Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Robert John “Bob” Coates (1908-1990)

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Robert John Coates
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Born on a farm in the Elm Valley district on 30 December 1908, son of John Coates and Florence Rayner, he moved to Virden when his father’s health failed and he attended Virden School and, later, the University of Manitoba (BSc).

He began teaching as the Principal of Pierson School (1936-1938) and Ninga School (1938-1940) before moving to Brandon where he taught for the next 28 years other than a period of military service during the Second World War. He taught at Brandon Collegiate (?-?), Earl Haig School (?-?), and Earl Oxford School (1958-1960) before becoming the Principal of the Central School in 1960. He retired in June 1973, completing his career at Green Acres School (1962-1973).

In 1936, he married Margaret Grace Fullen (1915-2007) of Cromer and they had two children: Karen Coates and John Coates. He served as President of the Western Manitoba Teachers’ Association and the United Nations Society.

He died at Brandon on 10 March 1990 and was buried in the Rosewood Memorial Gardens.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

Annual Reports of the Manitoba Department of Education, Manitoba Legislative Library.

“Ships of education losing their skippers,” Brandon Sun, 16 June 1973, page 6.

“Colorful career coming to an end,” Brandon Sun, 18 June 1973, page 3.

Obituary, Brandon Sun, 12 March 1990, page 26.

Obituary [Margaret Grace Coates], Brandon Sun, 28 March 2007, page 18.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 8 June 2021

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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