“Dodie”, “Jo”, or “Mother” Josephine Audrey Coates (Hedin) was born in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan in August 1939 and left us on February 22,2021. She was the youngest daughter of four girls to Mabel May Hedin (McKay) and “Slim” Paul Benjamin Hedin, American immigrants from Caster, Michigan and Sauk Centre, Minnesota, respectively, seeking opportunity in a newly minted Province – so Slim filed for a homestead and was granted a ¼ section near Loverna, Sask. Dodie was a true daughter of pioneers.
Mother’s favorite, George Jones, sang “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was the farthest from the play book as Jo was predeceased by only 39 hours by Lloyd Ralph Coates “LR”, her constant companion of +60 years. He never left her side…love following love… but Jo, like her father, played her own plan, perhaps waiting to make sure LR was not left alone or perhaps just to outlive him-only she will know. Dodie did not have the choice for an easy path losing her mother at age 12; a dynamic that formed both her independence and her life-long bond with her sisters Pauline May Anderson, Beatrice Faith Denny (Miller) [predeceased] and Hattie Carolina Holmes who survives. At 12 she started following Hattie around attending high schools in Edmonton and Oyen until she landed at SAIT obtaining a Nursing Aide Certificate in 1958 and practiced her trade in Medicine Hat and in Kerrobert.
Jo and Lloyd are also survived by 4 children: Brent Lloyd, Elaine Sharon, Warren Scott and Darren Paul Coates and four grand kids: Brandyn, Taylor, Jasper and Ellery Coates. And one great grand-daughter Aubree, Taylor’s girl. Dodie maintained a strong connection to her Hedin/McKay a side of the family which was well outnumbered by those Coates ranchers west of the line. She had the inside track when LR came courting in 1958, having been raised in Loverna with the Sonmors and Millers kicking around-these names meant much to Dodie. She installed a strong appreciation for her heritage into her kids talking for hours about Slim and his way with animals and establishing the Hedin importance of education into her own kids with “they will never take that away from you”. Dodie had a natural curiosity and read a lot- books often cluttered her space- and that was reflected in her strong written skills. And her letters reflected proper cursive handwriting.
A true partner on the farm and a good but reluctant bookkeeper, a gardener of abundance, created superb canned meats and excellent hardy food sometime across ethnicities but could not get LR onto pasta or rice (prevailing by including some into yummy German cabbage rolls or into the stuffing for the Cold Lake trout). Mother thought her cooking was overshadowed by others, including her mother-in-law, because she didn’t have a mom from the age of 12, but we kids knew better- the food on the table was superb and the fridge cramped full. Her Swedish roots allowed her kids some Edwards coffee, at an early age, with half-and-half or farm cream.
Dodie loved cats: Tom, who made the Smoky Lake paper for his longevity was prominent as was Waylon, Woody and Harry. Mother also shared a great love of dogs with Darren taking care of his Scotch Collies, such as Scampy, Bumpkin and Jemtrack when he was at school. Sintra & Loopy then entered Jo’s life lovingly.
As it was with Lloyd, Josephine had her true love for 60 of her 81 years. Family arrangements have been made and further celebrations of life will follow, this summer in the prairie, where Josephine will be interned with Lloyd - together every step of the way. In lieu of flowers, you can choose to donate, in Jo’s honour to your local animal shelter or humane society.
The family would like to extend its sincere gratitude to the staff at Bethany Calgary who are working under the most challenging circumstances.
Calgary Humane Society
4455 110th Ave SE, Calgary AB T2C 2T7