Early life and career
From 1946 - 1950, Coffee was assistant to the general secretary of Columbia University. He was in the Navy during World War II, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In 1942, Coffee was naval aide to President Roosevelt.
Coffee was appointed associate dean in charge of college development for Columbia College in 1959. Prior to being named associate dean, Coffee was director of Columbia College Development Program. Coffee also served as president of Columbia University Club, and secretary of Columbia College Council. Coffee was also director of the Columbia College Fund.
In 1967, Coffee left Columbia to become a founding administrator of the now-defunct Eisenhower College.
Coffee died at the age of 92. At the time, he was living in Lakewood, NJ. A memorial service for Coffee was held at St. Paul's Chapel.