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Lt. Col. David 'Bo' Coats

Aug 22, 2012 - Staff

Lt. Col. David "Bo" Coats formerly of Shoshoni, died Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012, in Titusville, Fla., surrounded by his loving family. He was 81 years old.

A memorial service will be the morning of Saturday, Sept. 29, at Davis Funeral Home in Riverton. Following the service, a celebration of his life is planned at 3 p.m. at the Rustic Pine Tavern in Dubois.

David Coats was born Oct. 16, 1930, in Martin, S.D., to Rollyn Herbert Coats and Lura Jesse Alder. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Shoshoni, where he spent his youth.

He was an outstanding high school athlete. He went on to play basketball for the New Mexico State University Aggies, starting on the 1952 NCAA Tournament team. After graduation, Mr. Coats remained a lifelong supporter of NMSU's basketball program, never missing a reunion with his college basketball teammates.

Upon graduating from New Mexico State, Mr. Coats entered the Air Force, serving his country as an F105 pilot and flying 100 missions over Vietnam. During his tour of duty, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for outstanding bravery. While in the Air Force, he earned a master's degree in exercise physiology, which he later taught at the Air Force Academy. He retired after 20 years of service.

It was during his military career that he discovered his greatest athletic passion -- golf. He shared the love of the game with his family and friends throughout his life. He was a scratch golfer and had a career total of five holes-in-one. He also accomplished the rare feat of shooting his age when he was 81.

His family said he will be remembered for his love of family and friends, his tenacious spirit, competitive drive and his honesty and integrity.

He is survived by a son, David; daughters Leslie Stevens and Julie Upshaw; stepdaughter Yvonne Coats; five grandchildren, Abigail, Mason and Jake Upshaw, and Ethan and Emily Coats; sister Caryl Brown; nephews Ralph, Mike and Craig Spiva; niece Sissy Spry; and many other nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to New Mexico State University basketball program.

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