Eric Coffin loved to fish at the pier. He loved to take his four daughters to the beach, which he called paradise. And, standing at 6 feet, 9 inches tall, he was considered by many to be a big man with a big heart.
Coffin, whom many knew from working at the 7-Eleven, on Palm Coast Parkway, and the Publix, on Belle Terre Parkway, died April 28 — the 18th birthday of his oldest daughter, Jocelyn. He was 42.
A true family man
Growing up in Wisconsin with his older sister, Holly, and younger brother, Kurt, Coffin was an outgoing man who was sincerely interested in others.
Kurt Coffin, who still resides in Wisconsin, said he and his brother used to go fishing or start neighborhood baseball games. They would go to Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bulls games with their father, Charles.
Kurt and Eric would bet Matchbox cars and toys with their neighborhood opponents. Thanks to Eric Coffin’s strength as a batter, the Coffin brothers won a lot.
As they grew older, Coffin switched his skills from baseball to fatherhood.
“He loved (all of his daughters) equally and dearly, and people in the neighborhood often looked to Eric for parenting advice,” Kurt Coffin said.
Coffin and his four daughters moved to Palm Coast in 2010, following behind Coffin’s ex-wife, Jennifer Floyd. Coffin and Floyd went through an amicable divorce and maintained split custody.
With the hopes of giving his children a fresh start in a new state, Coffin hoped to continue his business of clearing out foreclosed homes, which he started in Oshkosh, Wis.
He would visit the pier with his best friend, Dave Akin.
But business didn’t take off the way he had planned, and so he found regular-wage labor. He would do what he had to in order to make ends meet for himself and his four daughters.
A lasting impression
Lynn Stote, who regularly purchased lottery tickets from the convenience store where Coffin worked, said she met Coffin about seven months ago.
“He always wished me good luck with my purchase,” she said.
Stote went into the 7-Eleven on April 29. She asked where Coffin was, and she was told by another employee that Coffin had suffered a heart attack and died. About a month prior, Coffin was in the hospital with pneumonia. Doctors said there could have been complications with the pneumonia that were related to his heart attack.
“I was stunned and just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “He was a real nice guy struggling to make it in paradise. I think about him every day when I walk in, and I just miss that happy, tall, good guy from Wisconsin.”
Donations for Coffin’s four daughters can be sent to Jennifer Floyd, 33 Royal Leaf Lane, Palm Coast, Fla., 32164.