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Syble Marie Morrow Coats

Syble Marie Morrow Coats, 72, went peacefully home to be with the Lord June 24 at Hospice of West Alabama.

Syble Morrow Coats was born Aug. 24, 1947, in Russellville to the late Claud and Mary Pearl Morrow. She is survived by her best friend and husband, Gordon Coats; brother, John Morrow; daughter, Brittley Coats Graviet and her husband Kristopher Graviet; grandchild, Hayden Graviet; nephew, Josh Morrow; nieces, Ashley Morrow, Sara Morrow and Jessica Shackelford and her husband Chris; and aunts, uncles and cousins in the Morrow, Green and Coats families.

Syble Coats grew up in Russellville and attended the University of Alabama, where she earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance. There she met, married and started a family with Gordon Coats in Tuscaloosa.

She started a long-lasting career with Shelton State Community College, serving as the music department chair from 1979-2005. She directed the growth of the department to the point where the college has been named the Two-Year College of the Fine Arts in Alabama.

While at Shelton she also served on the Jubilee Committee, as the chairperson of the Excellence in Arts, Martin Luther King Planning Committee, Graduation Committee, Honors Committee, chairperson of the Performing Arts Scholarship Committee and Bell Tower Committee.

Furthermore, she implemented the weekly concert series we now call Terrific Tuesday and originated the idea of the Two-Year College Music Showcase.

While working at Shelton State, she was also given the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall twice.

In her great service to the Lord, Mrs. Coats also served as the church organist and pianist for Forest Lake United Methodist for over 14 years, as well as volunteered through Meals on Wheels and Second Hand Rose.

From 1998-2005, she served as president for the West Alabama Music Teachers Association and later as their public relations officer. She hosted honor recitals for their participants. She was also an active participant and member of the Tuscaloosa Federation of Music Club.

From 2002-2004 she served as a Grant Committee Member of the Arts at Shelton State Community College. From 2002-2006 she served on the executive board as second vice president, Independent Music Teachers Forum chairperson and state treasurer of the Alabama Music Teachers Association.

From 2003-2005 Mrs. Coats was appointed to serve on the Alabama Community College Articulation Committee on Music for two full terms.

In 2005 she was awarded the Dr. and Mrs. John Todd Award for Excellence in Teaching from Shelton State Community College. During that year, she was also awarded the Druid Arts Award for Music Educator of the Year by the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa.

In Mrs. Coats’ retirement, she enjoyed spending quality time with her family and playing the piano for God, close friends and even a few four-hand piano concerts.

She wanted to say how thankful she was for the wonderful students she taught and watched develop, especially those who pursued what Mrs. Coats specifically taught them.

Heartfelt gratitude to Margaret Jones’ Sunday School Ladies Group, Carla Johnson and the FLUM Choir family and to her close friends and the Fine Arts Department of Shelton State.

Syble’s life will be celebrated June 27 at Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel Funeral Home. The family will greet friends and family at the funeral home beginning at 1:30 p.m., with the service starting at 3 p.m., followed by the burial.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Forest Lake United Methodist Church.

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