Gregory Carleton Coffin was born on January 14, 1926, in Meriden, Connecticut, to Emily Grace Wall-Coffin, age 31, and Walter Gregory Coffin, age 32. In Rye his family lived on Hix Avenue.
Gregory was a Rye High School Graduate, Class of 1943. He was a member of the National Honor Society, ran track, played football and basebal and was a member of many clubs and organizations.
He enlisted in 1944 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Gregory served as an officer in the Medical Administrative Corps (MAC).
In 1943, he had enrolled at Harvard College and, after serving in the Army, returned home to graduate in 1947.
Gregory married Nancy Stackpole in 1950 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. They had four children during their marriage. He received a master's degree from Boston University and a Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Connecticut in 1963.
Gregory worked as a faculty member at the Middlesex School for Boys in Concord. where he taught English and coached crew for three years. He returned to Marblehead to teach one year before becoming the principal of Woodstock Academy in Woodstock, Conn. He then worked as superintendent of the new Narragansett Regional High School and moved to the North Reading school district for two years as superintendent.
In 1966, he became superintendent of District 65 schools in Evanston, Ill., and led the first district to desegregate all schools. Gregory Coffin joined the faculty at Northeastern University in 1970 as full professor and director of the Urban Schools Collaborative.
Gregory was an active member of the Civil Rights Movement. He was a lifetime member of the AASA, NAACP and many other organizations.
In 1959, he was the recipient of the S.D. Shankland Scholarship from the American Association of School Administrators.
Gregory Carleton Coffin of Marblehead, a professor and veteran, died unexpectedly March 20,2002 at the Hong Kong airport while returning home from vacation in Singapore. He was 76.
He was survived by his wife, Nancy (Stackpole); two sons, Gregory C. Jr., of Wisconsin, and Geoffrey S. of Leominster; two daughters, Cynthia Wall Coffin and Emily Ruggles, both of Marblehead; a sister, Laurett Coffin Maroney; 13 grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
A funeral service was held at the Old North Church in Marblehead.
(Published Wednesday, April 10, 2002 in the Boston Herald)