By Emily J. Minor
BRINY BREEZES — Alma Coir, who began coming to Briny Breezes in the 1940s when the view out the car window was citrus and cattle, died March 10 after a brief illness. Many town residents grew to know her for her love of reading and, near the end, she spent many hours on the porch, a book in hand, a dog on her lap. Mrs. Coir was 93.
Born in Germany on Aug. 16, 1924, she was the daughter of Dorothea and Wilhelm Gnosa, who moved to the United States very soon after Mrs. Coir was born. The couple chose to settle in rural Michigan because Mrs. Coir’s mother had a brother there. A farm girl who wore homemade dresses, Mrs. Coir often told her children about the one-room school she had attended.
“She’d often remember being in the third grade and hearing the 12th-grade students get their exercises,” said her son Mark Coir.
When she got home from school, her parents made a point of sitting with her and her older sister as they learned English and other subjects from the day.
Later, in middle school, the family moved to Detroit, where Mrs. Coir attended the now-defunct Thomas M. Cooley High School. When she graduated in 1942, she had already met her future husband, Donald Coir, a tool and die worker at Burroughs Corp. Later, Mr. Coir — who died in 2002 at the age of 84 — became an engineer at Burroughs, which manufactured adding machines, typewriters and eventually computers.
It was Donald Coir who brought Alma Coir to Briny; his parents had discovered the simple beauty of this oceanside campground a few years before the couple’s marriage. After Mr. Coir’s parents died, Donald and Alma Coir bought into Briny Breezes in 1983.
Mark Coir’s father didn’t live long enough to know about the development offer that almost made many Briny Breezes residents millionaires. The 2007 deal never came through. But Mrs. Coir certainly remembered that, said her son, and it was just one of the many excitements she handled with care and deliberation, he said.
“She was a very kind, compassionate and wise woman,” he said. “She knew how to serve counsel within the family and to keep confidences. That’s a very unusual thing.”
For the most part, the family spent its growing years in Novi, northwest of Detroit, but there were plenty of road trips to Florida when Mark Coir and his three siblings were kids.
“It was a different Florida,” he said. “We would see those big houses along A1A and wonder about all that money.
“As we got older and more sophisticated and traveled the world, we became more wise and realized that Briny was very unique.”
After her husband died, Mrs. Coir told her kids she wasn’t going to Briny any more. But the very next year she “went a little early and stayed a little longer,” he said. Her last months were spent in the oceanside park she’d come to love, he said.
In addition to Mark Coir and his partner Diane Schmale, who live near Jacksonville, Mrs. Coir is survived by daughter Kathlyn and her husband, Doug Weier, of Connecticut, who are well known in Briny Breezes; son Ronald and his wife, Sandie, of Michigan; and daughter Doris Hambacher of Chicago.
Seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren also survive her.
Mrs. Coir was cremated, and services were held March 27 at the Briny Breezes clubhouse. The family asks that Mrs. Coir’s favorite charities be considered for memorials: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Guide Dogs for the Blind.