Coffman, who lives alone in the home to which he retired in 1974, mows the lawn, gardens, bakes, and does housework and repairs to stay busy. Three years ago, he put vinyl siding on his house all by himself, but has recently given up climbing ladders.
Coffman drives every day but avoids driving at night, because the glare bothers him. He recently traveled about 90 miles to Olney, Ill., to visit a relative. "Up until a couple of years ago, I (drove) to Detroit about once a year," Coffman said. "I may try that again this summer."
Traveling by car today is vastly different than in 1917, when Coffman remembers his dad coming home with the family's first automobile, an Overland 90. "Of course most of the roads were dirt, a few oiled," he recollected. "In the winter, we would have to hitch up a team of horses and pull the car out to an oiled or better road to get anywhere."
Back then, Coffman didn't need a license to drive. He didn't get one until he moved to Michigan in 1934. Today, Coffman must take a road test each time he renews his license, which the state of Illinois requires annually of drivers age 87 and older. Coffman, who has his license for next year, admits he's revved the Camaro up to 85 mph on the Interstate, but he cautions, "I'm pretty careful. I don't want to lose my license."
Coffman may be cautious, but he isn't thinking about slowing down any time soon.
Lamb recalled a recent conversation he had with his uncle. "He and I were talking, and he said, 'You know, they only made 1,500 of these cars, and if I would keep this 10 or 12 years, it will probably be worth a lot of money.' Now, from someone about 102, is that optimism or what?" Lamb asked. "I think it sums up Virgil and his outlook on life in general."