It was fall of 1983 and a Korean Air 747 had been shot down by a Soviet jet fighter after it entered Soviet airspace. It was flight 007 and 269 people were killed. Five days later the Soviet Union admitted to shooting down the plane (Dickson, Paul. “From Elvis to E-Mail.” Massachusetts: Federal Press, p 267).
Locally, the students of Coats High junior class had arrived at school at 7:30 a.m. to order their 1985 class ring — the last that would ever have the Coats School name upon it (The Daily Record, Sept. 20, 1983).
Elsewhere, Mr. and Mrs. Gary Denton announced the birth of a son, Joshua Matthew Denton. The mother was the former Shirley Raynor (The Daily Record, Sept. 22, 1983).
The Coats Area Chamber of Commerce Business Focus of the Week was the Superior Lingerie Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of SLC Fashions Inc. of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. The Coats plant began in 1966 with three employees. After the end of a six-month pilot program, there were 40 employees. The three initial employees were Doris Stewart, Evelyn Beasley and Betty Weaver. The plant had undergone many changes. It had over 200 employees in 1983. Betty Weaver was manager and Robert Pleasant was assistant manager (The Daily Record, Sept. 22, 1983).
The Coats Police Chief Ken Parker turned in his badge unexpectedly in order to take a week’s vacation that was due to him. Dan Ferrell, who had four years of experience with the department, had an application in for the chief’s position. Police Commissioner J.D. Norris asked Ferrell to fill the role until the position could be filled (The Daily Record, Sept. 23, 1983).
Mr. and Mrs. Durwood Strickland announced the engagement of their daughter, Sharon Ann Strickland, to Daryl Lee Ennis, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Ennis (The Daily Record, Sept. 28, 1983).
Can you recall who followed Mr. Parker as Coats Police chief? According to the Sept. 29 edition of The Daily Record, the Coats town board named Dan Ferrell as the police chief of Coats.
Many of Dan’s former teachers will tell you that Dan Ferrell was a talented and brilliant student and we were saddened that he died last year after courageously fighting cancer.
The calendar was a sign that it was time to file for political offices. Greg Stevens and J.D. Norris had filed for Coats commissioners (The Daily Record, Sept. 29, 1983).
Allen Faircloth, a fourth-grader and son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Faircloth, saved the life of a 3-year-old on Sept. 19. Allen spotted Brett Bailey lying on the bottom of the Coats Junior Order pool; Allen dived into the pool and pulled Brett to safety. Resuscitation procedures were begun immediately by Brett’s parents; the rescue squad was called and Brett was rushed to an area hospital and then transferred to Raleigh where his condition was improved (The Daily Record, Sept. 30, 1983).
Jacqui McLamb, a senior at Coats High School, had been nominated for the John Motley Morehead Scholarship that is given each year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jacqui was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Leon McLamb (The Daily Record, Sept. 30, 1983).
Beulah Miller, 78, had died on Monday. Her services were held at Hodges Chapel and burial was in Devotional Gardens. Two daughters, Maude Byrd and Doris Ennis, and two sons, Theron and Rudolph Miller, survived Mrs. Miller. Pauline Honeycutt and Mrs. Inez Corbin were Beulah’s sisters.
There are several names in that obituary that might bring back memories for some of us. Mrs. Miller was a Brown by birth. Her father was a blacksmith and the family continues to own his anvil. There was a house on the Miller farm that is recalled as being a place that Sherman’s troops stopped on the way to Bentonville. Mrs. Miller’s daughter-in-law, Betty, and granddaughter shared the pictures and other information when we wrote the “Heritage of Coats, N.C.”
Another interesting person named in the obituary was her son, Rudolph Miller, who had an outstanding reputation on the basketball court at Coats High. He obviously later earned the reputation of being a good man off the basketball court. Last month, H.L. and I enjoyed a meal at Kim’s in Dunn and were approached by Sammy Moore, a former student of H.L.’s. Sammy shared that he grew up on the Miller farm and that there was never a better neighbor than Rudolph Miller had been to his family.
Her daughter, Doris Miller Ennis, was gifted with the most beautiful voice that she shared with churches across the area at revivals and funerals. She and LeRay lived just outside of Dunn on the Fairground Road. Her talent for beauty was displayed every year as she decorated her grounds for all to enjoy at Christmas. Both are dead now and it is hard not to look toward their house and not to think about all the beauty that once was displayed by the couple.
Pauline Honeycutt was the former Pauline Brown Barefoot, wife of Luke Barefoot. The number of wonderful food orders prepared by Mrs. Pauline are too numerous to even begin to calculate. H.L. and I have often commented that we would love to have a hamburger or cheeseburger from Luke’s.
The Daily Record Oct. 5, 1983, edition reported that the annual Coats Farmer’s Day and Wagon Train Celebration were being planned by the CACC and Coats Junior Order No. 417 (The Daily Record, Oct. 5, 1983).
Exhibit winners at the Four County Fair had included the Happy Helpers 4-H Club of Coats. The poster exhibit had won the first place of $40 (The Daily Record, Oct. 5, 1983).
