Donald Glenwood Coates was born in Orillia, on May 16, 1943, to Etheleyn and Glen Coates. They moved to Bracebridge in 1946, where Don attended the local schools. He played hockey and was involved in Air Cadets, where he won a scholarship to obtain his private pilot’s licence.
He graduated from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Business Administration and was then employed by Cummins Diesel in sales of diesel engines and developed a wide acquaintanceship in the trucking industry.
He returned to Bracebridge and founded Muskoka Containerized Services. Don was a pioneer in waste management and recycling and became a recognized leader in these businesses. He served for a time as president of the Ontario Waste Management Association. He sold MCS to Capital Environmental Resource Inc. in 1998 and carried on with other business interests.
While his business interests grew, he still found time to serve the community. In earlier years, he was president of the Kinsman’s Club. He served on the Industrial Commission for years. In recent years, he spent countless hours supporting the Muskoka Pioneer Power Club. Don was a long-time supporter and member of the Conservative Parties of Ontario and Canada.
He served on Bracebridge and District of Muskoka Council from 2003 through 2006 and was elected mayor of Bracebridge, serving from 2006 through 2010.
An important part of Don’s life over many years, was his fraternal activity. He maintained life-long friendships from far and wide. He was very fond of his association with the Bad River Fishing Lodge on Georgian Bay. He, his wife Helen, and lucky guests, spent pleasurable time there. His marine adventures were many, and some spectacular. Don was a devoted member of an informal men’s prayer and Bible study group, where he will be greatly missed. He did not force his faith on others but demonstrated it in the way he lived his life.
Don was a Worshipful Master of Muskoka Lodge #360 in the Masonic Grand Registry of Canada, in the Province of Ontario.
He was a 32nd degree member of the Scottish Rite of Canada in the Valley of Barrie, installed as an Honorary Inspector General 33rd degree of the Supreme Council of Canada; an honour also bestowed upon Don’s father Glen Coates many years ago.
He was a member of the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation Board of Directors for the Learning Center for dyslexic children in the Valley of Barrie. He was instrumental in establishing the Muskoka satellite classroom for dyslexic children in Bracebridge, where he regularly served in a volunteer capacity, during the classroom sessions.
He was Past President of the Muskoka Scottish Rite Club. He is a former member of the Muskoka Shrine Club.
Don served as Co-Chair of the 125th anniversary of the Municipality of Bracebridge in the year 2000.
Don was very proud of his family and liked nothing better than having them all together. He and his first wife Joan raised three daughters, and the family grew when he married Helen 25 years ago. He will be forever missed by Helen, daughters Julie Denyes (Rick) of Hamilton, Sherri Breuker (Steve) of Bracebridge, and Susie Hamley (Morgan) of Thornton. He will be equally missed by his step-children Tammy Brazeau of Trenton and Jon Silcox (Jess) of Blenheim. He was much loved by all his grandkids: Tyler, Chad, Samantha, Elizabeth, Caleb (Jona), Jake (Kendra), Michayla, Jaxon, Russel, Rowan, Sydney, Skylar, Leith, and Harris, and great grandkids Lucas, Abigail & Octavia.
Don’s memory will always be cherished by his sister Janice Boyes, brother-in-law and close friend Jim, and his aunt Marion Boothby.
With his passing, Bracebridge, Muskoka, and many other communities who were touched by his work, attention, and generosity, have lost a true and honourable friend.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations made to the South Muskoka Hospital Foundation or to Pinegrove Fellowship Church would be appreciated by Don's family.