Peter Coates

Peter Coates

Friday, January 3rd, 1930 - Wednesday, September 25th, 2019
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Peter, dad, Opa left this world peacefully on September 25, 2019. Born on January 3, 1930, he grew up on the family farm just outside of Creemore with his siblings Robert, Helen, Jean, and Loraine, and their parents Elsie and Cecil Coates.

Music was his life. As a teenager, Peter traveled by train to Toronto to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Upon earning his Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto in piano, he made his way to Collingwood where he was hired as the youngest church organist on record for Trinity United Church. Peter was also an elementary school music teacher, traveling to rural schools around the Collingwood and Blue Mountain area. During this time, he met Marguerite Hoogendyke, a local elementary school teacher. She became the love of his life; they married on August 7, 1953.

Peter subsequently became an elementary classroom school teacher at Byng Public School in Stayner, bringing home many hilarious stories about his students. As if he was not already busy enough, Peter acted as the choir director and organist at both Trinity United and All Saints’ Anglican churches for over 60 years. This role gave him immense joy and satisfaction. Peter also taught private piano lessons after school and acted as the part-time sales representative for Keats Organ Company, designing and selling pipe organs to churches around the country.

Peter’s love of the outdoors included skiing, hiking and swimming. Every winter weekend was spent at Alpine Ski Club. Peter continued skiing well into his 70's. Craigleith Provincial Park became a regular stomping ground for him and his family, as did the Bruce Trail. He also enjoyed cycling as a mode of transportation in and around Collingwood, frequently in his fuzzy slippers. This was a quaint quirk. Another passion of Peter’s was trains. He and his family were the original train spotters! 

Perhaps Peter’s most outstanding traits was his eternal optimism and belief in community service. He was a founding member of the Interfaith Choir, Sound Investment Choir, and the Georgian Trio. Peter was a member of the Bruce Trail Association, the Nature Conservancy, the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts, and the Georgian Triangle Humane Society. He delivered Meals on Wheels and was a visitor to shut-ins. Peter regularly played the piano for residents at local nursing homes. He had time for everyone.

Peter was known for his stories that he enjoyed repeating, often. This was his way of connecting.
An avid traveller, hiking enthusiast, and keen historian, Peter and Marguerite revelled in their adventures abroad. Together they explored much of Canada, as well as numerous countries in Europe and the Caribbean. Locally, Peter regularly combed the Blue Mountains and the Bruce Trail with Marguerite and his daughters in tow in the early years, and then by car when Marguerite could no longer travel on foot.

Peter is survived by his three daughters: Henny, Robin (Jim Everts), Martha (Philippe Eveleigh), and his cherished grandsons, Anton and Cédric Eveleigh, who you have probably heard about. ‘Opa’ encouraged them wholeheartedly in their pursuits, delighted in being an important part of their life, and never failed to ask about their accomplishments.

Our heartfelt thanks for the sustained attention and loving care by numerous people goes out to all, but in particular to Susan Connolly, Velma Cook, Kathy & Larry Halliday, and Greg Goldsworthy. We also wish to thank the staff at Sunset Manor, in particular Marsha, Brent, Deb, Linda R., and Kevin for taking such fine care of dad and making his final months as comfortable as possible. And to Marilyn McEachern, we are so deeply thankful that she could take dad/Opa to the places he loved. She brightened up his final days.

Peter’s involvement in the musical community, his love of the natural world, and his mission to make this world a better place for all speak volumes to who he is, was, and will forever remain: a kind, generous musician, fiercely devoted to his family.

A service of remembrance will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday October 26, 2019 at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Collingwood. In lieu of flowers, we ask that memorial contributions in his memory be made to the Georgian Triangle Humane Society or the Bruce Trail Association.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, October 26th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Saturday, October 26th, 2019 11:00am
    All Saints' Anglican Church
    32 Elgin Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Douglas Michael
  • Reception

    All Saints' Anglican Church
    32 Elgin Street
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Carol Kinsey (Malcolm)

Posted at 05:41pm
Peter and Marguerite were our very good neighbours on Napier St. from the late 50's to 1979 and before that my music teacher in St. Mary's School. He was music personified and his love of hiking, skiing and trains were contagious. My Dad (George Malcolm) liked nothing better then to be in his garden and have the Coates girls come for a chat. Marguerite was good company for my Mother after my Dad died and helped put in many hours with her. I am truly sorry to hear of Peters passing.

May the memories that are so difficult now be the very ones that bring you comfort and a smile in the days ahead.


Carol Kinsey (ne: Malcom)

Victor Allman

Posted at 09:21pm
Peter Coates came through for us at our wedding ceremony 27 years ago when our original organist bailed out on us. He graced our special day with his lovely playing. We are so thankful for Peter. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family. May God comfort you all during this time of sorrow.

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
[Numbers 6:24-26 ESV]

Victor and Monica Allman

Charlton Jones

Posted at 10:14am
Mr. Peter Coates has left an indelible mark in my personal life. He very graciously tutored me in the art of organ repertoire and technique. As an adult student, I required an intructor of immeasurable patience and who demonstrated a genuine passion towards success. Peter Coates fulfilled all these traits. I take this space to express my heart felt condolences to Peter's family on the passing of a great musician and a decent human being. May you feel the blessings of Almighty God as you celebrate the life of Peter Coates. We know that death is only transitory to the sphere of eternal life stored up in the mansions of God's house eternal in the heavens. Rest in peace dear friend!! Your music lives on.

Charlton Jones
Joyce Jones

Larry Swalm

Posted at 02:35pm
Dear Henny, Robin & Martha & family,

I heard of the news of your father’s passing a week ago; you’ve been in our thoughts and prayers since. What a great guy he was. I remember as a student a Duntroon Central Mr. Coates would come into the class while we were to be quietly working on an assignment. He would stand next to the seated teacher (usually Mrs. Sproule) and in his low half-whispering voice would have the teacher bound in some sort of long story. I would try to listen in but I wasn’t discrete enough and he would turn and say “Mr. Swalm, don’t you have something to do?” Embarassed I would return my attention to my work. As a close family friend we saw the Coates family often on our family farm and always enjoyed his/your company. There was always something to laugh at. I was always amazed at how fast he could speak...often transforming the word BECAUSE into a quick and simple BEEZ. No-one could play the organ like Peter Coates. I wanted so much for him to play at our wedding but Fort Erie was just too far to go so he invited me to the United Church to review some music. Having an affinity to pipe organ music I stood in amazement as he rattled off several appropriate wedding songs from memory and filled the dark empty church with glorious music. Mr. Coates was especially instrumental (literally) in encouraging me to learn to play ukulele, guitar, recorder and anything else I felt like learning. I (and our family) have so many fond memories of Peter and Marguerite. Due to business travel I won’t be able to attend on Oct 26 but you can bet I will be thinking of you all.

Glenna Kennedy

Posted at 03:43pm
Peter and Marguerite were my neighbors and friends for many years. Such terrific people. Always a laugh and a story and just genuinely good people. In their many travels they would bring trinkets home for our 3 sons. One year, near Xmas, our boys received what looked like original letters from the North Pole, from Santa. The boys were amazed, as were we because we had no idea where they came from. A few months later, Marguerite explained that they'd traveled to Norway, furthest point on earth, to the 'North Pole' They'd found a store that did traditional and very real looking letters from Santa and put our boys name down on the list. Our boys still remember that after all these years. This was the kind of people that Peter and Marguerite were. Many a night, we'd listen to him playing piano or even playing in a group, when others came to join him. It was magical. My condolences to the girls and their families. He will be missed by all. Glenna Kennedy

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