John Wayne Coker

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John Wayne Coker
WALTERBORO - Mr. John Wayne Coker, age 63, entered into rest Sunday morning, July 30, 2017, at his home in Walterboro.
Born January 22, 1954, in Aiken, South Carolina, he was a son of the late Haskell and Hazel McCullough Coker. Following his time at The University of South Carolina; John worked a distinguished career of thirty-two years with the South Carolina Department of National Resources in the Nongame and Endangered Species Division. Working closely with Marine Biologists and alongside supervisor and dear friend, Tom Murphy, he played an essential role in the rescue and recovery efforts of Bald Eagles and Sea Turtles. Active in the formation and continuation of many recovery programs, which led to actual rescue, his work played an essential role in seeing many of these species have a change in their conservation status of being removed from the Endangered Species List or changed in the level of threat they were currently positioned. Many of these programs that John participated in crafting went on be adopted by other states. In his efforts for research and recovery, he monitored two hundred fifty-three Bald Eagle Nests and also had two thousand seven hundred fifty-two miles of night time monitoring of alligators.
John was a beloved member and icon of The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Walterboro Lodge No. 1988, where he held membership for the past sixteen years. At the Elks Lodge, he was Past Trustee, was one of the original starters of the Lodge's Bingo, and was an extremely dedicated member.
John will always be remembered as a quiet man who possessed a great love for his family, and strong passion for the conservation of animals. Always willing to do anything he could for others, he will always be cherished as a loving husband, brother, uncle, and friend.
Surviving are: his wife, Mrs. Theda Roberts Coker; and a sister, Judy Coker Bailey and her husband Richard of Modoc, South Carolina. He is also survived by a brother-in-law, Gary Roberts and his wife Thea of Raleigh, North Carolina; a sister-in-law, Karen Roberts Mumpower and her husband Dan of Augusta, Georgia; as well as several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by a brother, Jerry Coker.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial contributions be directed in his memory to the following: Elks National Foundation for Alzheimer's Research, or to, The Randy Peters Memorial Scholarship Fund, both of these may be sent to the care of Walterboro Elks Lodge No. 1998, Post Office Box 202, Walterboro, South Carolina 29488; or to, The Hampton Wildlife Fund by sending a check to Post Office Box 2641, Columbia, South Carolina 20202 or via PayPal at Donations designated in memory of John under Instructions will support sea turtle and bald eagle conservation, two species that benefitted from John's dedication during his career with the SC Department of Natural Resources.
Arrangements by: THE BRICE W. HERNDON AND SONS FUNERAL HOMES AND CREMATORY, WALTERBORO CHAPEL, 1193 Bells Highway, Walterboro; 843.538.5408. Visit our online registry at:
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Brice W. Herndon & Sons Funeral Home
1193 Bells Highway P.O. Box 50
Walterboro, SC 29488
(843) 538-5408
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Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star on Aug. 3, 2017
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