Revisiting news and Coats community events in 1982


As we revisit the 1982 news in Coats and Grove Townships, Ronald Reagan continued to reside in the White House. Reagan was the first movie actor to become president, the first divorced man to become president and the oldest president to be elected to office. He was two weeks away from his 70th birthday when he took the oath of office (Bumann, Joan and John Patterson. “40 Presidents — Facts and Fun.” Willowisp Press, Inc.1981, 156).

Several survivors of Tempie Dixon Denning of Route 2, Angier, lived in the Grove area. The lady had died at Good Hope Hospital in Erwin. She was the daughter of the late Ben Dixon and Nancy Emily Coats Dixon and was widow of Floyd Lamas Denning. Services were at Rose Funeral Home in Coats and Bethel Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery. Mrs. Melvin Daniel, Lamas Denning and Junius Denning had survived her (Daily Record, Sept. 17, 1982).

Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Barnes announced the marriage of their daughter, Tonya Barnes, to Bryan M. Byrd, son of Barbara S. Byrd and Frederick Byrd (Daily Record, Sept. 22, 1982).

What are the statistics for longevity of marriages today? I do know in 1982, Mr. and Mrs. Maylon F. Avery were honored on their 40th anniversary at Prospect Free Will Baptist Church. Mrs. Avery was the former Flossie McLeod, daughter of the late Benjamin and Laura McLeod (Daily Record, Sept. 24, 1982). Who were the parents of Mr. Maylon? Wonder if he was a descendant of the founders of Averasboro. Was that settlement ever referred to as Averyville?

The Coats Farmer’s Day of 1982 was declared the most successful ever. Wonder how they determined that bit of information? Did the group keep a record of previous ones? Were there years that there were no Farmer’s Days? Was it always called Farmer’s Day?

I do know that The Daily Record’s Sept. 24 edition printed that Ed’s Variety Store, Doyle Barbour Grocery, Coats Motor Company and Ennis Ag sponsored the best professional float in the parade. The best nonprofessional honors went to the IGA Store. The Coats High School Band was judged the best while the best antique car belonged to Delbert Lockamy. (Where is that car today?)

The Coats Board of Commissioners put the stamp of approval on several items including Univision Cable Systems, a county drug task force, and a proposal from the Lions Club to construct a second concession stand at the town’s recreation park (Daily Record, Oct. 12, 1982).

As you read about the impact that clubs and other volunteers make in communities, can you put faces behind all those hours of giving back to the community?

I do know that Ashley Laine Coats was honored on her sixth birthday with a “Smurf” party in her first grade class (Daily Record, Oct. 12, 1982). Laine was daughter of Ronald Coats, who so ably served the town of Coats as its mayor, and her mom was Joy Coats, who made such a positive impact on students as they came through her office as secretary at the Coats School.

Death visited Coats and took Polly Norris Nordan who had died on Tuesday. The 98-year-old woman was mother of Mrs. Ralph Turlington, Ada Whittington and Lettie Moore. Two half brothers were Bryant Norris and Larkin Norris (Daily Record, Oct. 14, 1982).

Can you imagine the stories that she could tell about growing up in the 1880’s and 90’s-one room schools, no cars, no paved highways, no electric lights, no local stores. In fact, James Thomas Coats had only purchased land from the Daniel Shaw heir in 1875-76 that would become incorporated as Coats in 1905.

Denise Currin had married Craig Thomas Matthews (Daily Record, Oct. 18, 1982). What a difference that couple has made in Coats and surrounding areas.

Does anyone know where the following development was located? A Coats man, Stacy A. Byrd, had made plans to develop 85 acres of land between Dunn and Erwin (Daily Record, Oct. 20, 1982).

I do know that The Daily Record Oct. 20, 1982 edition printed that Stacy’s father, Sgt. Fred A. Byrd, in October 1918, lunged from the Allied trenches in his last battle of the war. Byrd, 90, remembered his part in a war two generations removed from the present. Sixty years ago, Byrd watched the Armistice Day celebration from his hospital window. Byrd recalled, “It was a jubilee in the streets. They shipped us across France and Belgium in an open flat car. It rained on my face and on the others, too, who were headed for the hospital.”

Mr. Byrd was a deputy sheriff before he entered the U.S. Calvary in June 1917. He became a deputy U.S. marshal and was owner and operator of the Coats Gin Company. He recalled how his group began with 250 men and ended up with 29 (Daily Record, Oct. 20, 1982). Did you know from earlier columns that Fred was the son of John McKay Byrd, who was a state legislator, a Harnett County sheriff and partner with N.T. Patterson in several Coats businesses in the first decades of the 1900’s?

Death was touching the Nordan family more than once in October of 1982. Myrtle Elizabeth Nordan Coats, 75, of Coats, had died on Tuesday. Her services were held at Rose Funeral Home Chapel in Benson and the burial was in the Coats Cemetery. Surviving her were two sons, Wade and Sherrill Coats (Daily Record, Oct. 20, 1982). Was her husband, Otis Coats, a merchant in Coats? What family connection did Mrs. Myrtle have with all the Nordan families in the Bailey’s Crossroads area and what connection did Mr. Otis have to the town’s namesake?

