Coates, James "Jim" L.

September 2, 1941 - November 26, 2016

James Coates died due to cancer November 26 in Dallas at age 75.  He grew up on Maple Springs Blvd. in Dallas and was educated at North Dallas High School, Northwestern University (BS) and New York University (MS).  His career as an electrical engineer at Texas Instruments in Dallas spanned 50 years, from co-op student to retirement at age 70.

His proudest achievement at TI was contributing to the early GPS.   He also worked in other space programs, military systems, and wireless communications.  Jim was an accomplished endurance athlete in running and biking.  He completed several marathons including Boston twice and New York twice.  As a member of the Texins Striders, he helped to establish the Dallas White Rock Marathon.  He enjoyed many bike rallies and completed ten Hotter ‘N Hell 100 mile rides in Wichita Falls in August.

Jim is survived by his wife Barbara, son Allen and wife Nicole and their son Sydney of Johnson City, Tenn., and daughter Roslyn of Dallas.

An informal memorial gathering will be held at 12:00 noon, December 30, at Big Thicket at White Rock Lake, 430 E. Lawther Dr., Dallas.

Arrangements are under the direction of
ARIA Cremation Service and Funeral Home
19310 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75252


6 replies on “Coates, James "Jim" L.”

Paul Lindsey says:

Sad to hear about Jim. We went different ways after ND, but I still remember him as a good friend.

Jim Sanders says:

Very sorry for Jim’s passing. Back in the 80’s, I ran around White Rock Lake and the TI site many many times with Jim and others. A great running buddy.

John Love says:

Jim Coates is a brilliant engineer – no one disputes that. My enduring memory, though, is of his humanity. The last time I saw him was about 10 years ago in the SC Building cafeteria. As we lunched more or less by ourselves near the bank of plate glass windows on the east wall, he told me of having just returned from France where he had been temporarily assigned as a liaison engineer to an electronics company in the southern part of the country. He told me he stopped at a Dairy-Queen-like shop every day after work intending to have a chocolate milkshake. The workers behind the counter did not speak English, and Jim had difficulty indicating what he wanted. They gave him vanilla shakes, strawberry shakes, who-knows-what-else shakes, but never chocolate. He asked his French co-workers to teach him the pronunciation for the word for ‘chocolate’, but never really mastered it. The ‘Dairy Queen’ workers would giggle at his attempts and hand him a non-chocolate product. Jim would shrug, turn, sit down, and consume it with resignation. As his assignment came to a close, Jim tried to tell the ice cream people he was going home to Texas and would not be back. They handed him his daily non-chocolate fare and giggled, Jim shrugged, turned and sat down with his back to the counter. By and by, the room grew silent except for the shuffling of feet. Jim turned and saw the entire staff approaching him with his glorious chocolate shake. Tears flowed and hugs happened. And then Jim came home. I could tell from Jim’s slight facial flush, lowered eyes, and wry smile that he was moved again in re-telling the story… as I am now. Au revoir, Jim. You are missed.

Mark Heaton says:

Jim (“Old Man”),

You got me started and I spent most of the ’80s runnin’ all over Dallas with you. Great memories that I will always remember.

Mark (“Boy”)

Marvin Wilken says:

Jim was always the example that I would use as the complete engineer that all could aspire to be. But beyond that he was also a real friend and compassionate person to all. I also was impressed by his love for his family even when work would demand his full attention. God’s Blessings for those he has left behind.

wayne mcgowen says:

I lived on Maple Springs and Jim and I hung out during the summers. I went to TJHS and he went to NDHS. I remember the summer of 1959 when we would listen to our favorite song: “There goes my Baby” by the drifters.

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