James Allen Coates was born on April 13, 1927 at home in Francis, Oklahoma, to Charles (Clara) William Coates and Mary Elizabeth Sullivan Coates.
He was the youngest of four boys: Harry Edward Coates, Sr.; Howard Arnold Coates; and Charles Anderson Coates.
James moved beyond our sight and hearing on January 30, 2020, the exact date of his 73rd wedding anniversary to his precious wife, Billye.
James attended rural Seminole County schools and was graduated from Varnum High School in 1944.
His first full-time job was with Sim’s Candy Company, delivering candy and tobacco products. It was through his delivery to Rexall Drug store in Seminole that he met his sweetheart, Billye Ruth Jennings; they married January 30, 1947 and had two children James Allen (Jim) Coates, Jr. and Vicki Ann.
After a stint selling men’s clothing at J.C. Penney’s in Oklahoma City and Kirtley’s Men’s Wear in Seminole, he decided to enter the life insurance business and became an agent for Great Southern Life Insurance. He later became a general agent, representing many life and health insurance companies. His success with Great Southern Life afforded James and Billye the opportunity to travel to many countries and scenic locales, including Hawaii, Jamaica, Monte Carlo, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, France and Great Britain.
James’ close association with James and Ellen Wall and the Newton Wall Company led him to obtain a real estate broker’s license. He greatly enjoyed handling commercial property for the Wall Company as well as founding an agency with several associate realtors.
One of his greatest personal accomplishments was memorization of more than a dozen lengthy poems, and scripture passages, including the Sermon on the Mount and the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians.
James followed the example of his oldest brother, Harry, when in 1934, Harry made a decision to follow Christ during a summer revival meeting.
All four boys were baptized in a farm pond that Sunday afternoon. James committed his life to Christ and never wavered from that commitment. His life’s journey through the depression of the 1930s and his allegiance to Jesus Christ molded this man into a gentle, caring servant, always putting Christ first place in his life, others second, and himself last.
James and Billye taught a Young Adult Sunday School class at First Baptist Church Seminole for many years. James also served as a deacon and as the Educational Director for FBC during the tenure of his friend and pastor, Dr. Bob Woods. His last leadership position was as associate campaign director of the steering committee which planned and built the new FBC church on Reid Street in Seminole.
His family—wife Billye, who passed away December 29, 2014; his children Jim and wife Tena Coates, Vicki and husband Rev. Richard Angell; his grandchildren Jill (Coates) Mitchell and husband Roy, Jeff Coates, David Garrett and Michael Franklin; and his great-grandchildren Madeline, Lydia and Harrison Mitchell and Nixen Garrett—hold dear the memory of this loving and saintly man, a fine example of a man known for great inner strength and moral character.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of James will be held at 2:00 p.m., February 7, 2020 at First Baptist Church, Seminole, Oklahoma, 420 Reid Street. Rev. Richard Angell, James’ son-in-law, will be officiating.
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