Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 5, 2013

Joe Coburn

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ATHENS — Joe Coburn, 81, of 308 North State Street, Athens, WV, died Thursday, October 3, 2013, at his residence. Born February 25, 1932, in Athens, he was the son of the late Fred Coburn and Ida Mae Bird Coburn.

Joe was a graduate of Athens High School and attended Concord College in Athens. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War. Joe served as a deputy with the Mercer County Sheriff's Department from 1959-1961. He was then appointed probation officer for Mercer County until 1968 when he returned to serve as deputy sheriff. He later accepted the position of Athens police chief. Joe was elected to the Mercer County Court in 1972, which later became the Mercer County Commission, where he served two terms before becoming a tax deputy for the WV State Tax Department. In 1996, he was again elected to serve the Mercer County Commission. He was currently serving his third consecutive term as Mercer County Commissioner.

Joe represented the citizens of Mercer County throughout his life by serving on numerous boards and committees. In 1975, he was actively involved in the creation of the Development Authority of Mercer County. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Authority from 1975-1981, and Treasurer of the Authority from 1985-2013. He had also served as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Authority since 1975. Joe was instrumental in the establishment of Bluefield Cumberland Industrial Park and in 1991 helped establish Mercer County as the first county in the state of West Virginia to be certified in economic development.

He proudly served on the board of directors of the Mercer County Labor Management Advisory Council, Hatfield-McCoy Trail Association, Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, Coal Heritage Highway Authority, Mercer County Airport Authority, WV Planning Association, WV Economic Development Council, WV Forestry Association, Mercer County Appalachian Hardwood Expo, Mercer County CVB, Shawnee Parkway Authority, C.A.S.E. (Community Action of Southeastern West Virginia), WV EMS Advisory Board, Mercer County Opportunity Workshop, Mercer County Health Department, Southern Highlands Community Health Center, Region I Planning & Development Council, E-911 Advisory Board, County Commissioners Association of West Virginia, Mercer County Convention & Visitors Bureau, WVU Extension Service, Vision Shared, Mercer County Technical Education Center, Mercer County Solid Waste Authority, and Bluefield Coal Show.

Joe was a member of Concord Masonic Lodge #48 AF & AM and Athens Order of Eastern Star Chapter #33. He represented Athens as a member of the WV Grand Chapter Order of Eastern Star where he served as Grand Representative from 1988-1990, Worthy Grand Patron in 1994, and Grand Trustee from 1995-2000. He was a devoted member of Athens Baptist Church.

In addition to his parents, Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Lila Green Coburn; and three brothers, Bill, Jerry, and Jimmy Coburn.

Survivors include one son, Carl Armentrout of Princeton; two daughters, Sharon Kay Doss of Princeton, and Karen Maclay and husband Don of Princeton; five grandchildren, Michael Armentrout, Kevin Armentrout, Joe and Natalie Doss, and Kari Beth Dell'orso and husband Graham; five great-grandchildren, Alexis and Tanner Armentrout, Jacob and Hanna Armentrout, and Eli Dell'orso.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 6, 2013, at the Princeton Church of God, 250 Oakvale Road, Princeton, with the Reverend Charles Drake and Pastor Sam Cox officiating. Burial will follow in Athens Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Kevin Armentrout, Don Meadows, Joe Allen, Chuck Coburn, Milburn Blankenship, and Jack Oxley. Honorary pallbearers will be Dave Cole, Billy Godfrey, Lyle Huntington, and Kevin Weis.

Friends may call from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday, October 5 2013, at the Princeton Church of God on Oakvale Road in Princeton.

Memorial contributions may be made to Athens Baptist Church, P.O. Box 728, Athens, WV  24712.

Online condolences may be made by visiting

The Coburn family is being served by Seaver Funeral Home in Princeton.