Mayor Beasley would run unopposed for mayor for another term. Also up for reelection were Cecil Fuquay and J.D. Norris. J.C. Allen and Greg Stevens also filed for seats (The Daily Record, Oct. 10, 1983).
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fowler of Coats had announced the engagement of their daughter, Kimberly Jean Fowler, to Michael Anthony Lindsay of Clinton (The Daily Record, Oct. 12, 1983).
Folks in the Coats area were busy in the fall of 1983. The Coats Woman’s Club raffled a lovely quilt. Margaret Johnson, Mary Langdon, Florine Penny and Laura Langdon were in charge (The Daily Record, Oct. 17, 1983).
Melissa Ann Matthews celebrated her third birthday at the home of her parents, Billy and Joyce Matthews. Melissa’s grandparents were Billy and Frances Matthews and Raymond and Annie Jernigan (The Daily Record, Oct. 18, 1983). Some of you might recognize that Melissa is now Melissa Alphin. I remember following her in all the pageants she entered, won and saw her develop into a self-confident and poised young lady. By the way, was her dad named after his dad or do I have his dad’s name incorrectly stated?
Farmer’s Day was over and the annual Farmer’s Day and Wagon Train Awards went to the Best Professional (Watson Insurance Agency, Coats Seafood, McKnight’s Drug Store) and the Best Non-Professional float went to Tyndall’s Electronics (The Daily Record, Oct. 18, 1983). Were there others?
Paul Moore, 77, of Coats had died on Friday. His services were held at Community Chapel with burial in the Suggs Cemetery. Surviving him were his wife, Lottie Moore; two sons, James and Joe Moore; and two daughters, Bonnie Pate and Linda Matthews. Silas, Enoch and Isaac Moore, Mrs. (?) Hudson, Naomi Temple and Mary Stephenson were siblings (The Daily Record, Oct. 24, 1983).
Another Coats family was touched by death. Andrew McNeill Cook, 86, had died on Sunday. His services were held at Pleasant Memory Baptist Church with burial in Coats City Cemetery. Surviving him were two sons, Bartley and Andrew Cook, and two daughters, Mrs. Roger Williams and Mrs. Roy Hart (The Daily Record, Oct. 25, 1983).
When you were in high school, did the girls take home economics and the boys take agriculture classes? Was there a time in the 1940s that girls were allowed to learn about saws, hammers and electrical wiring? I do know that the Oct. 27, 1983, edition of The Daily Record printed that Coats female students were enjoying vocational agriculture. Debbie Upchurch, Donna Avery and Tracy Ivey were a few of those who learned from projects such as trimming bushes. Was this a class that Coy Broadwell had begun? What a difference that man has made in the landscaping industry.
Terry Avery was crowned homecoming queen for the Coats Midget football team. The Pee Wee queen was Anita Pleasant (The Daily Record, Nov. 1, 1983). In the high school homecoming game, the outgoing queen, Dena Young, crowned Jacqui McLamb as the new homecoming queen, during the halftime of the Yellow Jackets’ winning score 6-0. She was escorted by Derek Tripp and sponsored by Mark Williams (The Daily Record, Nov. 4, 1983).
Tragedy struck an outstanding family in the Oakdale area. Dennis E. Ennis, 29, had died on Saturday. His services were at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church. Burial was in the Ennis Family Cemetery. Surviving Dennis were his mother, Wynona Godwin Ennis; two brothers, Dwight and Daywood; and one sister, Becky Ennis Adams. Dennis was a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and was a chemical inspector for a pharmaceutical company (The Daily Record, Nov. 7, 1983).
Tonya Gauldin, Donna Byrd, Lori Spears, Helen Dennis, Beth Pope and Karen Peede were contestants in the Miss Coats High pageant (The Daily Record, Nov. 9, 1983).
The election in Coats had been held and Cecil Fuquay and J.D. Norris were reelected to the Coats Board of Commissioners (The Daily Record, Nov. 8, 1983).
Joe Giles, CPA, who audited the town books, praised the town of Coats for increasing the tax collection rate from 89.2% in 1981-82 to 93% this fiscal year (The Daily Record, Nov. 11, 1983).
The Carolina Conference had named the All Conference team in football. From the Coats Yellow Jackets team were Freddie McDuffie, junior back; Elton Stewart, senior linebacker; Trace Denning, senior fullback; and junior back Jerry Lee. Pernell Greene and Paul Capps were accorded honorable mention (The Daily Record, Nov. 15, 1983).
Coats Museum notes
A special thank you goes to Ralph and Lorena Denning for remembering Ralph’s brother-in-law, Phillip Barnes, and his 1963 Coats High School classmate Harry Denton with memorials to the Coats Museum. If you run into Ralph or Lorena after we are allowed to socialize again, please thank them for the strong support they give to our town museum. Ralph and Lorena live in Raleigh but they are supportive of many events that go on in Coats.
Go to coatsmuseum.com and look at copies of the articles that have appeared in the The Daily Record, US Census Records, list of many interred in the Coats City Cemetery, military records of some early veterans, members of Black River Tigers, and those honored and memorialized under “Funding” for the museum.