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In Memoriam: Charlie Coe

Charlie and Marty Coe stand outside their front door
Charlie and Marty Coe, pictured at their home in 2016.

Charles K. Coe, professor emeritus of public administration, passed away on Feb. 5, 2020. 

Coe joined NC State’s public administration faculty in 1983, and served for 28 years. After retiring, he remained active within the college until his death. 

“The field of Public Administration lost a leading light and we lost a dear friend,” said Jeff Diebold, chair of the Department of Public Administration in NC State’s School of Public and International Affairs. Coe was a leading authority in his field. His work is cited frequently by other scholars in their own research and is still relied upon by practitioners nationwide. He found deep satisfaction in researching and finding workable solutions to financial challenges in local government. He also enjoyed writing books, articles and papers about his research results.

In 2011, he received the Charles H. Levine Memorial Award for Excellence in Public Administration, given jointly by the American Society for Public Administration and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. 

Over the course of his career at NC State, Coe helped prepare thousands of students to understand the budgetary process and to perform budget and financial management functions across North Carolina and around the country. 

He also mentored faculty, and was revered for both his knowledge and his kindness. “Charlie lit up the hallways with a bright smile and engaging story,” said longtime friend and colleague Rich Clerkin, a professor of public administration at NC State. “He modeled commitment to public service and how to be an excellent scholar who produces work to improve the field of practice. His mark on the growth and development of the department is as important as the deep friendships and connections he made across the faculty and staff of SPIA.”

Charlie and his wife Marty felt strongly about supporting faculty research and graduate students. They created a bequest to enhance research within NC State’s School of Public and International Affairs. 

Outside the university, the Coes worked with Marriage Encounter and with Retrouvaille, enrichment programs for marriages. They wrote a book titled Love is a Decision to help couples improve their marriages. Coe was also an active volunteer with HEC (Handicapped Encounter with Christ), a program that pairs disabled and able-bodied people for social and spiritual events.

Charlie Coe is survived by his wife Marty, his son Lincoln, his sister Cathy and six nephews.

Donations in Charlie Coe’s memory can be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284.