David Allen Coats

CoatsDavid Allen Coats, 81, on April 18, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minn. David was born on January 21, 1942, to Robert Roy and Elizabeth (née Robinson) Coats in Cabin John, Md.

David graduated from Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, Calif., explored engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and then switched to the study of social work. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Saint Louis University in Missouri and a master’s degree in social work in group and individual psychotherapy from the University of Minnesota. Subsequently, he worked as a psychotherapist for 37 years in public and private practice, including 18 years as a social worker in the field of civil commitments, working closely with the probate court and the medical system.

David dedicated his life to peace, social action, and helping people. His belief in nonviolence led him to join Palo Alto (Calif.) Meeting. Because of his conviction, he chose the path of conscientious objector and was allowed to do his service with American Friends Service Committee in Frankfurt/Main, Germany, where he worked in a nachbarschaftsheim (neighborhood home) with young people and groups of the elderly from 1966 to 1968. 

During his time in Frankfurt, he learned to speak German fluently and started an English discussion group, offering young Germans an opportunity to practice their English language skills. One of the people he invited was Sigrid, a young woman from die Nothelfergemeinschaft der Freunde (the Emergency Helpers Association of Friends), a peace organization founded by a Quaker in Frankfurt after the Second World War. Their friendship blossomed into a caring relationship.

In 1968, David moved back to the United States, and Sigrid joined him the following year. They married on November 1, 1969, under the care of Palo Alto Meeting. He and Sigrid moved to Minneapolis after he was accepted into the master’s program at the University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work. They made Minneapolis their home, and, in 1977, their daughter, Anna, was born. He, Sigrid, and Anna shared a love of nature, wildlife, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, canoeing, music, and language. Aside from David’s full-time commitment to clinical social work, he was engaged in Sigrid’s translation service and became a longtime member of the American Translators Association.

Initially the family participated in Twin Cities Meeting in St. Paul, Minn., and later became attenders of a small meeting and then members once it was established as Prospect Hill Meeting in Minneapolis. David played an essential role in the life of the small meeting, serving as treasurer for many years and on many committees; and bringing his guitar and love of folk music to enliven meeting gatherings. His even temperament; extensive knowledge of all things practical, philosophical, and political; as well as his counseling experience made him a person who everyone could turn to for advice and support.

A favorite hobby was genealogy, inherited by his late brother, Tom. David spent time tracing back his own and Sigrid’s families through many generations, constantly researching and updating an impressive family tree.

David was predeceased by his parents, Robert and Elizabeth Coats; and a brother, Tom Coats.

He is survived by his wife, Sigrid Coats; one child, Anna Coats; a brother, Robert Coats (Katy Silber); a sister, Kathryn “Kitty” Mrache (Michael); and six nieces and nephews.

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