Dorothy Bernice Coates

October 6, 1924February 24, 2022
Obituary of Dorothy Bernice Coates
John & Hannah Krug Schmer welcomed Dorothy Bernice Schmer on October 6, 1924, in Denver, CO. Hannah passed away shortly after giving birth, and Dorothy’s father moved them to Kansas to live on a farm with her grandfather. Her schooling included Diamond School #8 (a one-room schoolhouse), Brezee Nazarene Academy, and Miltonvale Wesleyan Academy. She was working in Denver when she met Wilbur Winston Coates at a music program. Wilbur was a member of a college quartet representing Miltonvale Wesleyan College. They married on August 20, 1945, and moved to Marion, IN, where they welcomed their first son, John Ernest. Wilbur received his Bachelor of Religion from Marion College, and soon they accepted a call to pastor the Ancell Wesleyan Church in what is now Scott City, Missouri. They served that community for nine years and welcomed three more children: Marilyn Elaine, Wilbur Wesley, and Paul Edward. Dorothy developed psoriasis that required gentler climes, and the family moved to Largo, FL, in 1956. Together, they would minister to various Florida communities for next 58 years. They were at Pinellas Park Wesleyan Church for 17 years, through three building projects. They birthed Hope Wesleyan Church in Naples and were there for 14 years. In 1988, they brought Diplomat Wesleyan Church to life in Cape Coral. Finally, they pastored a daughter church at Serendipity Mobile Home Park for 19 years. Dorothy’s passion for music was evident to all who knew her – teaching locally and playing for the church. But in her mid-life, she furthered her knowledge by traveling for advanced music schooling in St. Louis. Then in December 1971, Wilbur and Dorothy lost 19-year-old son Wesley in an accident in Siloam Springs, AR. Amazingly, they weathered the storm, held fast by their faith in the Lord with the support of an abundant Christian community. Dorothy and Wilbur feel their hope in Christ, their dependence on each other, and their commitment to the Wesleyan Church have kept them strong through it all: “God has been good! His grace has been sufficient for every situation.” At 97, Dorothy Bernice Coates passed away peacefully to meet her Savior on February 24 at 11:48 PM. She is survived by her husband Wilbur of 76 years, son John & Marty Coates (Nashville, TN), daughter Marilyn & Gordon Acton (North Fort Myers, FL) with whom they lived, and son Paul & Janet Coates (Winston Salem, NC). She has ten grandchildren and eighteen great grandchildren. Her memorial service is on March 5, 2022 at 3 PM at Villas Wesleyan Church, 8400 Beacon Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the Diplomat Wesleyan Church Building Fund, 1833 Diplomat Parkway E., Cape Coral, FL. She considered any person she met a member of the family of God and gave her time and energy to caring for anyone in need of grace. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Coates family.

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