctorate from Notre Dame College, Manchester, N.H. (1990), the Founder's Day Award from Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H., for services to the Academy and greater community (1990) and was named a Point of Light by President George H.W. Bush; author of A Ministry of Grace (1983) and The Garland of Philippa (2001).

Born in Sussex, England, Rosemary grew up there and in Concord, Mass., where she graduated from Concord Academy in 1940. After attending Radcliffe College, she returned to work in wartime England. In 1949 in Cambridge, England, she met David Coffin, a graduate student at King's College; they were married later that year. After three years when David taught at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., where their two children were born, they moved to Exeter, where David later became head of the classics department at Phillips Exeter.

Throughout her married life, Rosemary spent summers with her family and friends in St. Hubert's in the Adirondack mountains, where she served on the board of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve for a number of years.

ARRANGEMENTS: A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, Pine Street, Exeter, N.H. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Christ Church, 43 Pine St., Exeter, NH 03833 or Child and Family Services, 464 Chestnut St., Manchester, NH 03105. Guestbook at brewittfuneralhome.com.
Published on  March 3, 2011
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