Coffield Avenue

This street on which Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church sits was named for its onetime pastor John Vincent Coffield (1914-2005). The Indianapolis native came to Los Angeles with his family around 1930, but towards the end of the decade they were in El Paso, TX. The Coffields moved to Santa Monica by 1940 – mom was widowed, but it seems dad had left the family a few years earlier – and Coffield was ordained there in 1941. He relocated to El Monte in 1943 and spent years at Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Coffield Ave. was named by 1954.) An outspoken social activist who reportedly marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and was a good friend of Cesar Chavez, Rev. Coffield went into self-imposed exile in 1964 to protest the passage of California’s racially discriminatory Proposition 14. (Specifically he was protesting the L.A. Archdiocese, who had told him to shut up about racism.) When Prop. 14 was ruled unconstitutional in 1968, Coffield returned. He spent his final years holding mass in Santa Ana, then at Dana Point. In 2002, Coffield was accused of having molested a boy in the early 1960s at Dolores Mission Church in Boyle Heights. The case did not advance.