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Daniel Coats

February 8, 1958 — August 16, 2023


Daniel Coats

Daniel James Coats, age 65, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.  He leaves behind his best friend and wife of 41 years, Lorry (Ellison) and son Tyler. 


Dan was a Creative.  An exceptional musician and song writer, he leaves behind a legacy of music and songs about his life that will live forever.  No matter where he lived or worked, there was always music.  The venues were endless - basement bands, dance bands, weddings, taverns, campfires, even jamming with the cable repair guy!


Dan played keyboards, acoustic and electric guitar, but electric lead guitar was his passion.  His best sound came from his coveted Les Paul guitar that he played through his entire musical journey.  That Les Paul has scratches and worn-out areas like Willie Nelson’s.


Dan wrote a large catalog of music that express the things that were important to him.  Lyrics from his songs are quoted here to help tell his life’s story.  Many of his songs reflect his love of northern Michigan, Torch Lake, and his best friend - Lorry. 


Dan loved his wife.

“As the years come and go she has grown.  Once a child that I wish I had known.  From a smile in her eyes there’s a voice.  Whispering in my ear – I’ve no choice, but to love her for all time.  Someday, I hope to make her mine.  And now we’ve grown so close you know.  Lord it don’t seem fair.  I’ve but one life to live.  My lady golden hair.” – Dan Coats, Lady Golden Hair


When Dan’s son, Tyler, was born, he wrote a song to convey the pure joy he was experiencing as a new father and love for his son.

“Do you know who we are?  So precious to hold.  Our own shooting star.  Only seven days old.  I’ve found a reason to live.  I’ve found lot’s of love I can give.” – Dan Coats, Only Seven Days Old


Dan was a man in motion and full of energy. If it involved a motorcycle, snowmobile, fishing, skiing, or sailing on his boat “Blue Coats” he usually said “yes” when an adventure was presented.  His laughter was contagious, and he was always ready with a quip or observation about life that made others smile.

“If you want to catch the time before it slips on past.  Don’t you be afraid to play your cards.  Cause the gray hair on my head is only there to remind you.  Life is short, play hard.” – Dan Coats, Life is Short


Dan loved being on the water

“I grew up on the 45th parallel.  It’s just about halfway between heaven and hell.  The locals they’re to temp you, the scenery to mend you – guess I’ll go back home and take a sail.


So climb aboard and sail away with me.  And we’ll pretend this lovely lake leads to the sea.  If I could take you anywhere, where would it be?  There’s no place like home.” – Dan Coats, No Place Like Home


Dan knew there was more to life than worldly possessions

“Late at night in the northern lights.  I dream about Christ in the dark.  Forty or sixty, maybe eighty good years.  It’s a short time to leave my mark. 

So many times you go searching through life, for something we’ve had all along.  Deep down inside, there’s a joy I can’t hide, each time I write a song.  I may not be rich, I’ll get along.” – Dan Coats, May not be Rich


Dan taught us all how to say goodbye.

“Now the time has come when all the fighting has to end.  And everyone right here has lost a friend.  Now I see you lying there and it makes me want to cry, you see I never got a chance to say Goodbye.  I hope you’re listening now from somewhere in the sky.  Goodbye.” – Dan Coats, Goodbye


He was born in Lima, OH on February 8, 1958 and moved with his parents to the Elk Rapids, MI area in his teen years.  He graduated from Elk Rapids high school in 1976 and earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from Western Michigan University.


Dan and Lorry were married in Elk Rapids on October 10, 1981 and eventually found their way to the Orlando and Sandford, FL area where he worked as a Computer Analyst for Cerner Corporation and retired after a 38 year career.  After retirement, Dan and Lorry and moved back to the Elk Rapids area.


Dan was preceded in death by his parents Jim and June Coats and his favorite Uncle and friend William Coats.  Dan was a brother to Karen Mancinelli and Tom Coats, and an uncle to many nieces and nephews.  He was a friend to many, and an outstanding bandmate to those blessed to have had the joy to create music with him.


Funeral arrangements have been made through Mortensen Funeral Home in Central Lake.  A celebration of life will be held Sunday October 1, 2023 from 2:00-4:00 pm, at A Ga Ming Golf Resort in Kewadin, MI.  In lieu of flowers, please make either a monetary or supply donation to your local animal shelter.


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