Obituary of Dr. Pamela Faye Coates, ONB
The family of Dr. Pamela Coates (nee Illman), ONB, are sad to announce her passing which occurred peacefully on Saturday, October 28, 2023. But we rejoice in knowing that she is now at peace with God and reunited with her son. Born in Saint John on August 15, 1951, Pamela was the daughter of the late Helen (Morehouse) and Lloyd Illman. Being the mother of Kenneth Michael Coates was her greatest accomplishment; followed by her claim to be “The #1 Elvis Fan”.
Pam is survived by her companion and partner Mary Anne LeBlanc, Sisters Penny Illman, Saint John and Diane LeBlanc, Toronto ON; Brothers, Bob Illman and Terry Illman (Marcella) all of Saint John and Gary Illman (Ron) of Toronto ON; Step Children, Tanya Sin (Rui) of Halifax NS, Chris Fudge (Lisa) of Kensington, PEI and Steven Fudge (Cathy) of Saint John; and several nieces and nephews. “GrandPam” will also be missed by Perrin, Lily, Evan, Ethan, Liz, Tatters, Ahilyh, and Amy-Lou.
In addition to her parents and her son Kenny, she was predeceased by her sister Margie and her brothers Lloyd Jr. and Norman.
Pam had a passion for working on the issue of poverty and a love for people. Pam was a Social Activist through and through and did everything she could to support those who were fighting to survive on a minimal income. In 1988 she founded the North End food bank; and 1992 she created “One Voice for All”– a support group for people on welfare where she helped people to find their own voices. In recognition for her work in Poverty she received the YMCA Peace Medal in 1995; and in 1996 organized the first Atlantic Poor People’s Conference. Pam received an honorary doctorate of letters from UNB in 1998. In 2010, Dr. Coates was honoured with the Order of New Brunswick.
As President of the National Anti-Poverty Association, Dr. Coates travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to address world leaders about working to end Poverty. Even when she was not longer active in the community, Pam always had a listening ear and shared her wisdom to help encourage and empower those without a voice to speak up and be heard. Pam had a strong faith in God and became a student Minister with the United Church where she continued to spread her love and compassion in a more formal setting. Throughout her life, she has made an impact on people’s lives, not only in Saint John but in New Brunswick and across Canada.
A special Thank You goes out to Dr. Lisa Turner for your compassionate and excellence in care of Pam over the past several years. The family would like to express a huge thank you also to all who cared for Pam over the past months and in particular to Sue Reid and Tamara. Your kindness to Pam will not be forgotten.
Visitation will be held at Portland United Church, 50 Newport Crescent, Saint John on Friday, November 3, 2023 from 12:00 - 2:00 PM with a funeral service immediately following at 2:00 PM. Interment will take place at a later date.
For those who wish, memorial donations to Make-A-Wish Canada or to the IWK Children's Hospital would be appreciated by the family.
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