Katie Virginia Schwab Coiner Katie Virginia Schwab Coiner passed away, surrounded by her adoring family, on Sunday, February 3, 2013, at her residence at the Colonnades in Charlottesville. Katie was born on September 16, 1916, in Warrenton, Virginia, to Lucie Ann MacDonald and Maurice Schwab. She spent her childhood and early adult years in Warrenton. In 1937, she married Horace "Jerry" Austin and they soon moved to Washington, D.C. In 1940, Jerry was drafted into the United States Army and he never returned. Katie worked in the audit office of Woodworth and Lothrop Department Store in Washington. Later she went to work for the United States Government in the War Production Board. In 1947, she married David T. Coiner who had recently returned from the European Theater of the War and was stationed at the Pentagon. He passed away in 2003. Katie is survived by two sons, Stephen and his wife, Ruth, of Lexington, Virginia, and Charles of Miami, Florida. She is also survived by three grandchildren, Kathy and husband, Adam Miller, of Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, Lorrie of Afton, Virginia, and Michael of Cary, North Carolina; and two great-grandchildren, Savannah Ashton Miller and Nathan Charles Miller. Katie lived in many places which included Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Fort Bliss, Texas, and Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. In 1953, David received orders to go to Korea for a year. Katie and her sons remained in Waynesboro. At the end of the year, David had orders to go to Tokyo, Japan. Katie and the boys flew to Seattle, Washington, and boarded a troop ship for the Orient. They lived in Tokyo for two years on a military complex, Washington Heights. While Katie was in Japan she studied flower arranging under Micho Kasyua, the founder and head master of the Ichiyo School. She also took cooking classes in Oriental cooking from the Benedictine Sisters. After she returned to the States she shared her knowledge of flower arranging with many garden clubs from Monteray to Natural Bridge and from Emporia to Harrisonburg. In 1956, they moved from Tokyo to Blacksburg, Virginia where David taught military sciences and tactics at Virginia Tech. From there they moved back to Washington, D.C. In 1961, David retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel and they moved to Staunton, Virginia. Katie was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church. During her 30 years there, she was a very active member. She served as a member of the Circle Committee, Flower Committee, Personal Faith and Family Life, President of Women of the Church (W.O.C.). Katie was on the Board of Union Theology Seminary of Richmond, Virginia. She was Vice President of the Lexington presbytery which later became Shenandoah Presbytery. In 1980 she was honored by the W.O.C. with a Life Membership. She served as a Deacon and Elder at Covenant. In 1975-1976 she taught classes on Flower Arranging in the Church at Massanetta Sprngs Women's Conference. In Staunton, Katie was an active member of the Clean City committee, Beautification Committee and on the Board of the Meals on Wheels program. She was a member of the College Park Garden Club and served as it's President many times in the 30 years. She was a member of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs and served on the District Board as State Life Membership Committee, Hospitality Committee, Civic Development, Life Membership, Garden Pilgrimages National and Permanent Homes and State Headquarters Fund Committee. In 1991, she and David moved to the Colonnades where she was active in many things including introducing fresh flowers in public areas of the Colonnades. Her lifetime love affair with flowers truly blossomed in this time period and she was lovingly known to all of the over 300 residents whose days she brightened as "The Flower Lady". Katie joined Olivet Presbyterian Church soon after she moved and was active in the church circle until her illness in 2006. Katie was always helping others and continued even in her death. She willed her body to be used for research to find a cure for others. A reception for Katie's neighbors will be held 10 a.m. Friday, March 8, 2013, at the Colonnades and a memorial service to celebrate Katie's life will be held at Olivet Presbyterian Church, 2575 Garth Road, Charlottesville, at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2013. As an alternative to flowers, donations can be made in Katie's name to Olivet Presbyterian Church and the American Cancer Society.
This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.