You are viewing the print version of this article. Click here to view the full version.
Columbia Missourian

Long-time Stephens College department head Sue Coates dies at 86

By Megan Lewis
June 14, 2013 | 8:55 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Sue Stringer Coates of Columbia died Friday, June 14, 2013. She was 86.

She was born June 15, 1926, in Huntsville to William and Charity Stringer.

She was married to James Coates.

Dr. Sue Coates was a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honorary at Moberly Junior College before she went on to earn a bachelor's degree at Washington University in St. Louis. She later earned a master’s degree and doctorate from the MU.

Dr. Coates worked as a residential decorator, designer and builder who focused on space planning.

She became a faculty member at Stephens College in 1949 and later became head of the Department of Business Administration until 1975. She spent the next 15 years as chairwoman for the Department of Consumer Resources and Technology at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. She retired for a year before returning to the workforce as head of the Division of Fine Arts and Performing Arts at the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Miss., until 2005 when she again retired and returned to Columbia. Dr. Coates spent her winters at her home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Among other recognitions, Dr. Coates was nominated to be in "Who's Who for Women in Education," as well as nominated for "Woman of the Year" by the American Biographical Institute Board of International Research. She was also a member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Dr. Coates is survived by her husband, James Coates; and two sons, Gregory Coates of Texas and Jeffrey Coates of California.

Services will be officiated by the Rev. John Fussner at 10 a.m. Monday at Columbia Cemetery, 30 E. Broadway. Condolences can be posted at

Supervising editor is Katie Moritz.