Donald (Don) Coker, age 80, passed away on Monday, November 2, 2020. Don was born on July 21, 1940, to the late Homer and Luna Castleberry Coker of the Ryan’s Well Community. He attended school in Itawamba County and graduated from Sherman High School in 1959. Don attended Itawamba Community College and Florence State University in Florence, Alabama, where he received his Bachelor of science and Master’s degree. He began his career in education in Lexington, Alabama, where he taught science, history and physical education. Don coached basketball and his Golden Bears made it to the state playoffs in 1967 where they finished third in the state. There he formed lasting friendships with his players which existed until his death. Don loved hosting reunions with his players where hours were spent telling tales from years ago. A fantastic and believable storyteller, Don took great liberty in sharing his own embellished version of the “facts” as he remembered them- facts far different from what his players could ever recall. He moved to Sulligent, Alabama serving as high school principal and Superintendent of Education of Lamar County, Alabama. Don then held various administrative positions in St. Clair County and Calhoun County, Alabama. After his retirement in Alabama, Don worked in Georgia before returning home to Mississippi where he served as principal of Dorsey School and headmaster at Tunica Academy. After forty-four years of a gifted education career, he retired in 2010. Don was a Baptist, Mason and Shriner and also served as a member of several educational organizations. He helped many students obtain scholarships and loans in order for them to attend college. Don was an encourager who never gave up on his students which is evidenced today by the numerous contributions they are making to society.
Don is survived by his wife, Arweeda Brown Coker, of fifty-four years; his daughter, Lori Coker Wallace and children Maggie and Reed of Bonaire, Georgia; and son, Chad D. Coker, and his daughter Camille of Muscle Shoals, Alabama; his sisters, Billie Kaye, of Tishomingo, MS, Rubene Spencer, of Ringgold, GA, and Clara Brown, of Fulton; his brother, Hubert Coker (Carol) of Fulton; sisters-in-law, Virginia Coker of Belmont, MS, Nellie Coker of Fulton and Nita Brown of Blue Springs, MS; and brother-in-law, Harry Brown (Ann) of Blue Springs, MS. The ninth of ten children, Don is survived by a multitude of nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Don was preceded in death by four brothers: L.C. (Julia), Charlie, Wayne and Dwayne; one sister, Betty Thornton (Vade); and brother-in-laws Perry Kaye, Roy Strickland, Ellis Spencer and Owen Brown.
Due to the Covid pandemic, a private, family service will be held November 4, 2020 to protect the health and safety of all those for who he loved and cared, including his community of friends and former students. Bro. Todd Bowman of Macedonia Baptist Church will officiate.
Memorials in Don’s honor may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation, www.parkinson.org, the Shriner’s Hospital, www.shrinershospitalforchildren.org or the charity of your choice.