Rev. George Alger Coates : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Rev. George Alger Coates DECATUR -- The Reverend George Alger Coates was the son of George Henry and Garnett Boyd Coates. He was born July 29, 1926 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He completed his primary and secondary education in Windsor before attending Assumption College in Windsor and graduating from Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Monrovia College, Monrovia Liberia West Africa. Rev. Coates was united in Holy Matrimony to Lillian A. Morgan on September 22, 1956. To this union there were four sons, Gary, George, Wendell and Aaron.

Services will be 11 a.m. Saturday in First United Methodist Church, 201 W. North St., with a 7 p.m. Memorial service. Visitation will be noon to 7 p.m. Friday in St. Peter A.M.E. Church, 515 S. Church St. Burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery. Memorials: The Marland Elliott Scholarship Fund of St. Peter's A.M.E. Church.

After being ordained an itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, his first assignment was to Highland A.M.E. Church in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. Under his leadership, extensive repairs were made to the church structure. While in Nova Scotia, he pastored some outlying congregations and was actively involved in the community. From Nova Scotia, Rev. Coates was assigned to Tanner A.M.E. Church in Windsor. A new church and parsonage were completed and the mortgage burned during his tenure.

Rev. Coates arrived in Decatur, Illinois from Windsor in 1970 to serve as pastor of St. Peter's A.M.E. Church and was given orders for the thirty-fourth time in September, 2003 at the Illinois Annual Conference to return to St. Peter's. Under his guidance, an educational building that had been a long time dream for the congregation became a reality, renovations were made to the lower level of the original structure, the sanctuary was made handicap accessible with the installation of an elevator and the mortgage has been burned. Establishment of the Marland Elliott Scholarship Fund which has given thousands of dollars to assist those within the church seeking to further their education, an additional church parking lot and restoration of the pipe organ can also be credited to his leadership.

For a number of years he conducted Bible studies at the YWCA, and assisted with the Summer Park Worship services in Fairview Park. Since his arrival in Decatur, he has been an active participant with the Ecumenical Lenten and Good Friday services which has brought about understanding and fellowship among the participating churches. He has been instrumental in having the church to co-sponsor a weekly food pantry with a neighboring church and to be a participating congregation with the Faith in Action Program of Macon County.

He has served on the Board of One Church One Child and in 1999 members of the United States Congress selected him as an "Angel in Adoption". Because of his love of children and interest in their education, Rev. Coates has gone into the schools over the years to follow up on problems that students were having; he worked to increase the number of black teachers in the schools and to have minorities placed in leadership positions within District 61.

He was a member of the Rotary and a former Mason and Shriner. Rev. Coates departed for his heavenly home at 4:40 a.m. on Saturday, December 6, 2003. He leaves to cherish fond and happy memories his wife, Lillian; sons, George Jr. (Gwen dolyn) of Decatur, Attorney Wendell (Jestine) and Dr. Aaron (Dr. LaKimberly) of Rockford; grandchildren, Jessica, Kendell, Morgan, Cameron, Jordan of Rockford, George Kalin and Genae of Decatur; sisters, Lorraine Gibbs of New York, Barbara (Roy) De Shields of Regina Saskatchewan, Sharron (Clarence) Guienze of New Jersey and Judy (Richard) Coleman of Michigan; "adopted sons", Tony Holly of Bloomington and Lamont Chambliss of Florida; nieces, nephews, relatives, the St. Peter's Church Family and friends. A son, Gary, his parents and two sisters, Betty and Gwendolyn preceded him in death.

Obituary written by family members Published in the Decatur Herald & Review on 12/10/2003.

-- Anonymous, December 10, 2003

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