Master Sergeant (Retired) Thomas Wayne Coats, 72 of Clinton, passed away on Sunday, September 22, 2019 at UNC Rex Hospital.
The funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM Wednesday, September 25, at Butler Funeral Home, 401 W. Roseboro Street, Roseboro. Burial will follow in the Roseboro Cemetery with full military honors.
He was born on December 8, 1946 to Junious Felton and Nancy Eloise Jones Coats. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Jimmy Felton Coats and brother-in-law, Furman Colbert. He was an adventure seeking and animal loving husband, father, papa, brother, uncle and friend with a contagious smile who served his country proudly. Nutty Acres pecan orchard was his hobby farming along with his love of tractors, 4 wheelers, golf carts and boating.
MSG Coats joined the United States Army in 1966, serving until 1968. From 1968-1975 he served with the US Army Reserve Control Group. In 1975, MSG Coats joined the North Carolina Army National Guard as a M60 Tank Gunner later converting to M1 Armor Crewman with the HHC 1/252 AR. In 1988, He joined the National Guard fulltime force as a military technician in the State Aviation & Safety Office as a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist.
MSG Coats served with distinction in many of the enlisted leadership roles within the Safety community. He was a proud life member of the North Carolina National Guard Association.
Some of MSG Coats outstanding awards include: State of North Carolina Meritorious Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Achievement Medal, North Carolina Service Award, National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Expert Marksmanship Badge and Driver Mechanic Badge.
He retired from the North Carolina National Guard April 2006 with 32 years of service.
He is survived by his wife, Dixie Owen Jordan of the home; son, Tony Wayne Coats and wife, Sherri of Roseboro; daughter, Donna Coats Bullard and husband, Jeff of Roseboro; step-daughter, Dana Jordan Jones and husband, Jeff of Clinton; four grandchildren, Austin Wayne Coats, Bryson Reide Coats, Abbey Grace Bullard and Jackson Lee Bullard; one step grandchild, Jayna Madison Jones; brother, Steve Coats and wife, Brenda of Raleigh; three sisters, Deborah Diane Coble and husband, Earl Gray Coble of Garland, Nancy Kay Colbert of Apex and Jackie Coats Ormond and husband, Willis of Angier; several nieces and nephews and he will be missed by his favorite fur baby, Shylo and his many orphaned cats.
The family will receive friends from 1:00 PM until 1:50 PM prior to the funeral service at Butler Funeral Home, Roseboro.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Ronald McDonald House, 101 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517; or Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250-0301.
Butler Funeral Home of Roseboro is serving the family.