Donald S. Coffey, Ph.D., cancer warrior, humanist, mentor to hundreds of researchers and physicians, friend to countless people, was filled with a burning curiosity to understand the world and to know personally everyone he came in contact with.

Everyone has the story—“I met Don at a meeting and he sat me down and he asked me to tell him my life story—and I was forever changed.”

Coffey—“The Chief” to all of us who knew him well—died on Nov. 9, 2017 at 85.

He was born in Bristol, VA, on Oct. 10, 1932. An undiagnosed and unrecognized dyslexic, he struggled through school, failing multiple grades. He eventually attended King College in Bristol, Tenn. In 1953, after leaving King College, he entered the University of East Tennessee.