He received his formal education in the Jackson Alabama school system. He excelled both academically and in football while in high school, receiving many football scholarship offers. Due to a knee injury, he was unable to play pro ball. After graduation in 1977, he worked at Boise Paper for many years along with other jobs for companies in Alabama and Texas. He was very fond of driving trucks and worked for several trucking companies, including L & Y Trucking where he was known as “Bull” and drove a log truck before becoming disabled. He will be missed and forever remain in the hearts of those who loved and cherished him.
Survivors include his mother, Dorothy Stewart, Jackson; his wife, Frances Coates, Grove Hill; two sons, Willie (Ramerah) Coates Jr., Mobile, William (Mindy) Johnson, McIntosh; two stepsons, Malcolm Sangster, Shamal Bruce, both of Grove Hill; one brother, Bernard Stewart of Jackson; four sisters, Lelia (Robert) Darrington, Cathy Jenkins (Chad West, friend), both of Jackson, Faith Coates, Seattle, Wash., Evelyn Coates, Butler; two sisters-in-law, Lillian (Donald) Lawrence, Paterson, N.J., Victoria (Jarvis) Hunt of Gainestown; six grandchildren, William Jr., Hailey, Hillary, Kaylin, Kristyn and Kelvin; mother-in-law, Willie Mae Garnes of Paterson, N.J.; one aunt, Mary Alice Pugh, Grove Hill; a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives; devoted friends, Willie Goodwin and L.C. Crowell, both of Jackson.
He was preceded in death by his father, John Henry Coates; stepfather, Roosevelt Jenkins; grandmothers, Sarah Davis and Emma Powe; and sister, Beulah Coates.
The service was Nov. 8 at Mt. Olive No. 2 Baptist Church in Jackson with Revs. Stevenson E. Tullis and Douglas Pernell officiating. Burial was in the Ebenezer Cemetery in Coffeeville. Jackson Memorial Funeral Home directed.