Date of death: 6/1/2023
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1974
David E. Coats, 74, died on June 1, 2023 after receiving a diagnosis of ALS on March 30, 2022. Taking inspiration from a song composed by Danny Schmidt, “Company of Friends”, Dave asked, “When I die let them judge me by my company of friends. Let them know me by the footprints that I left upon the sands.” As the only child of (George) Thomas and Catherine (James) Coats (both deceased) Dave began making friends with his relatives, Herschel and Loretta Coats (both deceased) and Walter and Emma (Coats) Doyle (both deceased), along with cousins Jeff (Jenny) Coats, Mary Ellen (Jerry) Lish, Kathy Jo (Gary) Bryant and Walter Joe (Pat) Doyle.
He made more friends in grade school, especially Dan Brock.
Dave was a graduate of Latin High School in Indianapolis where he made lifelong friends in Randy Hartley (deceased), Mark Svarrczkopf and Paul Johnson.
Dave graduated from Saint Meinrad Seminary College and School of Theology and was ordained a Catholic priest on June 6, 1973. His Company of Friends increased by his brotherhood of priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis and members of the parishes in which he served including New Albany, Tell City, French Lick and Indianapolis. Other friends he made during this time include Eva Corsaro and Sister Nicolette Etienne, OSB.
After serving in these parishes, he worked in the Chancery of the Archdiocese where his Company of Friends increased again to include Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara (deceased), Paul Koetter (deceased), Jeff Godecker, Ed (Kim) Isakson, Dan Elsner and many more persons, too many to mention. During his ministry as Director of Priests Personnel and Vicar General of the Archdiocese, he was deeply involved in the formation of The Damien Center, at a time when HIV/AIDS was feared and loathed and added Kent and Elizabeth Howard to his Company of Friends.
After leaving active ministry as a priest, Dave worked in several positions in the community including the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Marion County Health and Hospital Corporation, and the Polis Center at IUPUI. He is survived by even more friends from these organizations including Toby and Velvet Miller, John (Martina) Kansky, Laura (Jeremy) Orcutt, Kevin (Karmen) Mickey, Jack and Chris Schmitz, David Bodenhamer, John Buechler, Jim Sparks, Giedrius Kaveckis and many more, again, too many to mention.
Dave enjoyed great conversation with a group of Catholic men, affectionately known as ROMEOS (Retired Old Men Eating Out). Tuesday mornings found them all gathering together to solve the world’s problems and have a cup of coffee. Once Dave could no longer leave home, George Maley, Jack Fink, JD Lawrence, Carl McClelland, Art Boyle, Greg Schenkel and Rick Bosler all came to him and continued the coffee and conversation.
Dave is survived by his wife of 28 years, Grace (Wollersheim-Lang) Colette, his stepson, Andy Lang, daughter in law, Theresa Lang and “family members” Bob and Patsy Lang and German Alvarez-Lopez. Dave’s Company of Friends grew because of them to include Don (Judy) Wollersheim, Kenny and Samantha Franklin and family, Rasheed Newson, Chris Herald, Becky Schaefer and Ellen (Camp) Laugle, Anya and Chad Turner, Charlie (Dianne) Gardner Chris Herald, OP, Mary Greiner and Jane Franceschini, Jon Wheeler and, again, too many to mention.