Willie Taylor Coker, Jr.
Graveside services for former Dove Creek resident and recent Glenpool, Okla., resident Willie Taylor Coker will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, June 11, at Dove Creek Cemetery.
Willie Coker, dad and granddad, was born Aug. 12, 1918, in Hubbard City, Texas. He passed away June 4, 2012, in Glenpool, Okla., at the age of 93.
Willie grew up in a loving home with six brothers and sisters. His dad was a migrant farmer, so life was hard and poor. When he was 11 the Great Depression hit. He never talked bad about it or the situation his family was in. During those years when he worked, most of his money was given back to the family so they could make it. He did talk often about the prices of things then compared to what they are now. In all that, he remembered his childhood as a good time, even if it meant eating pinto beans two to three times a day. In all this he taught us contentment!
At the end of the Depression at the age of 21, he married his love, Edna Beatrice Springer, on Feb. 22, 1939. He got a job in the oil field for a while then moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where he worked with a construction company “skinning a Cat” or to some of us, running a bulldozer. Now the interesting thing is that he had to know how to run a bulldozer to get the job, which he did not, so when the foreman asked him he said, sure. (His thinking was that he could drive a tractor and there could not be that much difference. Anyway he needed the work to support his wife.) The foreman, after watching him for about 30 minutes mess up a patch of land he was supposed to be leveling, informed him he would be back later in the day and he had better have it figured out. He did and got the permanent job making $1 an hour. Dad never lacked in confidence or the understanding that hard work was the key to success. Through this he taught us responsibility.
He was always telling us he was “a jack of all trades and a master of none.” We felt he was a first-class entrepreneur. He had some success and some failure. He bought a farm, sold it, and doubled his money. He invested in a dry cleaner and went belly-up. He built a home for Mom and sold it before they moved in for a good profit. He invested in a dry goods store and again went belly-up. Then he went into construction, building several large concrete elevators, and worked his way up to part-owner. This went belly-up, due to a problem of one of the partners. All this taught us that determination overcomes most problems in life.
Finally in 1951 he moved to Cortez and started working in an elevator. Then he also rented some land and started farming. In 1955 he moved his family to Dove Creek where he rented land to farm and worked in an elevator. Over the next few years he went from worker to manager of the elevator and also purchased a farm. In all this, he taught us that dependability was key to providing for the future.
In addition to all this, he also taught us the importance of benevolence. Dad was faithful in tithing and giving, and we learned the importance of it through his example.
Dad liked to whistle and generally it was a hymn. Later in life he started reading. He either was reading the Bible or a Louis L’Amour book. He always told all the kids that asked him, “Yes, I am a cowboy” as his favorite attire was cowboy boots and hat.
Dad was a simple man. His favorite hymn was “Amazing Grace” and his favorite Bible verse was John 3:16. He set an example for us to follow by making the most out of everything, thriftiness and at the same time always being there to help by giving of himself, his talents and his finances.
His favorite sayings were:
“I’m a tough old bird”— and he proved it with his 93 3/4 years.
“It does not pay to get old.”
“I don’t have any patience.”
Surviving Willie are his two sons, Michael Taylor Coker and wife Joann of Dove Creek, and Charles Richard Coker and wife Barbara of Glenpool, Okla.; seven grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; and five great great-grandchildren.
Now he is with his Savior, wife and other loved ones, in a place where there is not sorrow or pain.
Services are under the direction of Ertel Funeral Home. For further information or to send condolences, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.