Charles Alfred Coye

Charles Alfred Coye was a sterling citizen whose character and ability gained him rank among the representative business men of Grand Rapids, where for forty-two years he was president of Chas. A. Coye, Inc., the second largest manufacturers of awnings and tents in Michigan. Mr. Coye was born March 2, 1860, in Rochester, New York, coming to Grand Rapids two years later with his parents, Albert and Mary (Pew) Coye. The Coye and Pew families were of English descent. Albert Coye was born in New York state and gained his first experience in the awning business in Rochester. In 1855 he established the first awning and tent factory in Grand Rapids. He returned to Rochester for a few years and when the family moved back to Grand Rapids in 1862, he re-established his awning business on West Bridge street. In 1881 his son, Charles Alfred Coye, went in with his father under the firm name of Albert Coye & Son. In 1882 Charles A. Coye purchased the business and changed the name to Chas. A. Coye. The business that he thus founded kept pace with the growth and development of the city and under his forceful and efficient administration the concern became the largest establishment of its kind in western Michigan and the second largest in the state. In 1909 the business was incorporated under the name of Chas. A. Coye, Inc., the plant moving to 11 Pearl street. In 1913 Mr. Coye purchased the building at 168-70 Louis street where the entire four floors and basement are now in service housing the various departments of this well-ordered manufacturing and retail business, which has pioneer prestige in the city and state. After the death of Mr. Coye on February 27, 1924, his widow became president of the corporation, and as such she is ably directing the large and prosperous business in accordance with the methods and policies that her husband had formulated. Mr. Coye was married in 1888 to Miss Ida Merrifield, daughter of the late Preston Merrifield, who was for many years prominently associated with the Grand Rapids fire department, for which he installed the first electric alarm system. Besides his widow Mr. Coye is survived by four daughters: Carrie M.; Irene, the wife of Eugene C. Spraker; Mary E., the wife of Floyd S. Harrett, and Kathryn L., all of this city. Mr. Coye was a popular figure in the business and social circles of his home city. His political allegiance was given to the Republican party and he attended Park Congregational Church. He was affiliated with the local York and Scottish Rite organizations of the Masonic fraternity, his basic membership having been made in Doric Lodge, F. and A. M., and having extended to include the Mystic Shrine. He was a member of the Royal Arcanum, the Modern Woodmen of America, and also of the local Lions Club.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 16 March 2005