After 40 years of humble and dedicated servitude to our Lord and Savior, Rev. Charles W. Coats entered into his heavenly home with Jesus on October 5, 2012 at the age of 82. His son, Charles Marshall Coats, preceded him in death along with parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Coats; brothers, Louis "Bud" Coats, Tommy Coats; and sisters, Mary Dunn and Clara Gibbs.
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Charles Coats was born on March 19, 1930 in Harnett County, N.C. to Godly parents, Dewey Marshall Coats and Rhoda Gladys Babbs Coats. He spent much of his youth farming and later married his high school sweetheart Alice Peede (Coats). During his mid 20's he felt a calling from the Lord to enter into the ministry. In pursuit of his calling, he attended and graduated from Campbell University in 1959 and Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia in 1962. Upon graduation from Seminary, he received one of the most honorary student awards possible for exemplifying "the highest Christian ideals and standards." Rev. Coats served as a Presbyterian Minister at Little River Church, Hurdle Mills, N.C. (1962-1963); Speedwell Church, Reidsville, N.C. (1963-1969); McQuay Church, Charlotte, N.C. (1969-1972); and Englewood Church, Rocky Mount, N.C. (1973-1995). After 22 years of dedicated service to Englewood Presbyterian Church, he received the honorary title of Pastor Emeritus. During his retirement, he served as an interim pastor of Littleton Presbyterian Church and Macclesfield Presbyterian Church. Also after retirement, Rev. Coats took pride in working with his son, Dr. Charles Marshall Coats for several years at Coats Veterinary Hospital in Rocky Mount.
Reverend Coats loved the Lord and served Jesus faithfully in every community that he was a part of. Above all of this, he was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend to every member of his family and his wife's family (whom he claimed as his own). It was well known that Rev. Coats was genuinely concerned about the immediate physical needs and spiritual salvation of every person he came in contact with, which often included complete strangers. This was evident through his work in the church and with his many community roles with: Nash General Hospital Chaplain Program, Rocky Mount Minister Fellowship (President), Cub Master, Billy Graham Crusade Counselor, Breakfast Optimist Club, Presbytery General Assembly (Moderator). In addition, Rev. Coats was instrumental in the development of the Rocky Mount Pregnancy Center and United Community Ministries in Rocky Mount. Rev. Coats stood firm to God's word in his efforts to reach the entire community of Rocky Mount. This was particularly evident through his radio devotions with W.E.E.D. Radio for seven years and through his newspaper columns with The Rocky Mount Telegram for 12 years. In 1991, Rev. Coats compiled some of his most memorable newspaper articles by authoring a book entitled: "Contemporary Words for God's People."
Throughout his life, Rev. Coats made consistent contributions to The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Barium Springs Orphanage, Salvation Army, Bible Broadcasting Network, and World Vision. Known as a humble and hardworking man, Rev. Coats passionately preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. He often wrote about the joy he experienced when proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and preaching about the unsearchable riches of God's love to God's people Sunday after Sunday. Rev. Coats loved his work and summed up his thoughts early in his career on March 23, 1962 by writing, "No greater compliment can be paid to a man than to be called to serve as a pastor of a church." It must be said that Charles Coats truly lived by the motto that hangs this very day in his study: "Live so when you're gone it would have mattered."
Rev. Coats leaves behind his loving and dedicated wife of 62 years, Alice Peede Coats; sisters, Lou Griffis and Barbara Wallace; sisters-in-law, Marie Young, Dorcas Stephenson; loving children, Vicki Hill, Cindy Batchelor, Marsha Winstead; loving daughter-in-law, Beth Coats; sons-in-laws, Gene Hill, Doug Batchelor, and Dale Winstead; grandchildren, Allison Drum, Kevin Hill, April Batchelor, Alan Batchelor, Will Winstead, Laura Winstead, John Charles (J.C.) Coats; and great-grandchild, Cameron Hunt. Charles Coats will be missed beyond words by his family and those who have had the incredible opportunity to know him. May his life continue to inspire us all into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Christ. Never forgotten, Charles will remain in our hearts forever.
The family will receive friends and family from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, October, 08, 2012 at Englewood Presbyterian Church. A service to honor and remember Rev. Coats will follow the visitation at 3:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of Englewood Presbyterian Church with Rev. Robert Westlund presiding. Burial will follow at Rocky Mount Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The
(alz.org) or Englewood Presbyterian Church, 100 Englewood Drive, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Hospice of Nash General and his nursing care providers: Linda Neville, Meshika Joyner, James White, Malinda Lynch, Dorothy Barnes and Estelle Cooper who lovingly and compassionately cared for him during his illness for 18 months.
Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler and Woodlief Funeral Home, 1130 North Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting www.wheelerwoodlief.com.
Published in Rocky Mount Telegram on Oct. 7, 2012