Mary Theresa Coats, age 84, a former resident of Milton, joined her husband, Rollie in Heaven on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, at St. Elizabeth's Manor, Footville. She was born on July 3, 1928, in Janesville, the daughter of the late Glen and Grace (Gillespie) Turner. She grew up with her ten brothers and sisters on Jackson Street. Mary graduated from High School in 1946, and took bookkeeping. She worked for a few years at General Motors as a secretary. She met Rollie Coats in 1948, and they married on Oct. 11, 1949. They lived on the Coat's family farm for almost 60 years, and together they raised four children. Besides being a housewife and mother, she worked at Burdick Corp. in Milton for a few years as a key punch operator. She was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, Milton. She was also active with her husband and her brother, Fr. Wayne Turner (formerly of St. Joseph's, Edgerton) in the Catholic Cursillo movement in the 1980's. Mary served as a bookkeeper in her earlier years, ran the religious shop, sang in the church choir for many years, and helped at funeral luncheons with her tasty pumpkin bread. She was a member of St. Martha's Circle and served positions in the Women's Rock Deanery. Mary was Mother of the Year at St. Mary's Mother's Day Breakfast in 1976. She loved music and played the accordion fluently. She loved to bake, and at Christmas, she used to make peanut brittle for all the members of the choir. She started a family tradition of giving homemade cinnamon rolls and a tray of homemade candies to each family member at Christmas. Mary loved sewing and crocheting. She made many of her daughter's dresses when they were growing up, and crocheted many afghan's for family and friends. She also loved to travel. In the 1960's she went to Alaska with a good friend. She went to Hawaii with her sisters and the Holy Lands with friends from St. Mary Parish. Mary and Rollie loved to take motorcycle trips. They traveled out west and along the Mississippi River. They visited many national parks along the way. When she was not traveling, she kept busy driving friends to the Doctor and doing errands for them. Mary gave of herself freely to anyone in need. She said it made her feel useful.
Mary is survived by her 4 children: Cindy (Rick) Hall of Janesville, Rollie Coats of Milton, Chris (Toni) Coats of Evansville and Paula (Greg) Girard of Phoenix, AZ; 9 grandchildren; 7 great grandchildren; 3 sisters: Jean Heise, Patricia Dubarowich and Joan Olsen all of Janesville; 2 brothers, Noel (Kathy) Turner of Janesville and Joel Turner of Milton; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; 4 brothers: Fr. Wayne, James, Robert and Warren Turner; and 1 sister, Margaret Butters.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012, at ST. MARY CATHOLIC CHURCH, Milton with Msgr. James Uppena officiating. SCHNEIDER APFEL SCHNEIDER & SCHNEIDER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY is assisting the family. A special thanks to St. Elizabeth Manor, Footville for being Mom's home away from home.
The one thing we will miss about Mary Theresa Coats is her smile; it could light up a room.