Richard Lee Virgil Coates Jr., 79, Charlotte Hall

Friday, April 17, 2009

Richard Lee Virgil Coates Jr., 79, of Charlotte Hall died April 13, 2009, at Washington Adventist Hospital, Takoma Park.

Mr. Coates was born to the late Richard and the late Alice Coates Sept. 3, 1929, in the Ivy City section of, Washington, D.C. He was the second child of 13 children. His siblings include Patoka Johnson, Lawrence Coates, Sr. and his wife, Connie, Loretta Coates, Barbara Jennings and her husband, Robert Sr., Harriett Warren and her husband, Lewin, Pauline Coates, Maxine McKenzie and her husband, Odis, Delores Garnes and her husband, Kenneth, Edward Coates Sr. and his wife, Michelle, Theresa Marshall and her husband, Paul, Clifton Coates and his wife, Stephanie, Tarnya Smith and Tyronda Walker and her husband, Darnell.

As a child he enjoyed visiting his grandparents' farm in Orange, Va. He attended Crummel Elementary School and Brown Junior High. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1947 and was drafted into the U.S. Army on May 9, 1951. After his return from the Army; he worked and retired after 39 years for the Washington, D.C., and federal governments.

He was married to the late Dorothy Jean Brunson Feb. 26, 1955. They had five children, Annette Green, Gwendolyn Jackson, Diane Nettles, Richard L.V. Coates III, and Debra Sims and her husband, Todd. He was the grandfather of nine and great-grandfather of 12.

He loved his family and enjoyed sharing stories of wisdom and how it was when he grew up. During the years, he adopted three children through the Save the Children's Fund.

He had a love for sports. During his athletic years, in the early 1950s, he played semipro baseball with the Washington, D.C., Blacksocks and the La Plata Rockets. He was an assistant Scout leader for the Cub and Boy Scouts of America at the Bethesda Baptist Church in Ivy City. He umpired four years in the mid-1970s for Little League baseball teams in Woodbridge, Va. He loved attending the Washington Twins, Senators and Nationals baseball games, fishing and he loved watching the Washington Redskins.

He joined Ebenezer Baptist in Occoquan, Va. during the 1970s. Until his illness he was he was the oldest member of the Robert "Pop" Middleton Chorus. He was a member of the Annie B. Rose Missionary Society; he enjoyed going to the Woodbridge nursing home and the homeless shelter, where he was famous for his potato salad. He was a member of the Rights of Passage ministry; he loved to serve the Lord. He enjoyed the activities of the Golden Seniors Ministry.

During his senior years he resided at the Southwinds Senior Community, where he enjoyed the carefree living, participated in the daily activities, played games and met many friends. He was famous for handing out oranges and other goodies throughout the day. He traveled to the Motherland, Ghana, Africa, in 2006 and took several Caribbean cruises. He and his son went to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., as a birthday celebration for him in 2006. He enjoyed gospel and blues music. During his last months he resided at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Charlotte Hall.

A service will be held at 11 a.m. April 20 at Ebenezer Baptist Church Family Life Center, Woodbridge, Va. Burial will take place at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, Suitland.

Pallbearers will be Ebenezer deacons.

Arrangements are being handled by Ames Funeral Home, Manassas, Va.