Mr. James “Jim” Edwin Coats, age 95, of Wilkesboro passed away Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at Wilkes Health and Rehabilitation Center.
A Celebration of Life services will be held 1:00 PM Thursday, September 21, 2023 at North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church with Rev. R.C. Griffin III and Rev. Amanda Horan officiating. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the Fellowship Hall. A private Inurnment will be held at Mountlawn Memorial Park.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Doris Ellen Herndon Coats, and brothers and sisters Richard, Robert, Walter, Stanley, Helen, Joanne, Don and Norma.
He is survived by a daughter: Ellen Lipscomb and husband Bill of Wilkesboro, three sons: James “Eddie” Coats, Jr. and wife Joy of Wilmington, Cliff Coats and wife Kim of Clayton, and Mark Coats of Wallace, eight grandchildren: Jim Lipscomb, Peter Lipscomb, Seth Coats, Jerrell Coats, Allison Smith, Karl Coats, Johanna Hux, and Leni Coats; ten great grandchildren: Claire Lipscomb, Jakob Lipscomb, Henry Lipscomb, Kayne Coats, Mallory Woodall, Gavin Smith, Eason Smith, Gunnar Hux, Dominick Coats, and Roman Coats; three sisters: Thelma Weeks and husband John of Eloy, AZ, Leona Schmitter of Millington, MI, Dora “Dodie” Hazelwood of Spring Hill, TN, and a brother: Jerry Coats and wife Audrey of Chesaning, MI.
Jim was born July 19, 1928 in Flint, MI to Clifford and Isabella Hanks Coats. While Jim was a young boy, the family moved from Flint to a farm in Vassar, Michigan. Over the years, Jim shared numerous anecdotes and amusing stories about growing up on a Michigan farm in a large family.
Upon graduation from Vassar High School in 1946, Jim enlisted in the US Marine Corps, serving until being honorably discharged in 1948, when he enlisted in the US Army Paratroopers for a 4-year tour of duty. After honorably completing his military service in 1952, using GI benefits, he enrolled in Belmont College (now Belmont University) and was graduated in 1959 with a B.S. degree in Education. Later in life, he obtained a
Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina in 1972, the same year daughter Ellen graduated from college.
Meanwhile, while in the Army stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, Jim met and courted student nurse Doris Herndon. They were married in Fayetteville, NC, on March 2, 1952, and were married for almost 59 years until Doris’s death in 2011 from Alzheimer’s disease.
Jim had a heart and vocation for service to and compassion for people in need, which led to his long career as a social worker, first as a counselor with the NC Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and later with several NC counties as a social worker and eventually county Social Services Director. When he retired in June, 1989, Jim was the Director of Social Services in Wayne County, NC.
Jim will be remembered as a kind, gentle, and genial man, quick with a smile and a corny joke when the occasion presented itself, but always other-focused. He was tender-hearted and compassionate, generous with his time and resources. He was a faithful and loving husband, a gentle and tender father, a fun-loving and playful grandfather, and favorite uncle to his many nieces and nephews. A staunch UNC basketball fan, Jim enjoyed all things Carolina blue. His favorite “season” of the year was March Madness, but only if his beloved Tar Heels were in the mix.
Flowers will be accepted, or memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 4600 Park Road, Suite 250, Charlotte, NC 28209.
Online condolences may be made to www.reinssturdivant.com.
4600 Park Road Suite 250, Charlotte NC 28209