ForeverMissed
UPDATE ON JUNE 14, 2021...
On Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 11:00 AM we will be having a service for dad at Friendship Village of the South Hills (1290 Boyce Road, Upper St. Clair, PA 15241). The service will be followed by a cookie/coffee reception. The internment of dad's ashes will happen on the following Monday in a family-only ceremony at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies.

Our dad loved the phrase carpe diem. It’s generally translated as “seize the day” and was written by the Roman poet Horace in 23 B.C. Not only did he love it, he lived it—so much so that he died minutes before midnight. To the end, he seized the entirety of each day.

Dave was born in 1928 to Charlotte and Lester. Lester had grown up on a farm in Dayton, Ohio and instilled a love of plants and gardening in his children that Dave and his sister Martha cultivated throughout their lives. After several moves, the family settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Dave graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School. After high school, he studied metallurgical engineering at Carnegie-Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) where he met the enchanting Ruth Jackson. In 1951 he and Ruth were married in a double wedding ceremony with Ruth’s sister Jane marrying Bill Betts.

We couldn’t have asked for better or more supportive parents than Dave and Ruth. As an example, in 1969 they loaded us four kids (Lisa, Andrew, Amy and Dan) into the back of their Buick station wagon and drove us from Titusville, Pennsylvania to Wyoming. They wanted us to experience the wonders of Yellowstone National Park.

In 1971, we moved to Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania (just south of Pittsburgh) and although they travelled extensively, Dave and Ruth lived in Upper St. Clair for the rest of their lives.

In 2011 Dave and Ruth moved to Friendship Village—a senior living community also in Upper St. Clair. In 2013 and after 62 years of marriage, Dave’s “Ruthie” (he would also call her “Tweedles”) died after an extended illness. In 2014, Dave’s third child (our sister) Amy died of cancer. Dave would later reminisce that due to the nature of Ruth’s extended illness and multiple complications there was an element of relief in her death. He’d then pause and look into the distance and think about his daughter Amy. His eyes would well with tears and his voice would tremble, “...but with Amy, I never saw it coming.”

After Ruth’s death, Dave met Mary Lou Sullivan in Friendship Village who had also lost her spouse. Dave and Mary Lou had many good years and good times together. Mary Lou died earlier this year.

When we kids were younger, our dad generally had a positive outlook on life. However, as he aged—and in the face of losing his parents, his sister, his brothers-in-law, his wife, his daughter, his daughter-in-law and his lady friend—somehow his generally positive outlook blossomed into a radiant bouquet of optimism. With it, he brightened so many lives including those of his grandchildren: Ben, Ethan, Jacob, Alyssa, Julian, Jackson and Emma.

Having moved to Friendship Village in 2011, Dave spent 10 wonderful years of his life there. When any of us would visit Friendship Village, staff and caregivers would comment how much they loved our father. “He’s always singing” was a common refrain.

In the last couple years as his health declined, dad moved from independent living to the health center at Friendship Village. We’ve lost count of the number of times caregivers would call us to report on some health incident with our dad. Invariably, their report would finish, “...he’s doing fine now. He’s out at the nurse’s station in his wheelchair playing the harmonica for us.”

Through this last year of the pandemic, our dad did his best to remain positive even as our frequent visits were reduced to video calls. We’re grateful that we and our spouses, significant others and many of his grandchildren were able to visit with him in his final days.

We’d like to thank the caregivers and staff of Friendship Village for their love, their warmth and their professionalism—especially over this past and most difficult year. It meant the world to our father and it gave us great comfort.

In researching carpe diem, for this tribute, we discovered that while “seize the day” is the common translation, the more literal translation from the original Latin is "pluck the day [as it is ripe]". That more literal translation fits our father even better as we will always remember him whistling away while he tended his flower and vegetable gardens. 

For anyone would like to make a donation in Dave's honor, we ask that you either direct your donation to either the Friendship Village Team Member Appreciation Fund or WQED.

