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Jean Lindley

April 8, 1936 November 30, 2008
Jean Lindley
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Obituary for Jean Lindley

Jean (Coffey) Lindley died Sunday at her home in Milford due to complications arising from cancer. She was 72. Born April 8, 1936 in Lenoir, North Carolina, she grew up in Collettsville � a rural town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachians. Her parents, Bruce and Colene Coffey, owned and operated the general store and Jean was raised along with her brother Gerald and sister Janice among the aisles of canned goods in the store and among the rows of vegetables in their garden. She graduated high school in three years instead of the usual four and attended Queens College for one year. In 1954 she married Walter I. Lindley, Jr. and, after living a year in Europe, she returned to North Carolina to complete her education. She graduated magna cum laude from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. They eventually settled in Lexington, KY where they raised three children. Jean had an impressive career in university administration, first at the University of Kentucky where she spent 28 years in various positions, ultimately being appointed the Assistant Director of Auxiliary Services with responsibility for student housing, campus bookstore, and food services. She left UK in 1985 to be the Assistant Vice President for Residences and Auxiliary Services at Central Michigan University. While at CMU she shifted from student services to campus facilities when she became the Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management at CMU. She was a generous volunteer, particularly with the United Way, serving on the Michigan Board of Directors for several years. Jean loved the campus community and made the comment many times after retiring, �I miss working.� She enjoyed interacting with people and finding solutions to difficult problems. One challenging problem she faced was how to provide three college tuitions at the same time. Her entrepreneurial spirit turned the problem into an opportunity to launch a coin-operated laundry business, which served apartment complexes throughout central and eastern Kentucky. This business provided much more than just the necessary income for college educations; it allowed her children to work and learn the entire operations of a family-owned business. Jean enjoyed spending time with friends and family, gardening, and baking. An avid amateur photographer, she shied away from being in photographs herself, but at family events could often be found with two (or sometimes three) cameras hanging from her neck. Jean is survived by Walter, her husband of 54 years, her children Keith Lindley of Milford, OH, Kevin Lindley (wife Shelly) of Indianapolis, IN and Holly Lee of Aliso Viejo, CA, brother Gerald Coffey (wife Pam) of Boca Raton, FL and sister Janice Caroway (husband Bill) of Morganton, NC, and four grandchildren Kaitlyn, Sarah, Madison, and Jacob. We will miss her dearly. A gathering of friends and family will be held at Craver-Riggs Funeral Home in Milford on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 1-3 pm. Condolences may be expressed to the family at If desired, memorial donations may be directed to United Way of Caldwell County (NC) P.O. Box 1316 Lenoir, NC 28645-1316 or Hospice of Cincinnati at

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