Albert Edward COATE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
- Born: 5 Mar 1913, Middletown, Butler, OH, USA 2 8
- Marriage: Marcena Irene CLARK on 3 Nov 1950 in Trenton, Butler, OH, USA
- Died: 17 Jan 2000, Columbus, Franklin, OH at age 86 9 10
- Buried: 22 Jan 2000, Blendon Central Cemetery, Westerville, Franklin, OH, USA
Al Coate was a unique individual. He grew up before the depression and helped support his mother during it. He read an entire encyclopedia from cover to cover as a child. His mind was excellent at retaining minute facts. He rated amongst the top 3 students in the state whenever they took statewide tests in high school. He went to Miami University and was the first man to major in Home Economics (Liberal Arts) there. He lived in a lean-to unheated barn while at Miami. He did not graduate, but when money permitted returned to work as a Home Economics major at Ohio State University specializing in Institutional Management. Apparently his credits didn't transfer and he basically had to start school over again at OSU. An article about him in the OSU "Undergraduate Scene" Magazine says that he tried journalism and architecture before taking the plunge into Home Economics. (C-292, 470) He hoped to be a chef or restaurant manager upon graduation. He was hired as a chef at Minerva Park Golf Course in Columbus, Ohio while he attended O.S.U. Although he entered his senior year at Ohio State University, he was unable to finish due to a very serious kidney infection in 1938. Upon an operation where doctors removed 2 kidneys, he had to thank a birth defect that had given him 3 kidneys to his saved life.
He was destitute by this time and left school. He moved west in search of new opportunities. During World War II, he was hired as a Camp Stewart for the men constructing the Alcon Highway in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Alaska. It was the first highway in Alaska, and my father claims to be the first hitchhiker on the highway when he went south to see his brother, Ben, off to war.
Later in the war he moved to Long Beach, California where he had a job in an aircraft factory followed by employment in a ship building firm. His brother Ben lived in California at the time, and he would visit them. While he was in California, he met Marcena Clark for the first time. It was in a group setting where she was with another gentleman named Phil. They barely knew each other from this meeting.
After the war, he became a navy civil service employee on Guam in 1948. He worked as a sign painter. He has very fond memories of his time in Guam. One of his favorite stories from this time period was his near death experience with quick sand. He was on his way to the Post Office on the other side of the island when he stepped into the muck. He realized as he was sinking that no one knew where he was and that his family would never know what happened to him. When he'd sunk clear to his shoulders he stretched out his arms and then pulled himself out by his elbows. By the time he made it to the Post Office, he was dry!
He returned to Trenton, Ohio after this service, where a meeting was again arranged by Audrey and John Amstutz between he and Marcena Irene Clark who was now living in Hamilton, Ohio They got along fairly well but parted because Marcena was on her way to school in Michigan and Al was taking his mother and sister to North Carolina to visit Marahelen, his oldest sister. When they were introduced for a third time in Oct. 1950 by Audrey and John Amstutz, they grew close quickly and were married 5 weeks and 2 days later. Dad insisted upon the short courtship, because he had been strung along for 5 years in a previous engagement in California, making him decide that the opposite was better.
He moved into my mother's apartment in Hamilton, Ohio. He was employed as a floor sander by his brother Bob at the time. I have pay stubs in 1953 when he was making about $70.00 a week working for his brother. When Bob moved to Columbus, OH to become a home builder, Mom offered her teacher's retirement fund to help him buy the floor sanding business. He was known for his high quality work, but it was a very strenuous job. He too desired to become a home builder. We moved from Hamilton, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio in about 1964 so that he could try his hand at home building. His brother, Warren, helped to teach him the ropes. He became known for his high quality custom homes. He was the first builder to introduce the Spanish style home to Columbus for the middle class home owner. He called his houses "Pacesetter Homes". This was often the case as many Columbus houses were copied after his. My favorites of his were these Spanish homes with court yards and his beautiful contemporaries. Al Coate was the chairman of the (Columbus) Parade of Homes in 1970 when it was located at the Gables Subdivision at Godown and Bethel Roads. (DOC-C:) The fact that he was one of 5 brothers, all connected to the Home Building Industry in Columbus, Ohio is noted in a BIA newsletter in 1972. (DOC-C:) Many of his homes are featured in newspaper articles that are in my Coate Document files. If the court house deed records are checked it will be evident that we lived in many of these houses while I was growing up. Our homes were always just one more of his houses that were for sale. It kept the money flowing in those days. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience.
My father was a very creative person. He oil painted nature and still life scenes. Many of his paintings are spread throughout the family. He gave both my brother and I lessons in oil painting. He loved to bake deserts. He won first prize for a raspberry cake of his own creation in a Columbus Dispatch cooking contest. He truly enjoyed traveling and was fun to travel with. He claimed to have visited all but 5 of the states in the U.S. and most fondly remembers his trips to Japan after World War II and to Europe with my mother on a BIA tour. He loved playing games and working puzzles with us throughout our lives. I remember a Christmas with great fondness where he bought thousands of beads and Styrofoam balls and we all sat around in the evenings making ornaments which decorated our tree that year. He enjoyed photography. He was a self taught piano player, and would sit down on the piano and play a couple tunes from memory over the years. He grew roses and gained great pleasure telling us their names, buying new ones annually until his last year of life and having fresh cut flower arrangements in his home throughout each summer. My brother and I both continue this tradition.
