UNION STAR, Mo. – Lee Elvin Coats passed away on Sept. 10, 2023, after a life of love, laughter, travel, and hard work.

Lee was the second of 12 children, born July 24, 1936, to Howard and Ellen (Flanagan) Coats. He resided in Andrew County for nearly his entire life.

With humble beginnings, he developed a strong work ethic at an early age. As a youth he worked on the family farm as well as for neighboring farmers, and the Bowen Chicken Hatchery in Union Star.

After graduating from USHS in 1954, he joined the US Air Force and served in Scotland working in intelligence. He would later say his job was so secret even he didn’t know what he was doing.

On Aug. 7, 1960, he married Carol J. Heerlein, of St. Joseph. Together they raised four children.

He provided for his family working at Hy-Klas Dairy, Ferbert’s Lawn and Tree Services, and various construction companies before he retired from Ideker Inc. after 32 years in Laborers Local 579.

He was also a life long farmer raising cattle, pigs, and various crops. He was a member of Flag Springs Baptist Church and Savannah Masonic Lodge #71.

He enjoyed fishing, playing cards with friends at the local tavern, and recounting childhood exploits.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years and his son, Jerry Coats.

Lee is survived by his children, Howie (Annette) Coats, Becki (Rick) Steiner, Andy Coats and Cathy Coats; grandchildren, Shanea Jennings, Brooke and Joshua Steiner, Ashley, William, Wyatt, Eion, Ryan, Isaac, Jessica, and Dylan Coats, and Kassi (Justin) Ward; brothers, Irvan (Christine), William (Emma), Ted (Nola), Joe (Alice), David (Fay), and Tom Coats; sisters, Lela Innes, Jeannie (Dennis) Laffoon, Nancy (Vernon) Townsend, Cecile Talley, and Mary Orwald; Eight great-grandchildren, dear friend and companion, Glenys Stanton; caregiver and warden, Lisa Herring.

Services 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, at Heaton-Bowman-Smith Savannah Chapel, Savannah Missouri, where the family will receive friends 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Interment with Full Military Honors at Benton Cemetery, Forest City, Missouri.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations have been requested to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Shriners Hospitals for Children.