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1935 - 2020
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AILEEN COATES, MD Doctor, psychotherapist, writer, botanist, volunteer, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. It is with profound sadness that we share the passing of Aileen Euphemia Horrell Coates, who died December 4, 2020 at her Oakville home surrounded by her loving family. Aileen was born July 29, 1935 in Dundalk, Ontario, daughter of the late Winnifred (née Mason) and Stuart Porter. She will be deeply mourned by her beloved husband of 63 years Keith Coates, daughter Mary Kay (Brian Grolla), son John (Catherine Graham), grandsons Samuel Grolla (Kitty Ibele) and Nigel Grolla, sister Winnifred Miller (d. Earl), in-laws Meredith Coates (Barb), Lenore Pristol (d. Henry) and many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her brothers Tom (Doreen) and Jim (Myrle) Porter. Aileen also suffered the tragic losses of her eldest son Robert Coates (Karen Saunders), who died at the age of 43 in 2002 and grandson Marlon Grolla, who died age 26 in 2016. Throughout her life Aileen possessed a deep love of nature and desire to help others. Growing up on the Dundalk family farm, she learned the wonders of life and the innate goodness of others. Graduating from Jarvis Collegiate, she immediately entered Medical School at the University of Toronto, emerging one month shy of her 23rd birthday in 1958 as a full-fledged medical doctor. For 24 years, she was a dedicated company physician for Bell Canada while simultaneously finding the time and energy with Keith to raise three spirited children. In her late 40's, she moved from the world of physical medicine into that of psychotherapy. After additional training, she practiced as a G.P. psychotherapist in Mississauga until her retirement in 1993. It was during this "third stage" of life that Aileen's other passions truly blossomed. Spending summers with Keith, her family and various guests at the beloved family cottage on Lake Kashagawigamog in Haliburton, she nurtured her love for nature: birds, wildflowers and especially ferns, becoming known as the 'Fern Lady' in local nature groups. Winters she and Keith traveled extensively and also enjoyed Scottish country dancing with groups in both Haliburton and Oakville. This lifetime of remarkable experiences served Aileen well in her other retirement pursuit: creative writing. Childhood vignettes, short fictions and autobiographical stories flowed from her pen. She was a devoted member of various writing groups. Keith and Aileen were long-time members of St. Simon's Anglican Church in Oakville. Aileen had a love of music, a quick sense of humour and great compassion for all she met, always ready with a listening ear. She maintained many long friendships and will be missed by all who knew her. The family would like to thank the palliative care team from Oakville LHIN for their care and compassion, especially Jeannie and Dolly. Present circumstances prevent us from gathering in person to remember Aileen, but friends and family are encouraged to leave their remembrances at Circle of Life Dundas. Memorial donations may be made to Haliburton Highlands Hospital (, Haliburton Land Trust ( or any charity that helps preserve and enhance nature. Cremation has taken place. Aileen's ashes will be interred at the Ingoldsby Pioneer Cemetery next summer. Aileen's final wish was to remind friends and family to find time to enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature, where, when and in whatever manner they can. Condolences, memories and photos may be left at

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Published in The Globe and Mail from Dec. 7 to Dec. 11, 2020.
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December 12, 2020
Dear Keith, Mary Kay and John, Our deepest sympathies for your great loss. Aileen was indeed a very special person, a good neighbour and a wise physician. I too share her love of nature and will make a donation in her name to the Riverwood Conservancy, here in Mississauga. Our thoughts are with you. Allan and Carolyn, Peter and Lisa
Carolyn Sherk
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