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March 15, 1934 - February 13, 2024

In Loving Memory ~

With immense sadness we announce the passing of Fred in the early hours of February 13th

Fred is survived by his wife of 51 years Janet (Jan); his children Melanie Coates and Gregory Coates (Monika); and grandchildren Michelle Coates; Gregory Coates; Geoffrey Coates; and Vincenzo D'Amico.

He is also survived by his sister Marion Barnes of Calgary, Alberta; his sister-in-law Judith Matheson of Gatineau, PQ, and several nieces and nephews. Missing him as well, is Smudge, his adored mini-schnauzer and lap buddy.

He was predeceased by his parents John (Jack) Coates and Gladys Coates of Brandon, Manitoba and by his younger brother David Coates of Victoria BC.

Fred was born in Brandon Manitoba. He began his working career there, where as a very young man he attended school and juggled work as a call-boy for the CPR - he eventually gave up the call-boy's bike and became a brakeman and a trainman.

He left the CPR to work within the meat packing industry in Brandon before moving to Vancouver and continuing in that industry until accepting a position with Agriculture Canada where he became an active unionist - first as a local union steward, then as a regional representative.

He and Jan moved to Ottawa when he was elected National President of the Agriculture Union in 1983 and he served in that capacity from then until 1993. He is an honourary life member of the Agriculture Union, Public Service Alliance of Canada.

With Jan retiring in 1998 the way was paved for a return to BC and they were delighted to find the perfect perch in Agassiz. Fred transitioned to advocacy for seniors, becoming active within the BC Old Age Pensioners Organization (BC OAPO), where he served as president of the Agassiz branch; held various positions on the provincial board; and was elected provincial president for three years.

At the same time he served as General Vice-President of the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of BC (COSCO) and also as 1st Vice President of Branch 02 of the National Association of Federal Retirees, Chilliwack. He is a life member of the BCOAPO.

Fred's activism waned by necessity when he was diagnosed ten years ago with mantle cell lymphoma, but the one thing that never waned was his propensity to tell a good story or deliver a hilarious joke. He took great joy in routinely downsizing his closet when his grandsons were around, "gifting" them with his prized duds! His determination that something would fit the intended recipient just perfectly irrespective of differences in height and weight, seemed to achieve that end result - it was magic!

Until his health interfered, he was a member of the Kent-Harrison Senior Social Centre at Friendship House floor curling club and he enjoyed golfing at the Harrison Hot Springs Golf Resort. He was perhaps happiest when together with Jan and the dog(s), he was heading off to Vancouver Island, the Maritimes, or Yuma in their motor home.

He will be remembered for his ability to connect with people by telling humorous stories and his repertoire of jokes was bottomless. Friends and family will long treasure memories of those times of lightness and laughter.

Fred believed that the social activities offered at the senior centre at Friendship House in Agassiz are integral to the well-being of the community's seniors. Should anyone so wish, donations in his name may be made to Kent-Harrison Senior Social Centre Society (KHSCHS), 7272 Morrow Rd., Agassiz, BC V0M 1A2.

A Celebration of Life will be held on March 23, 2024 at 1 pm at the Agassiz United Church, 6860 Lougheed Hwy. with reception following.

Condolences and memories may be shared at

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Saturday, March 23, 2024
1:00 PM
Agassiz United Church, 6860 Lougheed Hwy.

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