Many Coats kids rode their bikes for the Cystic Fibrosis fundraiser. Sue Penny and Margaret Johnson of the Woman’s Club served refreshments. Dottie Bowden Tyndall, Shirley Allen, Pat Penny, Jeanette Pleasant, James and Vickie Johnson, Ronald and Frances Avery, Barry Butts, Don Ennis, Wade Norris, Lee Roy Williams and Ken Parker helped with the event (Daily Record, Oct. 21, 1982). Does anyone have pictures of this event?

Fifty years is a long time and especially if one is married to the same person for that period of time. Mr. and Mrs. John A. Holmes of Coats celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Sept. 26. The couple’s children, Mr. and Mrs. Devaughn Holmes, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Holmes, Mr. and Mrs. Benny Holmes, Mr. and Mrs. Stacy Holmes and Jackie Holmes, honored their parents with the reception at the Coats United Methodist Church (Daily Record, Oct. 21, 1982). Who was Mrs. Holmes before she married John Holmes? I do know that several of their sons served in the military.

Charles Ray Beasley, 25, died on Saturday from traffic accident injuries. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Beasley of Coats. Carolyn Temple of Coats, Danny Beasley, Donald Beasley and Ricky Beasley were his siblings (Daily Record, Oct. 25, 1982). Is this family connected to Max and Godfrey or Jerry Beasley? The Coats Woman’s Club had a Halloween party and dressed in costumes. Laura Langdon, M.O. Phillips, Linda Massengill and J.A. Langdon were among those who enjoyed the party (Daily Record, Oct. 25, 1982).

Mr. and Mrs. Gary Butler, of Route One, Coats, had announced the birth of a son at Rex Hospital. The mother was the former Julia Danenburg (Daily Record, Oct. 27, 1982).

How many of you kept your report cards or your children’s report cards? We often have individuals drop by with report cards of their parents from the 1900’s. Believe it or not, the recognition of honor students from the 1920s and ’30s have been printed in the newspapers. If you have a copy of the “Heritage of Coats, NC,” read the early decades of the 1900’s to find a relative’s name on the honor roll.

J.C. Hawley, principal of Coats High School, had announced the principal’s list period of 1982-83. These students had achieved a straight “A” average. In the 12th grade these students were named: Gwen Bass, Patti Dennis, Kris Norris, Sherri Whittington, Lisa Williams and Dena Young. Patricia Royals was the only 11th-grader to make all “A’s.” Amy Adams and Mark Langdon were the 10th grade honorees. The ninth-graders were Andrea Ennis, Peggy Ennis, Tommy Johnson, Maria Langdon and Gary Meadows.

The following were on the honor roll which required a “B” or better average: 12th-graders Vince Beasley, Karen Capps, Jerry Coats, Domini Ennis, Vickie Gregory, Jennifer Johnson, Tim King, Lou Ann McKoy, Delphine McDuffie, Glenn McLeod, Paula Stevens, Samantha Stewart and Michael Williams.

Grade 11 honorees were Christine Bullard, Helen Dennis, Terry Edwards, Stacey Johnson, Gina Keene, Jackie McLamb, Paul McLeod, Mark Patterson, Jody Pollard, Beth Pope, Keith Roberts, Lynn Stephenson, Sharon Strickland, and Jo Ellen White.

In grade 10, accolades went to Sherri Adams, Sonja Barbour, Brooke Betts, Vicky Byrd, Steve Creech, Pam Denton, Terry Dibella, Jimmy Gaskins, Carolyn Hollis, Tim Lane, Anita Matthews, Foy Pope, Melinda Stanley, Derek Tripp, and Brian Whittington.

The ninth-grade honor roll students were Donna Allen, Dana Barnes, Kitty Betts, Edwin Brewer, Pam Campbell, Carrie Creech, Christy Gregory, Chris Gerhardt, Sheryl Harvey, Carolyn Ivey, Travis Lee, Danny Myers, Alice Ann Roberts, Toby Stevens and Lisa Tart (Daily Record, Oct. 29, 1982).

Pearl Tew Tart, 66, of Coats, had died on Sunday. Her burial was in the Coats Cemetery. Two sons, Maylon and Raymond Allen Tart, survived her. Mrs. Donald Pleasant was her only daughter (Daily Record, Nov. 1, 1982). There’s that Tart name again.

A Saturday morning explosion at a Hodges Crossroads store had left J.W. Sorrell Jr. of Route One, Coats, in critical condition at the Burn Center in Chapel Hill at the North Carolina Memorial Hospital. Sorrell had received an anonymous phone call early Saturday morning that the store was being broken into. When Sorrell opened the door, the explosion occurred, sending him into the parking lot (Daily Record, Nov. 1, 1982).

Coats Museum notes

Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 17, from 1 to 3 p.m., (not April 17) to visit the Coats Heritage Square where Lenny Parker will share his perspective on 911 and other topics related to his work on the DMORT team that identifies the bodies of those killed in manmade and natural disasters. Lenny will present his program in the community building at 1 p.m.

Lenny’s uniform and other items related to his work as a SBI agent and as a part of the national DMORT team will be on display at 2 p.m. in the Coats Museum. We really hope Lenny’s 1973 Coats High classmates, the Coats firemen and public will come to discover the amazing career path that own Lenny has traveled. Don’t miss this free event.


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