Coffin obit

Elizabeth Gring Coffin, aged 98, passed peacefully on Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Warrenton, Virginia. She was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on March 24, 1924, daughter of Ambrose Daniel and Gertrude Sheffield Gring.

Growing up with a widowed mother and four siblings in New York city during the depression was hard. As with others of her generation, she learned frugality and hard work. With a strong belief in God, she learned to be optimistic. “This is the day that the Lord hath made. We shall rejoice and be glad in it” was a favorite scripture.

In 1944 Elizabeth met and married David P. Coffin, a charming Army officer who, after the war became a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department. Together they served in China, Japan, and England. Although they found the work and travel stimulating and interesting, it did not provide much stability for their growing family. They settled in Alexandria, Virginia and David spent the rest of a very interesting career in the CIA. They had five children. In 1965, feeling the need for some space, they moved to Warrenton. The bought a large 100-year-old stone house on Winchester Street and some land with a pre-civil war farmhouse in Orlean, Virginia.

As a child, Elizabeth had gone to a Montessori preschool and she brought her children up with the principles of Montessori. In 1972 Elizabeth started the Boxwood School with her children’s help and encouragement. Of her three daughters who helped with her school, two went on to be trained Montessori teachers themselves. Her sons would best be described as “artists in residence.” Her boundless energy…physical, emotional ,and intellectual kept the school alive for 47 years. She has remained friends with many of her former students and their parents.

Elizabeth had a strong personality. She had a great sense of humor. There was often a cartoon from The New Yorker on her refrigerator door. She was a voracious reader and a prolific letter writer. She kept her correspondence going with friends from her Foreign Service days for sixty years. As much as she loved to talk, she was a good listener. She will be missed!

Mrs. Coffin is survived by four children, Kit Coffin Dukas & her husband, Philip pf Bethany Beach, Delaware, R. Winthrop Coffin & his partner, Phillip of Warrenton, Virginia, Ann Lauterbach & her husband Michael of Orlean, Virginia, and Sarah McCormack and her husband, Mark of Warrenton, Virginia; a daughter-in-law, Ellen Coffin of Brookings, Oregon; eleven grandchildren, Alexandra (Bill), Briana (Robin), Christopher (Amy), Caitlin, Lillian Rebecca, Christina (Luke), Jordon, Lauren Elizabeth, Haley Katherine, Win, and Sophie; and eight great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, David Page Coffin, Sr.; her son, David P. Coffin, Jr.;  and her siblings; Morris, Edwin, Trudie and Robert.

A memorial service will be held at Grace Church, The Plains, Virginia at 11:00 on August 13, 2022.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: ProMedica Hospice, Heartland of Warrenton or a charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be made at

(1) comment

Jeff Allen

Sweet, sweet lady with a LOVE of learning everything!

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