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Don Coates

1935 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Don Coates Obituary
Don Coates

Naples, FL

Don Coates of Naples, a 25-year resident of SW Florida, died on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at Avow Hospice in Naples with his wife and daughter at his side. He was 82 and had received severe injuries in a fall a week earlier.

In Florida, Mr. Coates, who had a 30-year career as a New York-based jazz pianist behind him, divided his efforts between music and selling real estate. He was a solo performer at The Ritz Carlton, The Registry and numerous other venues.

Donald Denison Coates was born on March 23, 1935 in Orange, New Jersey and grew up in nearby Verona. After four years at Williams College, where he played piano with The Spring Street Stompers, he was a journalist at the Courier News in Plainfield, New Jersey and later for Look magazine. He moved to Warren, Vermont in 1968 where he continued his music and founded an advertising and public relations agency, representing clients in print, radio and television.

The Big Apple drew him back in the late seventies where he returned to playing at the city's best known jazz clubs, including Eddie Condon's, Jimmy Ryan's, The Village Corner, Peacock Alley and Hanratty's. One of his longest engagements was at Windows on the World on the top of the World Trade Center. In 1980, he was featured at the 25th anniversary party of the founding of the National Review.

Mr. Coates also appeared with numerous artists such as The Jack Teagarden Sextet, Newport Jazz Festival All-Stars, Roy Eldridge, Doc Cheatham, Ruby Braff, Warren Vache and Maxine Sullivan and the big bands of Bob Crosby, Richard Maltby and Stan Rubin. His recordings include Earle Warren and The Countsmen and the Benny Waters Quartet.

Don was a generous and supportive friend to many. His favorite pastime was golf, having played on many of the courses in Lee and Collier Counties.

He is survived by his wife LaVon Mattson of Naples, daughter Diane Kurrle from his first marriage, son-in-law Jon Kurrle and grandson Jay Kurrle of Arlington, Virginia and brothers Charles Coates of New York City and Laird Coates of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Published in Naples Daily News on May 21, 2017
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