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1 Main St.
Franklin, NJ 07416
Phone: (973) 827-7050
Fax: (973) 827-9193
Robert Coates

Robert L Coates

Thursday, July 26th, 1945 - Friday, December 28th, 2018
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Robert Lockwood Coates
Robert Lockwood Coates ,73, passed peacefully from this earth Friday, December 28th at Newton Medical Center after a very short illness. Bob was surrounded by his loving family and friends as he was in life. Son of the late Gilbert K. and Helen J. Coates of Sussex, NJ, Robert was born July 26, 1945 at the Alexander Linn Hospital, Sussex. Bob graduated from Sussex High School in 1963 and attended Maryville College in Tennessee from 1963-1965. He enlisted and served in the United States Army from 1966-1968 during the Vietnam conflict where he served as both a driver and as a wireman. Upon returning from service to his country, Bob returned to Maryville University and Montclair State College from 1968-1970 where he earned two Master of Education Degrees. One for
Principal/ Supervisor and the other as Educator of the Handicapped.

Early in his career, Bob began teaching at Montclair Public Schools from 1971-1974 where he taught classes
for emotionally disturbed children. In 1975, Bob began teaching at the Sussex Wantage School District. There he
taught classes of Emotionally Disturbed, Neurologically Impaired and Perceptually Impaired. He worked for
Sussex-Wantage School for 35 ½ years and retired in December 2010. Always involved teaching children, Bob was
instrumental in creating the Gebhard Environmental Center for the Sussex-Wantage District. He blazed trails
and developed activities for all children to experience nature and outdoor activities. Later, Bob helped as
co-director of both the Sussex-Wantage Summer Care and Before/After Care Programs. Most recently, Bob was
a bedside instructor for the Sussex-Wantage Schools and the Records Keeper for the Care Programs. Always a friend, Bob enjoyed hunting, fishing and making maple syrup at his farm in Wantage. When he wasn’t working with his backhoe or other tractors you could find him cutting wood for his sap stove. On quiet days he enjoyed Sudoku puzzles and putting jigsaw puzzles together on his dining room table although he said he was never as as fast as Dolores Polyi. Bob was happy to see friends and shared many adventures over the years as we are all left with our “Bob”stories. Bob had a great sense of humor and could tell stories for hours. Bob had the ability to spark a onversation with anyone and within minutes the two would be talking like old friends. He would make new friends every day from cashiers to gas attendants or whomever he encountered. He had the gift of gab and a friendly demeanor that made people comfortable with him. Bob was a Rube Goldberg. He couldn’t throw away anything without first creating ten different uses for the item. He used to love to say he did things “Like an Egyptian”. He enjoyed the challenge of every obstacle. His former students remember Mr.Coates as “the maker of soup” as he loved creating homemade soups with his students bringing in measurement and reading skills. He was also “the creator of games”. He could turn any arduous task into a fun-filled event that challenged thinking and gave wonderful rewards to the students. What student didn’t learn the magic of nine with multiplication or the secret of nimh with Bob? Over the years, Bob must have purchased hundreds of boxes of Girl Scout cookies or donated to every Boy Scout car wash or bake sale he came across. Bob was a man with deep pockets and he gave freely to others. From planting trees and a vegetable garden at the school to running cable to each room for cable T.V., Bob was there. He devoted himself to service of all.

He was a member of the local Sussex-Wantage Education Association, National Education Association, Retired Teachers Association, Sierra Club, Pvt. Charles Auberger American Legion Post 213, and the REC Cooperative Advisory Committee.

Bob is survived by his brother Gary Coates and his wife Yvonne of 87 Lake Wallkill Road, Sussex, NJ and
John Coates and wife Jackie of 19 Little Brooklyn Road, Warwick, NY. He is also survived by nephew Lawson
Coates of West Caldwell and great nephews Hunter and Cristian. In addition, he is survived by a niece Julie and Ed
Haran of New Egypt and grand niece Gracie. He leaves behind many good friends who will miss him very much.
He also is survived by his cat D.C., “Darn Cat,” whom he adopted as a kitten.

To us, Bob was our best friend. He was always there and always “Bob”.The world is a bit darker today with the
loss of this shining spirit. Now Heaven is blessed. He brightened all our lives by simply knowing him.
In lieu of flowers the family requests all memorial donations be made to the Pvt. Charles Auberger American Legion Post 213,915 Route 23 Wantage, NJ 07461. Cremation is private for the family.

A Celebration of Bob’s life is planned following his interment at the Veterans’ Cemetery, Route 94, Lafayette,
NJ. The Celebration of life is planned at Sussex Methodist Church, Sussex, NJ in the Spring
Read Less

Service Details

  • Service

    Sussex United Methodist Church
    15 Bank Street
    SUSSEX, NJ 07461
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Memorial service date and time to be announced.
  • Interment

    Northern NJ Veterans Memorial Cemetery
    Route 94
    SPARTA, NJ 07871
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    April 5, 2019 Friday at 11:00AM


Donations are being accepted for: American Legion Post 213.


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Private Condolence

Emily McCann-Norcross

Posted at 10:20pm
Rest In Peace Mr. Coates. You will be missed.

Chris Schwarz

Posted at 09:41pm
Bob was a wonderful man. He was married to my mom for 14 years. He had the greatest sense of humor I ever encountered. It was a shock to learn of his passing. Rest In Peace. You deserve it!

Suzanne Oakley

Posted at 07:19pm
More teachers should be like Mr. Coates. Actually, more people should be. I don't believe there is one person that can say anything negative about him. There is a huge void in this part of the world. Rest in Heaven's sweet peace.

Janice Matthews

Posted at 06:07pm
Mr. Coates was a math Tutorer for my son a few years ago. He would enlighten us with his knowledge and wonderful stories. He would sit on the front porch like a second grandfather to my son working on math. Although my son knew how to get out of math and get him talking about the olden days. He was so full of wonderful stories that my son enjoyed a lot. He will forever be missed.

Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative

Posted at 10:58am
You will be missed! Thank you for your support of the Cooperative
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