My father sadly spent his last 20 plus years in retirement in poor health. He lived two years longer than his ancestor, Marmaduke Coate. He had paid $149,575.98 in Social Security in his lifetime from 1937-1977. He was an avid storyteller, much like his mother was. He had the wonderfully friendly nature of his father. He luckily got to see two of his grandchildren grow to near adulthood and see his youngest grandson grow to age 5. They were a significant source of pleasure for him.
His encyclopedia like memory of the Coate family history which went back to Marmaduke Coate was what originally interested me in learning about our family tree. He once started a biographical story of his life which is included herein, short but sweet.
"The first time that I can recall occurred when I was only one year old. (I say recall, for I am not sure whether it is actual memory or a picture instilled in my mind by oft told stories.) We lived in Amanda, a little town of a hundred or so souls about two miles south of Middletown, Ohio. It was a little white frame house across the road from the brick school house.
Mom and Dad had been married only a few years, and the only other child in the family was my sister Marahelen, two years older than I. Dad worked in the mill as Armco Steel was known locally. Dad had a spring wagon pulled by an old white horse, as our only means of transportation. There was a great commotion with people milling around the old horse, who lay dying. She had just been shot after having fallen in a gravel pit and broken her leg.
We have a picture of my sister Marahelen and I sitting on the back of the old critter, both looking scared to death, with me hugging her for dear life.
Dad had bought the animal with the belief that she was a spirited animal, but the story goes that within a short time she ran out of spirit and energy, as well, and was really quite a tired and almost listless creature; apparently she had been doped and the effect had worn off.
She did show some spirit one day, when Mom decided to drive old Dolly over to the mill to pick up Dad when he got off work... So she loaded up us two kids in the spring wagon and hitched up Dolly and took off. Mom having been brought up in the city (Dayton) was not accustomed to driving a horse. A passing train frightened old Dolly and she took off running. The more Mom pulled on the reigns and the more she screamed, the faster the horse ran, it seemed.. At any rate when they passed the gate of the mill, Dad stood there with mouth agape while Mom and we kids streamed by all yelling and waving for help. A passerby succeeded in grabbing the reigns and bringing old Dolly to a halt some half mile down the road..
Dad was a country boy, having been born and raised on a farm near Ludlow Falls, Ohio in Miami County, where his Quaker ancestors had settled a century earlier, but that is another story. So dad within inherited instincts was a man of the soil, and always had a garden as long as he lived.. There in Amanda, he raised several acres of truck garden. What they could not eat Mom canned or sold in Middletown. Dad would start out in a summer morning with a wagon load of sweet corn, or roasting ears as we called them shucking them through the streets calling out his wares. He started out selling them at a dime a dozen but as the day wore on he reduced the price to a nickel to dispose of it all.
Oft times he had company or help from my Uncle Albert Stevens, Mom's brother (born on the same day as Dad) or my Uncle Harry Ritter, husband of Mom's sister, Keturah. Many times on the week end Uncle and Aunt Stell or Uncle Harry and Aunt Keturah spent the weekends with us. They had great old times with the women in the kitchen cooking up feasts while the men folks had eating contests trying to out do another in consuming the greatest amount of fried chicken or number of roasting ears.
They tell me I was slow in learning to walk, being almost two before I took off on my own two feet. Apparently I could travel on my bottom at considerable speed by pulling one leg along and dragging the other under me. They said I followed my dad every where that way right through the vegetable patch. Then One Day (Mom) said that she was tired of that kid scooting on his rear. She vowed she would get me to walk that day. So she took me across the road to the school yard, and sure enough she brought me back walking on my own. "
This is but a sample of the many stories he told. In fact, telling stories of his memories was by far what he enjoyed most and that is why it was a major theme the Eulogy about him written and presented by his grand-daughter, Amber Dudick at age 15:
"I'll always remember his stories; the stories of past years, innocent days, cold winters and warm summers, starry skies, interesting neighbors, and of family and friends that he so cherished. These stories are each a step of his life, some tiny steps, baby steps, describing the smallest detail of a moment, others large steps, leaps from place to place that carry you through the adventure of his life. These steps brought him through the years, the years which were as unpredictable as the wind. But that's life, surviving each and every thing that comes around the corner. Albert Coate, he was a survivor. He lived 86 long years filled with blessings and also with sorrows. We all are here for some reason. We all are here because Albert Coate touched each and every one of us in some way. We will each take a piece of him with us wherever we may go. I will take the memory of a grandfather, one that was caring, kind, and whose mind was filled with passions and hope and dreams and those same stories that I will always remember. He will always be the man, the husband, the father, the brother, the uncle, the grandfather, the cousin, the friend, the cook, the painter, the architect, the linguist, the florist, the dreamer, and the memory that I will always cherish and hold in the depths of my heart and soul. To him, wherever he may be now, I send my utmost respect, my gratitude, and most of all my love. It will never be the same without him. In a way, it's almost ironic, that the stories he told will be the stories we all tell to our children and our friends, and those same stories will be what makes him immortal. May the story of Albert E. Coate have no end."
(Written and presented by Amber Dudick, his 15 year old grand-daughter, for his funeral celebration.)
Noted events in his life were:
• Occupation. Home-Builder
• resided, Abt 1964, Columbus, Franklin, OH. 13 4709 Shady Lane, Robin Hood Park
• resided, Abt 1966, Columbus, Franklin, OH. 13 3727 Satinwood Dr.
Albert married Marcena Irene CLARK, daughter of William Edward CLARK and Grace EVANS.