OU Law has lost a true friend and legacy. Faculty, staff, alumni and current students were heartbroken to learn of the recent passing of the College’s beloved former first lady, Linda Coats. Mrs. Coats, wife of Dean Emeritus Andrew M. Coats, was a true model of grace, kindness and generosity. She made an impact on the heart of every person she encountered and her legacy will remain for years to come in the masses of students and alumni she touched.
“The time, energy and love Linda Coats has given to the OU College of Law is simply immeasurable,” said current OU Law Dean Joe Harroz. “For all of us who had the privilege of knowing Linda, she will be greatly missed. We are grateful for her friendship and lasting contributions to the College of Law.”
Obituary reprinted with permission of the Oklahoman
March 14, 1941 - July 24, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY Linda Mae Zimmerman Coats was born March 14, 1941, in Brooklyn, New York, and she died of ovarian cancer and MDS on July 24, 2013, in Oklahoma City. Linda graduated from the famed High School of Performing Arts in NYC at the age of 16. Following graduation she began to work for producer Alan J. Lerner as secretary and moved up to become his executive assistant. During this period of her life, she became well acquainted with the stars of Broadway and Hollywood. When Lerner became responsible for putting on the 45th birthday celebration of then President John F. Kennedy at Lincoln Center, most of the responsibility for planning and organizing the event fell on Linda. As shown by that evening's great success, she did her usual splendid job. It was a golden era of Broadway musicals, and Lerner and Lowe produced one hit after another, including "My Fair Lady," "Camelot" and "Gigi." Linda was working with the likes of Richard Burton, Robert Goulet and Julie Andrews. Her association with Lerner lasted for seven years until she left New York to become another kind of producer, giving birth to Michael and Jennifer Last.
While raising two children and managing her home, Linda continued her education and graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1981 with a B.A. with honors in English literature. Linda married Andy Coats in 1983, and they shared the most incredible and happy life together. By virtue of Andy's various employments, gigs, and fun jobs, Linda was first lady of Oklahoma City from 1983 to 1987, first lady of the Oklahoma Bar Association from 1992 to 1993, first lady of the American College of Trial Lawyers from 1996 to 1997, and first lady of the University of Oklahoma College of Law from 1996 to 2010. She undertook all of the challenges presented by these positions with her usual energy, competence, creativity and organizational skills, softened always by her charm and grace. Linda loved to play bridge, golf, and to paint. Her paintings include portraits of each of her eight grandchildren, which truly capture the personality of each child.
Survivors include her dearest and kindest husband, Andy; daughter, Jennifer, and son-in-law, Terry Chandler, of Fort Worth, TX; son, Dr. Michael Last, of Denver, CO; son and his wife, Mike and Melissa Coats, of Oklahoma City; son and his wife, Sanford and Danielle Coats, of Oklahoma City; sister-in-law, Edith Lee Smith, niece and nephew, Andrea and Michael Miller, all of Oklahoma City; Ruth and Tade Okediji, of Minneapolis, MN; and aunt, Doree Kemler, of Atlanta, GA. She is also survived by her very adored grandchildren, Colin Mcintire, Adeline Chandler, Brooks Coats, Julia Coats, Joseph Coats, Jacob Last, Ben Miller and Sarah Miller. If missing is something that one can do from heaven, she will miss them terribly.
In lieu of flowers, Linda requests that donations be made to the Andrew M. Coats Scholarship Fund, University of Oklahoma College of Law, 300 W Timberdell Rd, Norman, OK 73019; or to the Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, 800 NE 10th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. Services will be held at Temple B'nai Israel at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 29. There will be a reception and open house at Linda and Andy's home immediately following the service.
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