Robert Coffin was born March 20, 1917 in Chelan County in north central Washington, where his mother, Lillian Peters Coffin, was a homemaker and his father, Daniel Collins, a farmer. Robert was the 10th of their 13 children.
By the time of the 1930 Census the family had moved to Yakima, where the father and an older brother were laborers on a fruit farm.
Robert enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 10, 1939, and went aboard the U.S.S. Arizona in December. He was a shipfitter and petty officer third class when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
His brother Russell, older by two years, enlisted in the Navy eight days after his death. Russell served throughout World War II and became a yeoman and petty officer first class.