John Lee Coats

July 22, 1954April 6, 2021
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John Lee Coats, was born on July 22, 1954 in Denver, Colorado and passed away peacefully making the spiritual journey to a higher power on April 6, 2021 in Lone Tree, Colorado.

John was born in Denver, CO to Robert and Carol (Will) Lee. Unfortunately, his father passed away when he was only eight. At this point, his mother Carol, and his siblings, Marsha and Bob, were in a moment of transition until they all found the future father and husband of 61 years in John Ingles Coats. The family soon accepted the Coats name and gained one of the greatest father figures anyone could ever ask her.

This began a wonderful journey that took the Coats Family around the world. Now in a military family, John’s parents John and Carol Coats, siblings Marsha, Bob Coats,and Paul Coats called many places home. They had spent time in Georgia,Texas, Alabama,Germany,Kansas, Arizona, Guatemala, Colorado and Virginia.

When John was young, the Coats Family moved to Guatemala. Guatemala left a lasting impression on John and he loved speaking Spanish. He loved the Latin American culture. The Coats’ often would have to pack up and call a new place home which exposed him to many different cultures, perspectives and experiences.

He decided to call Northern Virginia home and met his future wife Diana (Dunn) Coats in Vienna, Virginia. He called Northern Virginia home for over 35 years, and was a longtime resident of Lake Jackson (Manassas, VA). He lived on the Occoquan River and enjoyed fishing with his bass boat with his black labs Boo and Cooper. He was an avid gardener and had a vibrant green house and garden.

They welcomed two children, Crystal and Charles Coats, into the world. He adored his children and often would tailor new adventures any chance he got: hiking, berry picking, family dinners, fishing, spontaneous traveling, family reunions and cooking for his loved ones. Everyone has a memory of his famous cookies, chicken and pickles. He often would give them out as gifts, sending them across the country.

One of his greatest accomplishments was his sobriety. After getting sober in 1981, it became his life’s work to dive deep into the recovery and sobriety community. When he wasn’t working, at home or with his children, he was in the basement of Churches or outside at a park with his AA “family.” In the 90s, he attended LifeSpring and started leading others in their personal transformation and became a Life Coach for anyone recovering and becoming more they could ever imagine. He has sponsored and coached others for many years and the impact of ripples through the recovery and sobriety community. Later in life, John, along with many of his recovery family, co-founded “Club Hope” a recovery and sobriety non-profit in Manassas, Virginia. In September of 2021, he would have celebrated 40 years of sobriety. He referred to his sobriety date as his actual birthday. He always had a strong sense of duty and service to his friends, family, and community anywhere he called home.

After he retired, he moved back to Colorado to be closer to his family out West. After the passing of his father, John I. Coats, he assumed one role that he was inherently remarkable at: caregiver of this mother Carol.

He loved taking long car rides with his dog Cooper in the backseat wagging his tail to the most scenic views, the hottest of hot springs, the dog park with the most dogs, the small towns with the best coffee and food and any fishing hole. Everyday was just a little bit different and that is what he wanted.

John loved to laugh and make others laugh. He was a joyful, free spirit that treasured simple pleasures: time with loved ones, getting lost and found, not having a plan, having a fire, growing a garden, and getting a smile from the most serious of faces (think Patch Adams).

He was a kind, generous, and loving father, brother, uncle, cousin, neighbor, co-worker, sponsor and friend to many. He believed that he was at his best when he was in service of others and making a difference in this world.

He touched many lives and John's legacy will be carried on. He leaves behind: His children Crystal and Charles Coats, his mother Carol, his sister Marsha Sperling and husband Doug and their kids Tyson, Katelyn, Thad and Noah, his brother Bob, his wife Trudy and their kids Fawn, Shayla, Theo, Kendrick and Clara, his brother Paul, his wife Patricia and their kids Bjorn, Ilsa and Stellan, his aunt Kay, Max and Peg, his cousin Mike and Bonnie and their kids Ari and Kelsey, and countless other loved ones.

His loved ones will miss his unique personality and sense of humor; one that often would light up the room. He would often call a whole room family, even if they were not. He would often go out of his way to take care of someone at the lowest of lows. He would often buy the meal/drink for the car behind him in the drive thru line. He would often take the scenic route, just to be present in having lived another day. He would often be the first one there and the last one to leave.

John Coats will always remain in memory as the kind and gentle soul that he was for so many. May he rest in peace until we all meet him again.

If desired, Memorial donations can be made in lieu of flowers to Castle Rock Clubhouse and The Unity Club of Falls Church, Virginia and Orient Land Trust.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on April 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm at Phillip S. Miller Regional Park, 1381 Plum Creek Pkwy., Castle Rock, CO.


  • Celebration of Life Service

    Sunday, April 11, 2021


John Lee Coats

have a memory or condolence to add?

