Ansel Leycester Coats, 94, died Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, at Houston House.
He was born Oct. 20, 1915, in Clara, son of Thomas Keggie “T.K.” and Missouri Kissiar “Kizzie” House Coats. He and Blanche Boyd were married 30, 1945.
He grew up on the Coats family farm west of Houston in the Clara community. He and his sister, Beulah, walked to the Wolford School at Hightown and rode a buggy to high school at White Rock. The family bought a house in Houston until he and his sister graduated from HHS in 1933.
He worked with his father on the family farm and with a survey crew in Texas County until he was drafted into the Army during World War II. During his years of service, he was stationed in New Guinea and Australia, where he was a carpenter and truck driver.. In the states, he was stationed at Fort Dix, N.J., and Galveston and San Antonio, Texas. He was discharged in 1945 as a sergeant and awarded two bronze stars for the Papuan, New Guinea campaigns.
He was a 1948 graduate of the college of agriculture at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
He had a dairy operation, which he continued until 1994 with his son-in-law, Kenneth. In his early years, he surveyed many farms in the area, building terraces in fields to prevent erosion. He bought one of the first John Deere tractors in the area and assisted his friend, W. T. Scheets, in becoming the local John Deere dealer. He also did custom silage chopping in the community in the late 1950s.
He operated Coats Wood Industries for many years. The business started with making lumber and fence posts for the farm and turned into a business as he sawed materials for neighbors, friends and the community.
He served on the Texas County Extension Council. During his term as president of the council, he was active in the promotion and establishment of Texas County Memorial Hospital. He served on the first hospital board and was elected to several terms.
He became a Christian as a young man and was a member of the First Baptist Church in Houston. He served as Sunday school teacher, song leader and deacon. He was honored in November 1999 as deacon emeritus. He was also active in the Texas County Baptist Association. As Sunday school director, he traveled throughout the county, assisting churches in strengthening their Sunday schools. He sang high tenor for many years with the Amazing Grace quartet at numerous revivals, church services and funerals.
He became a member of Gideon’s International, serving in the Texas County Camp. He also served on the building committee for the two-story educational wing of First Baptist Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and three sisters, Stella Hogan, Nellie Goldsberry and Beulah Pickett.
Survivors include his wife, Blanche of the home; three daughters, Linda Nell Gibson of Houston, Judy Annette Grider of Bolivar and Helen Mae Allen of Springfield; five grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Services are 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22, at First Baptist Church of Houston with Kenneth Gibson officiating. Visitation is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at Evans Funeral Home Chapel. Burial with full military honors will be in Union Cemetery under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Gideons or Texas County Hospice of Care. Online condolences may be sent to www.evansfh.com.