Ronald “Ron” Lloyd Coffey

Ronald Lloyd Coffey, 33, died in his Arlington, Virginia home on Monday, June 27, 1994, according to his friend, MJ Bienvenu. She said his death was caused by AIDS-related complications.

Coffey worked independently as a professional sign language interpreter in the D.C. area. Bienvenu said that “he interpreted on a national level, as well. He was really known all over the United States.”

Coffey was born to parents who were deaf. Bienvenu, who had been Coffey’s roommate for the past two years, met Coffey when he enrolled in a sign-language interpreting class she was teaching.

“One of the things in life that Ron wanted to see happen more than anything is the acceptance of deaf people as a unique linguistic and cultural group.” she said. “Ron knew this [was] hard for many people in our society for they have not had the opportunity of growing up or living in a deaf household as Ron did.”

Coffey had been working toward a master’s degree in teaching interpreting at Western Maryland COllege prior to his death. He held a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland for anthropology and an associate’s degree in interpreting from Gallaudet University.

Coffey’s nickname was “Ginger,” Bienvenu said he enjoyed New Wave music and traveling, especially to Provincetown, where he and his longtime companion, Roert Wasik liked to go.

Coffey also enjoyed dining out and often joked about his lack of cooking skills, she said.

Another interest of Coffey’s was softball. He began playing it with the D.C. Sports Association in 1985 and continued for several years

Wasik predeceased Coffey on July 24, 1992. Coffey is survived by two sisters, Carolyn Stiltner of Sterling, Va., and DIana Lusker of Centreville, Va.; and a brother, Jerry Coffey of Arlington. His remains were cremated and scattered at undisclosed locations, Bienvenu said.

A memorial service for Coffey is scheduled on Saturday, July 30, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Gallaudet University’s Ole Jim building at 800 Florida Ave., NE. For further information, call (301) 277-3944 (TTY) or (301)277-3945 (voice).

Anyone wishing to remember Coffey with a gift in his name is asked to consider the Bicultural Center Center, 5506. 

Source: Washington Blade | Submitted by Bob Rourke | Transcribed by Nanette Edwards

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