Harry Coffee

Harry Coffee

Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Death 7 Jul 1938 (aged 57)
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA
Memorial ID 157690546 · View Source
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Portals of Eternity Cemetery is now named Hills of Eternity Cemetery.
As a young man growing up in Oakland, California, Harry Coffee worked in a store owned by his father, Michael Coffee, who was “the first clothing man in the East Bay city,” according to a Fresno Bee story. The 1900 US Census has Coffee living in Hawaii where he was serving with the National Guard. Coffee returned to California in 1900 and worked as a traveling salesman “for a line of men’s apparel furnishings,” the store history stated.

In about 1904 Coffee opened his first store in the gold boom town of Goldfield, Nevada. In 1910 Coffee left Nevada and opened a store in Bakersfield, on 19th Street near Chester Avenue. His slogan was “Harry Coffee Your Bosom Friend.”

As the store prospered, Coffee decided to expand his business, the store history said: “Believing that Fresno was destined to be the largest city north of Bakersfield,” in 1916 Coffee bought McAfee’s Men’s Store at 1025 Fulton St. and opened up in the growing city.

Coffee opened a third store in Stockton in 1919, but the business was destroyed by fire in 1924 and it was not reopened.

Coffee expanded the Bakersfield store during the 1920s and 1930s. In March of 1926 a full page of the Bakersfield Californian was given over to announcing the major remodeling of Harry Coffee’s store on Chester Avenue. Featuring photos of all managers and works, it promoted “class and style” for men including a mention of “Negligee for men, latest night ware.” “A 1942 Bakersfield Californian advertisement offered “All Wool Shetland Sport Coats” for men starting at $13.95. Coffee added women’s clothing at both stores back in 1936.

According to a July 7, 1938, story in Bakersfield Californian, Harry Coffee, age 58, “had a heart attack and died while swimming in the surf at Santa Monica that morning.”

“H. M. Campbell, Santa Monica clothier and an intimate friend of Coffee, in a telephone message to The Fresno Bee this afternoon, said Coffee collapsed immediately after being struck by a huge wave as he was entering the water. Mrs. Coffee (Anna Newman Coffee Baer Cooper 1892-1978) was with her husband at the time of his death,” the Fresno Bee story said. Anna out lived two additional husbands after Harry's death and passed away in 1978.

Coffee’s stores continued to operate after his death in 1938 with leadership of both Bakersfield and Fresno stores taken over by Roy E. Paehlig (1897-1978), who had worked for Coffee since 1911. The wide continuing success of Coffee’s, after Harry’s death, was attributed to the excellent management of Roy.

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  • Created by: Arthur Allen Moore III
  • Added: 1 Feb 2016
  • Find a Grave Memorial 157690546
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harry Coffee (29 Aug 1880–7 Jul 1938), Find a Grave Memorial no. 157690546, citing Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Arthur Allen Moore III (contributor 46828136) .