James Coates, 93


James Charles Coates died peacefully on March 23, 2021, at the age of 93 with his wife Kathleen by his side in Melbourne, Fla.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents Proctor and Irene Coates, his sister Mary Lou Ostien, and brother Harold Coates. His birth family is whole once more. Godspeed.
Survived by his one and only love of 71-plus years Kathleen (Katke) Coates, his five children James C. Coates II (Susan), Michael W. Coates (Liz), Kathleen A. Bush, Tamara L. Bourgeau, and Patricia G. Gray (Marc), 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Visitation/memorial services will be held on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at Clarkston United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. with the service to follow at 3 p.m. A private family service will be held at Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly, on Friday, May 28, 2021. Due to COVID limitations, the family is asking for an RSVP of sorts if you would like to attend one or both of the ceremonies. Please email Tricia Gray at pgsuntree1@gmail.com so the family may stay within given limits.
James, “Jim” for all that knew him, was born in Flint in October of 1927 and resided on his farm in Clarkston the majority of his life. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and trustworthy friend to so very many wonderful people.
He was a proud graduate of Michigan State College in 1951 and was an officer of his fraternity – Lambda Chi Alpha. “Go State!”
Many will remember him as a boss, colleague, leader and business man, the majority of his work life was at Michigan Bell, AT&T, which he retired from and started his own consulting company, Coates and Associates, in which he specialized in helping family business and ran the company until he was 89 years old.
He served as president of the Detroit Executive Association and vice president of the Telephone Pioneers of America. Jim supervised the ‘running of the torch’ through Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin while participating in the opening of the 1984 Olympics and riding the torch float in the 1984 Rose Bowl parade. He also helped raise funds for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, and helped in local elections and as a census supervisor.
He frequently volunteered, and Jim was volunteer of the year for 2005-06 at Lakewood Park Elementary School, Ft. Pierce, Fla., where he helped disadvantaged children (teaching underprivileged school kids was a passion). He was active as a scout and scoutmaster of Troup 27 of the Clinton Valley Council for many years. He was loved by all that had the pleasure of meeting him. He will be greatly missed.
Veteran and patriot, He was a veteran of the United States Naval Air Corp in World War II as a section leader and pilot of the Curtis SB2C-5 Helldiver. He later bought a small plane and enjoyed being a private pilot.
He was a member of Clarkston United Methodist Church and donated the old wooden cross he built from old barn beams which now sit on a hill behind the chapel. He was also a participant of the Lakewood Park Methodist Church, Ft. Pierce, Fla.
Jim enjoyed riding and raising horses, writing poetry, woodworking, building, including boats, flying and gardening. Jim dreamed of flying as a small boy and first rode in an airplane in 1935, soloed in 1943 and flew over 12,000 hours.
We are sure his last flight was on the date listed above.
Q: “Dad, how did you become so smart?” A: “All you need to do, is pay attention”.

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