Jeff Coatney

Jeff R. Coatney

Sunday, January 17th, 1943 - Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
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Jeffery Richard Coatney, age 77, of Linwood, KS. passed away on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. A Private Graveside Service will be held at 2:00 pm Wednesday, April 8 at the Fairview Cemetery near Ada, Kansas. A Celebration of his life will be held at a later date at the De Soto Baptist Church.
Jeff was preceded in death by his father, Ray Irwin Coatney, his mother, Della Coatney and his brother-in-law, Bob Dunphy, husband of sister, Diane.
Survivors include his wife Sharon of the home, his son Mark and wife Kristina, grandchildren Quinn and Devon (New York) and his daughter Rachel Bailey and husband Bryan, grandchildren, William and Natalie (Blue Springs, MO).
Other survivors include his brother, Jon and wife Marianna (Douglass, Kansas); sister, Mary Montanucci and husband Richard (Seneca, South Carolina) ; sister Diane Ezell (Seattle, Washington) and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins throughout the country.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the De Soto Baptist Church, 8655 Copeland Way, De Soto, KS 66018 for programs to promote the study of God’s written word or to the Linwood Community Library, 19649 Linwood Rd, Linwood, KS 66052 to be used for programming of interest to men.
Jeff was born on January 17, 1943 in Kansas City, Kansas. He grew up in Kansas City, attending school there. He spent his summers on his grandad’s farm near Ada, Kansas and never lost his love for the land and the beauty of rural Kansas. In his senior year, his parents purchased a farm near Linwood, Kansas. He attended Linwood High School and made the lifelong friends and commitment to community that would define his life. He attended Kansas State and Emporia Universities and was drafted into the US Army. He went to Officer’s Candidate School and Flight School and eventually commanded a helicopter assault and reconnaissance group in the Republic of Vietnam. Like many young men of his generation, he was daily exposed to Agent Orange and that is what eventually caused his recent death. He was a true American hero, saving lives and miraculously surviving after numerous helicopter crashes, gunship fights and rescue missions under fire. Captain Jeffery Coatney is honored with the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Purple Heart, Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device, Bronze Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Two Overseas Bars, Air Medal, and the Silver Star.
Jeff never gave up. Though he fought the effects of Parkinson’s disease for over 25 years, he had a wonderful and impactful life. In 1966, he married Sharon, the love of his life. He owned two small businesses in Linwood and was a recipient of that community’s Ovid Snyder award for community service and spent many years raising money and overseeing the construction of a library and community center. He was devoted to the right of small rural communities to control and keep schools in the local community. He was for many years the President of the group, Citizens for Community Schools, which he created to lobby for legislation that would protect that concept. He and his wife spent several years traveling Kansas, researching the effects of class and school size on student achievement and lobbying. He did save several schools with his efforts, but sadly not the high school in his own home town, a great disappointment to him.
He was a member of the Linwood Baptist Church for many years and for the past 35 years of the Desoto Baptist Church where he served as Deacon and Sunday School Teacher for both the youth and adults. Jeff was a serious devoted Christian and put those beliefs into his daily life. He would not turn away a person in need. He was a generous man and a man of action always trying to find and implement an answer to community or personal problems. He loved to study the Bible and spent hours each week preparing lessons for his classes. He was always looking for opportunities to introduce anyone to Jesus and hosted impromptu Bible studies in his office, at the Linwood Café, Library or anywhere else if the opportunity presented itself.
Jeff was smart, curious and loved to try and learn new things. He was an inventor, a poet, a musician, an amateur photographer. He loved to travel, argue politics or anything else –just to have the fun of arguing and once spent the entire trip to Alaska on a cruise arguing politics with a liberal lawyer he met on board! For years he read the Wall Street Journal daily and Time magazine every week, believing every citizen should always be informed. He loved words and storytelling and would create elaborate stories featuring puns to amuse himself and the tedium of long family road trips. When Jeff owned The New Linwood Café, he created weekly short poems which he published in the Lawrence Journal World as advertisements! It proved to be a successful way to market.
One of Jeff’s favorite sayings was, “at the end of my life I don’t want to regret that I did not spend time with my family” and indeed no one could say that about Jeff. His wife, children, grandchildren, siblings and cousins and extended family knew Jeff very well. He insisted on yearly vacations that brought together all the siblings, their children and his family. He never missed a ball game, a scout camp out, a music event or anything else if he could possibly help it. He loved his children and grandchildren dearly and was very proud of their accomplishments and was a tender and thoughtful parent and grandparent. When grandson, William, was very young, he was afraid monsters. Jeff wrote the Monster Song all about a lonely monster that just wanted to play and would sing it to Will to alleviate those fears. He loved yearly extended family reunions with different branches of the family and spent years researching and writing a genealogy and gifted the book to everyone. Indeed Jeff was the glue that held it all together. He will be greatly missed.
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Private Condolence

Marilyn Anderson

Posted at 02:39pm
My husband and I send our heartfelt sympathy to all the Coatney family for your loss, and we also send our thanks to you for the
beautifully written tribute that you created for Jeff. As is so often the case, we learn from such articles details of a person's life that we hadn't previously known. Jeff certainly led a life of challenges, service, and accomplishments.
How did I know Jeff? I had the great pleasure of teaching Jeff's sisters, Mary and Diane, so I knew of the Coatney family through them. Later his wife Sharon was my teaching colleague, so I was aware of Jeff through my interactions with her. I particularly remember the Coatneys' successful effort in establishing a library in Linwood, a remarkable resource for all in the area.
May you find comfort in the good memories. Chris & Marilyn Anderson

S Dove

Posted at 11:31pm
I have many fond memories of Jeff, and his kindnesses to my daughter will never be forgotten. I wish all of you comfort. Be well. God is good. God is kind. Syndi Dove

Diane Ravis

Posted at 11:49am
Sharon and deepest sympathy. Jeff was a wonderful man and will be deeply missed!
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