Alana Miller

April 12, 2021

I'm going to miss you though I mostly interacted with you on FB. Always smiling, always cheerful. Made my day many times. Thank you John.

Krystal Catino

April 11, 2021

I met John 7 years ago at Ace Hardware in Manassas well into my second trimester of pregnancy and heavily nesting. I decided I wanted to paint my sunroom and was having difficulties choosing the right shade of grey. John came to my rescue. As we were going over paint choices he asked my name and told me all about his own daughter who shares the same name, Crystal. The conversation eludes me but the love for his daughter does not. In that short conversation to a stranger 7 years ago I felt the strength of love for his Crystal and thought what a lucky girl she is to have such a wonderful dad. I could sense how proud of her he was. I saw him several times after having finally settled on my third choice of grey paint and every time he remembered my name with a little twinkle in his eye.

Bruce Boyer

April 10, 2021

I met John at the Clifton First Things First meeting about 2012 and appreciated his easy going manner. He taught me many things about living one day at a time and real acceptance. I learned that I could always trust his wisdom and advice, and most of all his willingness to listen and share our most troubling issues.
He worked tirelessly to revive and sustain Club Hope of Manassas where I regularly attended several meetings with him each week for many years. Even after he moved back to Colorado we shared our experiences an a regular basis.
John was one of the most loving and consistent men I have ever met. I will miss him sorely, Bruce

Adina H

April 10, 2021

John joined the Castle Rock Clubhouse and soon became a sober inspiration and part of our family. He was always available after meetings for a chat and comforting words if I was struggling with something. He had a gentle spirit and a lovely disposition, he truly lived our program as a way of life. His shares during meetings could be lighthearted, he had a great sense of humor, or deep and meaningful leaving us better and stronger in our different paths. He loved the fellowship of the AA rooms and even at 39years of sobriety he claimed his seat at meetings often realizing the importance of all of us growing from the interaction and stability our meetings provide us. He said this in a meeting once and I asked him later if he could text me what he said...

Wes Sanchez

April 10, 2021

Was fortunate enough to meet John in his early recovery in 1981. We shared living arrangements in a sober household. John embraced the AA program with dedication & perseverance and carried the message to others by example. His calm spiritual & loving presence will be missed.

Beth Corish

April 10, 2021

John was one of the first friends I made in AA when we moved to Clifton. When someone in our meeting celebrated an anniversary he passed around a very insightful homemade card for people at the meeting to sign and give to the celebrant. He was a deeply spiritual and generous soul.

Linda Ann Remley

April 10, 2021

John and I are members of the Class of ‘81 and shared a great joy in recovering together! John was best man in my wedding and I pray that my late husband Win was there to greet John this week. I’m sure they’re having fun together right now! John gave me a 35 year chip when we last met in 2016. It was a meaningful visit and I’m so glad we spent the time reminiscing being young and sober and then living our whole lives in the 12 steps. I’m sad for all who will miss John and special condolences to the love and light of his heart: Crystal and Charles.

Marsha Sperling

April 10, 2021

Johnny was a spunky feisty baby brother. I remember him having to sit at the dinner table to finish his plate, as required in our family, but he often sat so long chewing and chewing that it got close to bedtime before he was excused from the table. Who knew that he would become a good and gracious man who loved to cook for others and loved food as well. I am so glad he got to enjoy his Colorado before leaving us to be set free from the cares of this world. You are so very loved.

Stacy & Grace Godby

April 9, 2021

Driving home late one night in Larkspur during a severe snow storm , my daughter, Grace, ran over John and Carol’s mailbox. (Ran over..... never to be recognized again). The next day we knocked on the door to apologize, and, pay for the damage. John graciously invited us inside, offered us Perrier and chocolate. We sat and chatted, lost a scrabble match to Carol, and, played with Cooper and Kitty. John never had any intentions of asking us to pay for the mailbox. He wanted to get to know Grace and understand her character.

We became instant friends.

He had a way of empathizing and reaching others. He connected with Grace and wanted to understand a fair trade for the mailbox. He asked for her to get good grades and be a good human. She agreed.

We are so very saddened with his quick departure but know his reach was wide. This is his legacy- graciousness and kindness, caring for his mom and helping soo many.

Last Thursday, I had a tough day. John and I sat and chatted before Queen Bee Carol and I had another spirited scrabble match. John instantly made me feel okay. My bad day was suddenly better with a good laugh over a picture of his “pride and joy.”

buffalo kaplinski

April 9, 2021

the passing of JOHN is rather shocking ; but we all have appointments in this matter & we don't know when ? i met JOHN when i visited his mom CAROL & knew he was her care giver in LARKSPUR. you could not dislike JOHN in any way - he had a GREAT WARMTH as all of the COATS do . i'm also reminded of JOHN senior , a bedrock of MORAL STABILITY & CHARACTER & MOM , CAROL - great CHRISTIAN HERITAGE .