Olive Gray Emmert Coe

April 23, 1923May 3, 2022
Obituary of Olive Gray Emmert Coe
Olive Gray Emmert Coe of Dallas passed away Tuesday, May 3, 2022. She was 99 years old. Her family will miss her every day for the rest of their lives. Olive was born April 23, 2022, in Woods Hole, Falmouth, Massachusetts. Her mother was Maude Thornber Gray, a homemaker, and her father, John Millen Gray, was a US Coast Guard officer. She attended grade schools in the N.Y. and N.J. suburbs of Manhattan and attended high school in New Jersey, the Upper Peninsula Michigan and St. Louis, MO, where she graduated from Maplewood High School. Olive then attended Washington University and graduated in 1944 as a Registered Nurse from what is now known as the Goldfarb School of Nursing/Barnes Jewish College. In 2015, she received the Distinguished Alumnae Award from her alma mater. In 1948 she married John A. Emmert, MD and they had two daughters, Cynthia and Barbara. She was a homemaker for part of that time and also helped manage her husband's medical practice. They divorced in 1959. In 1960, Olive became licensed in real estate and after a brief stint, returned to nursing. She became a Manager of St. Paul Hospital's Central Supply Department where medical instruments of all types were sterilized for patient safety. Seeing deficits in that department, she became a strong advocate for ushering in disposable equipment and supplies and also for raising the educational bar for employees in this area. She wrote a curriculum, designed manuals and other training materials, and became a part-time professor at El Centro Community College. Later, she began teaching and mentoring health care leaders and students from abroad after traveling the world on a government grant to expand her own understanding of infection control practices in other countries. In addition, she became involved with manufacturers of related medical equipment where she saw room for improvement. She published numerous professional articles and became a trusted advisor to Johnson & Johnson and other companies. In 1969 Olive met the love of her life, R. Vernon Coe and in 1970 they married. For 26 years, each of them felt they were the lucky one. They loved to travel and dance. The mid-70s saw Olive evolve yet again, this time in a more creative endeavor, interior design. She founded Fairmount Interiors in 1974. She would enjoy this for 20 years. Olive was beautiful. She always dressed elegantly, with her hair in her signature French twist. She was charming, smart and her smile was contagious. She had the grace and dignity of a true lady in any situation. A natural leader, determined and hard-working, she was elected president of several social and charitable organizations. She designed and built her own home at age 73 and opened it up to charity events. She "rang the bell" collecting contributions for the Salvation Army, established scholarships for nursing education and supported Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and the SPCA. Throughout her life she made friends of all ages and she regularly attended the Discovery Class at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Olive believed success came from hard work and being prepared when opportunities presented themselves. She was a loyal friend, astute businesswoman, loving mother and family matriarch. Olive is survived by her twin sister Ruth Esther Gray Julian, her daughters Cynthia Gray Emmert of Dallas and Barbara Emmert-Schiller of Austin, her grandchildren Victoria Schiller Givens of Austin and Alden Schiller, III of Denver and her great-grandchildren Olivia and Cassandra Givens of Austin and Lucy Lee Schiller of Denver. Olive is also survived by her stepchildren Carol Coe of Dallas, Edward Coe of Argyle and Brenda Coe O'Keefe of Austin; her step-grandchildren Kathy Coe, Bill Coe, Karen Coe Lacks, Lauren Coe Kalstad, Sean O'Keefe, Kevin O'Keefe and Kathleen O'Keefe; and her step-great-grandchildren Ian and Mabel O'Keefe. Olive was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband Vernon and her stepson Robert V. Coe, Jr. Visitation will be at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home Monday, May 16, 2022, 6-8 pm. A Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 1:00 PM at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. A reception will follow at the church. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. PERSONAL • Widow since 1994 - Husband was founder of Thompson & Coe law firm • Two daughters - both are married and retired nurses • Granddaughter and Grandson • Two Great-granddaughters ·CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES • Timberlawn Psychiatric & Research Foundation - Chairman of the Board (2010-11), Life Member (1994) ■ Les Femmes du Monde - President (2007-08) - raises funds to support Children's Medical Center and the DFW Council of World Affairs • Scottish Rite Children's Hospital - donation in memory of my husband, R. Vernon Coe • Established and funded scholarship and educational fund at Presbyterian Hospital to attend annual meetings for American Society for Hospital Central Service • Salvation Army - Women's Auxiliary • American Heart Association - Women's Guild • Dallas Arboretum -Women's Council CLUBS • Dallas Knife & Fork Club- President (1988-89). First woman president in 65 year history. Continues on Board of Directors - sponsors well known speakers at dinner meetings • Tower Club - Board of Directors (1996-2001). Associated with Country Clubs of America • The Dallas Woman's Club - (1974-present) • Dallas Country Club • Marianne Scruggs Garden Club • Park Cities Club - associate member of business and social club • Dallas Dinner Dance Club • Rondo/Carousel Dinner Dance Club - President (1982-83) • S'muser Dinner Dance Club • Texas Sponsor of Washington National Debutante Cotillion Annual Tea at my Home and Thanksgiving Ball in Washington DC that has been presenting American and foreign Debutantes for over 70 years CHURCH • Park Cities Baptist Church - Berean Sunday School Class President (2004-05) • Highland Park United Methodist Church - member of Discovery Sunday School class 2006 to present LICENSES • RN Texas License (1944-1970) Inactive. Retired • Working in Central Service Departments. Published several articles in Hospital Topics Magazine regarding the program. Founded and taught one semester technician Central Service Program at El Centro Community College in Dallas. The Texas Education Agency also published my CS education course manual. • Toured hospitals in Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Germany, Russia, Austria, France, and England with letter of introduction from Dr. Crosby, President of American Hospital Association learning their methods of sterilization, aseptic techniques and practices involving sterilization, processing and packaging, and distribution of reusable and disposable materials and supplies. I also observed training and preparation of employees • Served on board of directors of PRECEPT - a newly established hospital disposable equipment manufacturer. The company was bought out by GD Searle in the 1970s • Married R. Vernon Coe, a Dallas attorney, and resigned from El Centro College. Traveled extensively around the world but continued to remain active in Texas Society of Central Service Personnel for a few years through the American and Texas Hospital Associations • Received the Len Leipus Award from the American Hospital Central Service Personnel organization. • This award was given to the individual who contributed the most to the organization during the first ten years of existence. I founded the organization in 1967 Became a Texas Licensed Interior Designer. • Founded Fairmount lnteriors. Closed my business to care of ill husband until his death in 1994 • Received Distinguished Alumna Award from Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, St Louis, MO (associated with Washington University)

Show your support

Past Services

Monday, May 16, 2022


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Memorial Service