NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa—Lyle C. Coats, of North Liberty, Iowa, and formerly of Mount Carroll, died at the age of 87 on Monday, April 1, 2019, at his home.

Visitation will be from 9-10 a.m. Friday, April 12, at the McDonald Funeral Home, 505 First Ave. in Sterling. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday, April 12, at the funeral home with the Rev. Herb Bollman officiating. Burial with military honors will be at Oak Knoll Memorial Park in Sterling.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established to the Gideons. Online condolences may be sent to

He was born on June 2, 1931, in Whiteside County, Jordan Township, to John and Grace Coats. He attended Milledgeville High School and graduated with the class of 1949. He proudly served the country for four years (1951 to 1955) in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Rehoboth, a geographic survey ship.

He married Marjorie F. Thicksten on Dec 30, 1952, at the Prophetstown Advent Christian Church. Together they farmed in the Mount Carroll area, having lived there from 1955 until the summer of 2016, when they moved to Sterling. During those years he served for 12 years as a board member of the Carroll Service Company at Lanark, serving as president for three of those years.

He was a member of the Gideons International, joining in 1974 and serving faithfully for so many years. He had a jail ministry in the Carroll County and Whiteside County jails from 1978 to 2014. He was a member of the Faith Reformed Church of Lanark where he served as an elder, secretary of the board and treasurer.

After retiring from farming, he took to the road with his wife, traveling around the country with their trailer in tow, visiting family and friends each year with extended stays in Southern California and Florida as a means of escaping the Midwestern winters. There was also a journey to Alaska, something Lyle had always wanted to do. He was a man of deep faith who enjoyed sharing it with others. He was also someone with a fondness for books by Louie L'Amour, something most of us didn't know about until he'd retired from the hard work of farming.

He is survived by his three daughters: Lori (JK) Ross of Seattle, Wash., Susan (Mike) Dailey of Iowa City, Iowa, and Barb (Dan) Johnson of Glen Carbon, Ill.; his son: Craig Coats of Seattle, Wash; his six grandchildren: Sarah (Marc) Swanson, John (Marissa) Ross, Stephen Dailey, Ryan Dailey, Aaron (Arianne) Johnson, Emily Johnson; and his four great-grandchildren: Kai Ross, Lily Ross, Micah Swanson and Emmett Swanson.

Lyle was preceded in death by his parents, John and Grace; his wife ,Marjorie; his three brothers, Wendall, Keith and Cloy; and his two sisters Lois and June.

His devotion to what he believed in, his warmth, his smile and his sense of humor will be sorely missed by those who knew him and loved him.