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1946 Edna 2020

Edna Powell Cofer

November 16, 1946 — March 4, 2020

Edna Powell Cofer, devoted wife, mother, sister and educator, died Wednesday, March 4 , 2020 at Sentara Obici Memorial Hospital in Suffolk. She was 73.

Mrs. Cofer, a native and lifelong resident of Smithfield, was born Nov. 16, 1946 to Floyd E. and Mary Dashiell Powell. She grew up in a much smaller community than now and often recalled bicycling as a young teenager around Smithfield and northern Isle of Wight County to visit friends.

She graduated from Smithfield High School and married Malcolm T. (Mac) Cofer, and worked in her husband’s insurance office for the next two decades, during which time she also volunteered as an assistant Academic Challenge coach at Smithfield High in order to support her son, Thomas, a top student and team member, who dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

Thomas died in a tragic accident in December 1989, and his death had a profound effect on the Cofers. They created a scholarship fund in his honor. Stimulated in part by her late son’s love of learning, Mrs. Cofer began seriously pursuing a college degree. She first received an associate degree from Paul D. Camp Community College, then a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of William and Mary, and at age 48, a master’s in education from William and Mary.

Mrs. Cofer taught government and history at Smithfield High School and later served as an administrator at Paul D. Camp’s Smithfield Center.

She was a member of two honor societies — Phi Alpha Theta and Phi Theta Kappa.

Mrs. Cofer is survived by her husband of 53 years and her sister Willa S. Powell of Charlottesville.

Graveside funeral services will be held Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 2 p.m. at Old Brick Church Cemetery, Bacon's Castle.

Online condolences may be registered at



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