Etc. -- Joseph Coates' 1932 obituary
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A lightly edited transcription of a page 5 article in the 24 Mar 1932 Simcoe Reformer newspaper. This article was extremely difficult to transcribe. Particularly problematic text appears surrounded by [square brackets].


Succumbing on Saturday to an [illness] of rather lengthy duration, Mr. Joseph Coates, one of Simcoe's [oldest] residents, passed away in his 94th year.

In his death [Simcoe] is bereaved of a citizen [who one] way and another made special contributions to his municipality over a period of more [than half] a century.

Joseph Coates was born on 2[.] Oct 1[8]4[3] in Yorkshire, England, the son of Thomas Coates and Jane [Aldershot] Coates.

As a [boy of eight] he came to this country and after a voyage requiring [more than two] months' time spent  on the water, he stepped on the  wharf at Port Dover.

It was a country far different to the well settled land of today that Joseph Coates passed through on [his way] to Simcoe. Port Dover was a bustling port then and Simcoe a sprouting village.

Arriving in Simcoe, Thomas Coates secured work as foreman in the carriage shop of John and Jonathan Austin. Two years later the family [moved] to Norwichville (now Norwich) where the elder Coates [went] into business for himself.

[Subsequently] he returned to Simcoe and established a carriage shop of his own where the present Simcoe Bakery stands, and there Joseph Coates learned the carriage  maker's trade.

In 186[4] Joseph Coates took over his father's business and conducted it for approximately 62 years until his retirement in 1926. In 1880 he had also enlarged it by the addition of funeral directing, and when he first assumed this work there were but three graves in Oakwood Cemetery.

Mr. Coates' life was one of much activity and in his later years he had a fund of stories which cast interesting sidelights on the earlier days of this municipality. 

He was a member of that once famous organization, The Fenwick Rifles Band, later the 39th Battalion. As a member of this detachment he was included in the party comprising three companies of Norfolk volunteers, which was organized to repulse the Fenians.

He was the oldest member of Norfolk Lodge No [10] A. F. and A. M. In days long past, he served this municipality as a councillor, having been chairman of the Board of Works in the days when plank sidewalks replaced footpaths for the convenience of pedestrians.

He was twice married. His first wife, who was Evelina Gibbon, predeceased him in 1889. There were three sons and one daughter by this marriage: Charles (deceased), Lorne of Toronto, Joseph O. of Simcoe, and Mrs. Edith Morrison (deceased). He later married the widow of the late J. B. Morris. She and his two [previously mentioned] sons survive.

Old-time residents of Simcoe will experience a feeling of irreparable loss in Joseph Coates' passing. He was truly a link with the early days, an observer who from memory could recite a graphic account of this community's history from the time of his arrival here.

The funeral was conducted under Masonic auspices from his late residence, Colborne Street north, on Tuesday afternoon to Oakwood Cemetery, where interment was made. Rev. C. K. Masters officiated and members of Norfolk Lodge No. 10, A. F. and A. M. attended in a body, the last Masonic rites being administered at the graveside.

The bearers were John M. Stalker, Dr. W. M. McGuire, M. M. Smith, H. A. Weston, Thos. Storey and Isaac McInally, all members of Norfolk Lodge.

The funeral was very largely attended and the floral tributes were extremely [conspicuous] by their beauty and abundance. Among them was a large wreath of roses from Norfolk Lodge, A. M. and A. M., and a spray of roses from Semanetis and Evel Company, Hamilton. Friends and relatives were in attendance from Straffordville  and London.

Joseph Coates

Also see:
his 1918 profile
his 1924 bio
his business

Copyright 2017 John Cardiff