Alvin Richmond "Dick" Coats, 84, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, at Farmington Square of Medford. He was born on July 31, 1927, in Phoenix, Ore., the youngest of four children born to parents, George Coats and Bertha Ackley Coats.
Dick attended Washington Elementary in Medford, Butte Falls and graduated from Seaside High School in Seaside, Ore. in 1945. Dick played football at Seaside and was a member of the 1943 team inducted into the Seaside Hall of Fame in September 2008. In school, Dick was president of his senior class and was very popular. Upon his graduation, he joined the Army and was in the Military Police Detachment No.2 at the then secret Handford Atomic Richland Reservation in Washington State until his discharge in 1947. In fact, his duty was guarding the Atomic Bombs used to end the war.
Dick started his business career at the age of six, selling newspapers and magazines. Later, he worked as a logger along with his father and uncle Alvin, also working as a timber scaler for Charlie Skeeter Logging in 1950. Upon returning to Medford, he worked as a beer salesman for McDonald Candy Company, and Hayes Distribution Company of Medford. In 1960, Frank Gritsch, Lloyd Johnson and Dick formed FLD Wholesale Beer & Wine Dist. Co. They ran a successful company until selling it in 1985. He made lifelong friends throughout his business career.
Dick married Gertrude Lewis on June 23, 1951. During their sixty years of marriage they raised four sons, who he cherished. Even with long hours, Dick never failed to attend their Sacred Heart and St. Mary's school activities and sporting events. These years and the friends that he met were some of the most enjoyable of his life. Dick was a sweet, honest, funny, kind, giving and lovable man with never a bad word to say about anyone. He was always a friend to all, and he never knew a stranger.
After retirement, Dick and Gert spent the next 20 years traveling and spending their winters in Tri Palm Estates in Tri Palms, Calif. They made many new friends there and it was a favorite vacation spot for the family.
Dick spent the last ten years suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's. He faced this disease always with a smile, gentleness, friendliness, and a great sense of humor.
The family wishes to thank his caregivers at Farmington Square for their loving care they gave to Dick. He loved them all. A special thanks to Jim Lewis and Ed Martell who gave countless hours of care, comfort and support to Dick during his illness.
Dick is preceded in death by his three siblings, Eugene Coats, Evelyn Tank, and Georgie Johnson, and numerous nephews and nieces.
Dick is survived by his wife; sons, Daniel (Jan), of Bothell, Wash., Thomas (Cindy), of Palm Desert, Calif., Jeffrey (Kathy), Sammamish, Wash., and John (Gina), of Seattle, Wash.; 10 grandchildren, Aaron, Andy, Marc, Ryan, Kristy, Katie Ann, Kelly, Alexander, and Anthony Coats, Matt Borgen; and six great-grandchildren, Emma Lou, Brenden, Michaela, Amelia Coats, and Ena Grace and Elizabeth Borgen.
Funeral Arrangements were made by Rogue Valley Funeral Alternatives. A Mass will be held on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Medford. A private burial will be held at Phoenix, Ore. Cemetery at a later date. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to St. Mary's School Athletic Department, 816 Black Oak Drive, Medford, OR 97504 or Jackson County Special Olympics, P.O. Box 403, Talent, OR 97540.