The staff at Friendship Village have been great to our dad through the years. The appreciation fund is divided equally amongst the staff at the end of the year to help recognize all that they do for the community. The fund is only able to accept physical checks so please make them payable to FVSH-TMAF and mail to:

Friendship Village of South Hills
Attn: TMAF
1290 Boyce Road
Upper St. Clair, PA 15241

WQED is one of Pittsburgh's public broadcasting organizations and he loved both their classical music radio station and T.V. programming. In his later years he especially liked the Wednesday evening show Nature and the Friendship Village staff would make sure his television was tuned to it. https://www.wqed.org/donate
Your generosity is appreciated!

The three of us are hoping that we can age half so gracefully as our father did.          
—Lisa, Andrew, Dan

Posted by Linda Carter on April 26, 2021
What a wonderful tribute to Dave. My husband, Rich, became friends with Dave through the Retired Men's Tuesday Morning Group at Christ Methodist. I became friends with him and Ruth through Rich, however, I became friends as I drove them to the airport frequently when they visited their son in Florida. They were the easiest and friendliest people to know. Over the years when they moved to FV they would invite us for dinner at FV diningroom. What a treat!
Dave was always singing or playing his banjo. He loved music and invited us to his "gigs" at FV.
He was such an "up" person even when Ruth or Ruthie (what he called her) was ill.
One of the things I remember so vividly is when you would call their home the message always rang to "Welcome to Hotel California" I just marveled to that. An 80 plus years old being hep with that music.
In closing, I just feel so honored that I knew Dave and Ruth. He sure was a Gem!!

Posted by Catherine Challener on April 24, 2021
 Dave was my favorite uncle. When he and the gang would arrive, the fun would start. Through my childhood, I always remember him as happy—being happy himself and making others happy. He would scratch on the side of the tent with a stick or make wild rabbit howls when we were sleeping out. He made us blueberry pancakes and lobbied for trips to the ice cream store. He swam with us at Forest Lake and joined in making sand castles. He sang with his ukulele or with his guitar. He was, in fact, always singing.
  He lived life with an amazing gusto and zest. I’ve heard it said, though I can’t confirm it, that he was trying out skiing in his seventies! When he and the gang went to Alaska, it was Dave who rousted everybody out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to see the Northern Lights.
  No matter what the occasion, Dave made it better by caring. When I moved to Denver, it was Dave (with Ruthie and Dan ) who took me out to dinner and helped me adjust to life in a new city. He was like a dad to me that evening. Once Dave sent me a letter with advice about relationships. He really cared; he wanted me to be happy.
  I will miss him terribly. I know he’s in a better place now— maybe trout fishing, or playing his ukulele, and, for sure, singing.

Posted by Chip Watts on April 22, 2021
A common thread among the mourners who have lost a loved one, especially one that was very important to them, is that the person will be remembered, more, never forgotten.

I met Mr. Coate in the late 70s and instantly realized just how genuinely kind and inquisitive the man was. Dan had invited me to spend some time at their place on Lake Chautauqua back in 1982 and that was the last time I had seen Mr. Coate. (Yes, it is odd for a 57 year old man to refer to another adult as Mr. would probably be annoying to the Mr. in question, but I guess it is one of those many anchors to our youth.)

For the nearly four decades since I had last seen Mr. Coate, what I remember was that he worked at Dravo Corporation out on Neville Island. Living in Upper St. Clair for all these decades, I have not travelled up/down the I-79 corridor that goes over Neville Island a whole lot, but every time, and I mean every time, that I did, I always thought of Mr. Coate. And, now that I work in Cranberry, the passages are much more frequent. And, yes, I think of Mr. Coate each and every time.

No, it’s not as beautiful as the thought of a garden, although Silver Queen Corn is another memory because that was what he stopped along the road to purchase one day I was up at Chautauqua, or as wonderful as a piece of music conjuring a distant and fond memory, but it does testify to the strength of the positive impression the man had on me.

