Ellen Furio Coker of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, died at the age of 55 on November 13, 2018 following a 14-month battle with brain cancer. With an unwavering faith, she fought a hard fight with tremendous grace and courage with her family always top-of-mind. She is survived by her husband of 22 years, Robert Randall Coker; sons Walter Furio Coker (19) and William Ridings Coker (17); her brother, James Peter Furio (Martha) of Birmingham; her sister, Cynthia Furio McGahan of Bowling Green, Kentucky; nephew Ross McKenzie Furio (Madison) of Dallas, Texas; nephews Justin McGahan of San Francisco, California and Dr. Jarrod McGahan of Sacramento, California, as well as many close friends. She was predeceased by her parents, Pete & Peggy Furio. Her funeral and the celebration of her beautiful life were held at Trinity United Methodist Church in Homewood by Brian Erickson, her pastor, shepherd, and friend.
Ellen was a graduate of Decatur High School. She graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in Sociology. She earned a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from The University of Alabama. She was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority. She was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church and a member of The Discovery Sunday School Class at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church. Before her diagnosis, she worked as a speech therapist at Baptist Princeton Hospital. She also worked for many years prior as a speech therapist at Carraway Methodist Medical Center.
She was a loving and devoted wife. She loved exercising, doing for others, being with her husband and friends, but most of all, she loved being a mother to Walt & William. She was the perfect example of an Italian Mother, always putting her boys first. She loved them so deeply, doing everything in her power to ensure they were protected, happy, and most of all, getting to do what they loved most: fish. Each spring break she would cart them across the South to explore some legendary fishing destination. The boys would have her sitting on the banks of some stream, lake, or worse yet, paddling down some swift river in kayaks, despite her fear of these swift water adventures. In lieu of fancy vacation destinations of her choice, she went on “fish-cation” every summer with her husband and boys to Bassmaster’s elite 100 fishing locations across the country. She went on mission trips to Panama, served homeless families at the church, was an adult chaperone on retreats and middle school mission trips, and served many meals at the Firehouse Shelter and First Light Shelter for Women and Children. Having come from a long line of strong women she was a tremendous women’s advocate. She had a great desire to share the love of God and always to help others. She was a wonderful friend to many. If you were lucky enough to be one, she found ways to make you feel truly special. Ellen lit up a room with her beautiful smile and her laughter. Her daily presence will be missed by so many.
Robert and the boys are so grateful for the love and support of friends throughout her illness and beyond and for the expertise, and moreover the empathy, of Dr. Burt Nabors & Dr. James Markert who walked with them through this difficult journey.
Memorial gifts may be made to:
3616 Sumatanga Road
Gallant, AL 35972