William Henry Coye
William Henry Coye is a recognized and influential authority in connection with the various phases of the great industry that has made his native city of Grand Rapids the greatest world’s center of furniture manufacturing, and here he is now professionally established as an expert furniture consultant, with offices at 543 Avalon Terrace. Mr. Coye was born in Grand Rapids, March 30, 1863, and is a son of Albert and Mary (Pugh) Coye, who were born in the state of New York and whose marriage was solemnized at Rochester, N. Y.
They moved to Grand Rapids in 1855, when this city was a mere village, and eventually he built up and long conducted a prosperous business as a manufacturer of tents and awnings, his son, Charles A., having been his successor in this business and the latter having continued the enterprise until his death in February, 1924. William Henry Coye availed himself in his boyhood and youth of the advantages of the old Union public school in Grand Rapids, and his broader education has been that gained in the great school of practical experience and self-discipline. In the early days, marking the virtual incipiency of furniture manufacturing in Grand Rapids, he gained his initial experience in the furniture factory of the Berkey & Gay Company, this having been one of the first furniture factories in the city. His experience has run the full gamut of the various details of furniture production, and he continued to be employed in Grand Rapids’ furniture factories until 1886. In that year, he became superintendent of a furniture factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in 1887, he retained a similar position at Oshkosh, that state. Thereafter he was successively factory manager in furniture factories at Burlington, Iowa, Kankakee, Illinois, and Marshfield, Wisconsin, and from 1900 to 1917, he was treasurer and manager of the Coye Furniture Company at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, this company having been organized by him. Since 1917 Mr. Coye has served as counsel for the National Furniture Manufacturers’ Association, and since 1919 he has held similar alliance with the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association, the National Association of Chair Manufacturers, the National Extension Table Association, besides which he is secretary of the National Refrigerator Manufacturers Association, and in 1918 entered service at Washington, D. D., as secretary of the Furniture War Service Committee, a position that he retained until the close of the World war. His is a unique and impregnable position as a general furniture consultant, and his influence and reputation in this field are equaled by those of no other one man. Mr. Coye is a Republican in politics, is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and he and his wife hold membership in the Presbyterian Church. In 1882 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Coye to Miss Mary Gilbertson, of Grand Rapids, and of this union were born three children: Mary Ethel, died at the age of 36 years; Miss Nina B., superintendent of music in the public schools at Muskegon Heights, Muskegon county; and Clarence is secretary of the National Refrigerator Association. Mr. Coye was the fifth in order of birth in a family of nine children, and concerning the others, the following brief data are available: James A. Coye resided in Grand Rapids and served a number of years as United States collector of customs; Charles A. succeeded his father in the tent and awning business at Grand Rapids and continued the same until his death in 1924; Clarence M. is engaged in the insurance business in Los Angeles, California; and Mesdames O. B. Wilmarth, George LaBore and J. G. Phillips continue residents of Grand Rapids.
Pages 212-213 – History of Kent County
Transcriber: Mary Huizen
Created: 7 February 2003