The statement at the top of this page, “forever missed” should read, “forever missed, but not forgotten” as I have always, and will continue to remember Mr. Coate every time I drive over Neville Island.
Posted by Sue Hill on April 16, 2021
A man of smiles. I cannot remember a time seeing Dave that he wasn’t smiling.
While I have been friends with Lisa for yikes-45+ years, I didn’t really know her dad very well until later in life, when he and Ruth moved into Friendship Village. Since my parents lived there too, we would often see him, and all celebrated memorials of the loss of his Ruth and Amy and later, my mother Dorothy, eventually too my father Stanley two years ago.
Dave was a bridge player with my dad and a friend, and often took the time to visit with him, which meant a lot when dad’s activities became more limited. I would look for Dave at the programs, especially music events as music was always a big draw for him and my dad and it was nice to hear his cheery Hello and chat.
Dave was a giver. I know he was involved with his church and many volunteer programs throughout his life but if you didn’t know that, you could just tell it from how he treated people. He was always happy to see you and wanted to hear about you and what you were doing. Wish we could all have a little more of that.
I know the Coate family will miss him dearly but hope they know that I and my family have been made the richer from the privilege of knowing him.
Love to all.
Posted by Tom Betts on April 16, 2021
When I reflect on the life and times of my dear Uncle Dave ("Unclee Dave" to me) so many wonderful things come to mind. He was certainly one of a kind! His devotion to family, his intellect on so many subjects, his prestigious engineering career, his impressive sailing skills, his ever-present sense of humor -- all of these are notable. But most of all I will remember the joy and happiness that would flow so easily from Uncle Dave to anyone and everyone nearby -- you just couldn't escape it! Uncle Dave, it seemed, was always singing or whistling or making music in some other way, or striking up some light-hearted conversation with, well, anyone. Often he combined his singing into light-hearted conversation at the same time! He loved life and no doubt lived each day to the fullest. I am very thankful that I could be the beneficiary of his good nature and unique personality in many wonderful locations -- Chautauqua Lake in New York, Little Mahoning Creek near my home, the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Maryland's Assateague Island National Seashore, Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, and a few other special spots. At these places, we fished and we camped, we sat around campfires telling stories, we spent quality time in canoes and sailboats. So many great experiences, so many memories. My life is richer for having known him. What a special man!
Posted by Jim Lewis on April 15, 2021
Dave truly was an inspiration. I learned so much from him, be it a novel way to split wood for a fire by the lake, how to get a few more years out of a water pump or simply a good way to enjoy the day. I can still hear him whistling or humming a tune - one I would eventually track down and add to my (cassette) play list. 
Posted by Dan Coate on April 15, 2021
From Dave's nephew Dan Challener...

Your father inspired me with his love for literature— especially Robert Frost poetry and Henry David Thoreau. I still remember once in New Hampshire, as I read the morning’s newspaper, he shook his finger at me and said “Read not the Times, savor the eternities!” And the laughs— remember the time we slept in the tent in NH and he went out late at night and tried to scare us with a “wounded rabbit” howl. and when he tried to climb a gas station sign to get their last lucky (plastic) horseshoes? And his love of music. I remember well a visit to Pittsburgh my mom and I made about 2010 and Dave and Dan played guitar and sang, among others, “Wagon Wheel.” Did you know that when Grandpa Lester died, your dad gave me a pocket watch that my grandfather had been given when he retired from the Pittsburgh water heater company. I treasure that watch and bring it with me to very special occasions. I’ll have it in my pocket at Brandon’s wedding this fall— so four generations will be present.
Posted by Jo Lentz on April 12, 2021
DAVID, a fine gent who was my FVSH C4 friend/neighbor since 2015; always hearing him playing his guitar/singing/whistling when I passed his apt. door to get on the elevator nearby. Enjoyed attending DAVID & DAN GIGS in the sports lounge + DAVE'S ANTICS!!! FRIENDLY FRIENDS; who I call DAVID & MARY LOU; a compassionate twosome who are at peace in paradise with my HEARTFELT SYMPATHY, and that DAVID'S FAMILY GRIEVES HIS PASSING WITH GRACE AND A WONDERFUL TRIBUTE FOR YOUR LOVE OF DAVID. GOD BLESS  

