Donald Coats

Graveside Services for Donald Coats will be held at 11 a.m. on July 17, 2020, at the Bent/Las Animas Cemetery in Las Animas, Colo.

Donald Coats was born the second of three sons to Arlis and Gladys Coats in Las Animas, Colo., on Nov. 30, 1936. He spent his youth swimming the Arkansas River and building lifelong friendships. He graduated from Las Animas High in 1955 and joined the Navy not long after. In 1961, he left the Navy to join his childhood girlfriend, Myrl Ann in marriage. They settled in Carlsbad, Calif., where they raised two children, Vincent and Dawn Michelle. Don earned an Associate’s Degree in Electronic Engineering from Palomar College and spent the next 35 years working for Hughes Aircraft. Working in aerospace during the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s allowed him to work on and develop many of the high tech gadgets such as infrared night vision and lasers that are used today for the military and hospital fields. He filled his family time with trips to Colorado so he could farm and run tractors with Alfred, his father in law. Don participated in many family ski trips, boating trips, horse rides and long distance motorcycle trips. He always picked a destination where he would find a friend or family member to visit. Once retired, Don went fishing with lifelong friends at Fish Lake, Utah or riding ATVs with friends in the Rockies.

Although Don filled his life with these wonderful activities, the most important thing to him was friends and family. Don was fortunate to spend 15 years with Norma Peterson and together they traveled to Belize and many destinations in the US but their time in Garner Valley, Calif., was their most treasured time together. Don enjoyed living in Carlsbad but Colorado was his home, first and last. Don passed away on July 1, 2020 in Poway, Calif., at the age of 83.

Don leaves behind his loving partner, Norma Peterson; son, Vincent Coats; daughter, Dawn Michelle; three grandchildren, Angel Coats (Haire), Erin Coats (Stone), Quinn Coats; and great granddaughter, Eden Haire.

To leave online condolences, please visit

Posted online on October 08, 2020