James Richard Coy passed away surrounded by family on Monday, November 16th, at 12:54 AM. Born in Fort Wayne, IN on February 21, 1943, he graduated in 1961 from Huntington High School in Huntington, IN. He met his wife of 56 years, Martha, while attending Olivet Nazarene College in Illinois, where he graduated in 1969 - the year his son, Randall (Paige), was born. Both survive James and live in Tennessee. He is also survived by his sister Shirley (Omer) of Indiana, his brother Robert (Janet) of Florida, and several nieces and nephews.
A man of deep faith, he felt called into ministry as a young teenager, and devoted his life to pastoring churches in Indiana, Illinois, and traveling extensively throughout the Eastern half of the United States from Oklahoma to Upstate New York. He ministered to all ages through Camp Meetings, Children/Youth Summer Camps, Bible Schools, Revival Services, and Gospel Concerts. His ministry spanned five decades, and he became an ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene in 1985. Later in life he counseled for the Tennessee Department of Human Services.
James was a man of unusual talent, which he freely gave to the world. His hands drew thousands of cartoons for children who would recite a Bible verse, and created Art with chalk and pastel. His mind wrote poetry about Heaven, Pigs, and Birthday Suits. It created countless sermons, and provided everyone he met with a sly and agile wit. He had a stunning baritone singing voice that caused many speakers to "crack" under its weight. His voice led thousands of children and adults to faith, and lent a personality to his ventriloquist dummy, Reg. The fragile man he was at the end was not representative of the giant life he shared with the world. He was an Artist, Cartoonist, Writer and Poet, Singer, Counselor, Preacher and Ventriloquist. While his family on Earth is mourning him, his family in Heaven is celebrating him.
There will be no formal service at this time due to Covid-19 restrictions. In lieu of flowers, the family requests any memorials be given to Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries (P.O. Box 3310; Knoxville, TN 37927; www.karm.org).
Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Coy family and invites you to view and sign the online registry.
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