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Linda Carter on April 26, 2021
What a wonderful tribute to Dave. My husband, Rich, became friends with Dave through the Retired Men's Tuesday Morning Group at Christ Methodist. I became friends with him and Ruth through Rich, however, I became friends as I drove them to the airport frequently when they visited their son in Florida. They were the easiest and friendliest people to know. Over the years when they moved to FV they would invite us for dinner at FV diningroom. What a treat!
Dave was always singing or playing his banjo. He loved music and invited us to his "gigs" at FV.
He was such an "up" person even when Ruth or Ruthie (what he called her) was ill.
One of the things I remember so vividly is when you would call their home the message always rang to "Welcome to Hotel California" I just marveled to that. An 80 plus years old being hep with that music.
In closing, I just feel so honored that I knew Dave and Ruth. He sure was a Gem!!

Posted by Catherine Challener on April 24, 2021
 Dave was my favorite uncle. When he and the gang would arrive, the fun would start. Through my childhood, I always remember him as happy—being happy himself and making others happy. He would scratch on the side of the tent with a stick or make wild rabbit howls when we were sleeping out. He made us blueberry pancakes and lobbied for trips to the ice cream store. He swam with us at Forest Lake and joined in making sand castles. He sang with his ukulele or with his guitar. He was, in fact, always singing.
  He lived life with an amazing gusto and zest. I’ve heard it said, though I can’t confirm it, that he was trying out skiing in his seventies! When he and the gang went to Alaska, it was Dave who rousted everybody out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to see the Northern Lights.
  No matter what the occasion, Dave made it better by caring. When I moved to Denver, it was Dave (with Ruthie and Dan ) who took me out to dinner and helped me adjust to life in a new city. He was like a dad to me that evening. Once Dave sent me a letter with advice about relationships. He really cared; he wanted me to be happy.
  I will miss him terribly. I know he’s in a better place now— maybe trout fishing, or playing his ukulele, and, for sure, singing.

Posted by Chip Watts on April 22, 2021
A common thread among the mourners who have lost a loved one, especially one that was very important to them, is that the person will be remembered, more, never forgotten.

I met Mr. Coate in the late 70s and instantly realized just how genuinely kind and inquisitive the man was. Dan had invited me to spend some time at their place on Lake Chautauqua back in 1982 and that was the last time I had seen Mr. Coate. (Yes, it is odd for a 57 year old man to refer to another adult as Mr. would probably be annoying to the Mr. in question, but I guess it is one of those many anchors to our youth.)

For the nearly four decades since I had last seen Mr. Coate, what I remember was that he worked at Dravo Corporation out on Neville Island. Living in Upper St. Clair for all these decades, I have not travelled up/down the I-79 corridor that goes over Neville Island a whole lot, but every time, and I mean every time, that I did, I always thought of Mr. Coate. And, now that I work in Cranberry, the passages are much more frequent. And, yes, I think of Mr. Coate each and every time.

No, it’s not as beautiful as the thought of a garden, although Silver Queen Corn is another memory because that was what he stopped along the road to purchase one day I was up at Chautauqua, or as wonderful as a piece of music conjuring a distant and fond memory, but it does testify to the strength of the positive impression the man had on me.

The statement at the top of this page, “forever missed” should read, “forever missed, but not forgotten” as I have always, and will continue to remember Mr. Coate every time I drive over Neville Island.
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Shared by Lisa Sauer on April 27, 2021
One of the funniest times I remember with dad was when he was in the health center. We went back to his old apartment (dad in the wheelchair).  Most everything had already been moved out. There was a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator that we had been saving. We decided we better drink it, and then discovered there weren’t any glasses. So we proceeded to drink it directly from the bottle! Lots of laughs
Shared by Gretchen Flossman on April 14, 2021
What a lovely tribute to your Dad.  I have many fond memories of Dave and the Coate family especially when I was a student at Pitt.  Kris and Andrew would take me along up to Lake Chautauqua to spend a few long weekends at the cottage.  It was so much fun... boating and water skiing!  Dave and Ruth were very kind to me. Love to Andrew, Lisa and Dan from Gretche