August Jackson “Jack” Coats

December 1, 1934 - June 26, 2018

August Jackson “Jack” Coats, 83, of Beardstown died Tuesday, June 26, at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

He was born Dec. 1, 1934, in Morgan County, the son of Harry Herbert and Willie B. Conner Coats. He married Lee Ann Landreth on July 10, 1954, in Beardstown.

He is survived by his wife, Lee Ann Coats of Beardstown; four children, Vallery Elizabeth Coats (partner Deb Jerzy) of Cave Creek, AZ, Stephanie Gay (husband Terry) Stoneking of Springfield, Alan Jeffrey (wife Tracey) Coats of Marseilles, and Jon Russell (wife Maggie) Coats of Belleville; six grandchildren, Jason A. (wife Courtney) Coats, Amie E. (husband Tommy) Knous, Tyler R. Stoneking, Colin Jackson Stoneking, Phillip A. Pearson, and Laura C. (husband Christopher) Brammer; four great-grandchildren, Robert Jackson Coats, Matthew B. Coats, Analee E. Knous, and Shelby L. Knous; one sister, Joyce Fishel; and three brothers, Robert Coats, Russell Coats, and James (wife Vickie) Coats.

He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, Dorothy Emerick, and five brothers. William, Milton, Herbert, Landon, and Harry Coats.

Jack grew up in Arenzville near his Dad’s blacksmith shop, and attended school there. He was always a hard worker, bucked bales at age 13 and worked on a tugboat as a galley cook.

After he married he worked at The Baker Plant in Beardstown grinding the inside of large propane tanks. Once he realized that welders made a better living, he asked his dad to teach him how to weld. He eventually became a master welder, working his way up the ranks of Allis Chalmers/Fiat-Allis to foreman, general foreman, and superintendent where he worked for over 30 years, staying on to help close down the plant, and holding the distinction of turning off the lights for the final time.

He then joined the Millwright Union and started a second career. He worked on large construction projects and helped build the Twin Eagle Bridges over the Illinois River at Valley City as well as the 5-lane cable bridge in Burlington, Iowa that he was very proud of. With those big projects finished, he went on to work the dredging operations on the Illinois River.

He never did officially retire, as he continued to share his many talents with his church community and his family. He truly was a “Jack of all trades.”

Jack was also a servant who loved his church and God. He has served as a church elder for many years and was always involved with the many missions or projects at the First Christian Church and Beardstown Christian Academy. When he had some down time, he enjoyed fishing and woodworking. Most important to Jack was his family. He truly loved them, and will be missed by all.

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 30, at First Christian Church in Beardstown with Pastor Mike Courson officiating. Burial followed in the Beardstown City Cemetery.

Colwell Memorial Home in Beardstown was in charge of arrangements.

Memorials have been suggested to First Christian Church or Beardstown Christian Academy (BCA). Condolences may be left online at or on Facebook at Colwell Memorial Home.