|Birth: ||Jan. 6, 1900|
|Death: ||Jan. 23, 1985|
Fred worked very hard at many things. My first memories of his work go back to the early 1940's. He worked in a Grocery store, Simms Brothers. During that period I am told worked at others prior. In those days much of a grocery stores duties was to fill orders that were dropped off or telephoned in. Fred would fill those orders and deliver the groceries to the customer. I would go with him on occasion and always looked forward to the adventure. In many of the fine homes there was a cook and house keepers etc. Fred knew them all and if I was along there might be a cookie or piece of cake.
One incident that was special in my memory of the grocery delivering days goes like this: When we arrived at Dr. Chamberlines home their young Son, about a 5 year old, saw him coming. The child was on the second floor, ran to the balcony to say Hello, but in his excitement went over the edge and was falling. Fred dropped the groceries and caught the child and probably saved his life. The mother saw the whole incident and was forever grateful to him for his quick thinking. Every Christmas there was always a special gift for our family from the doctor and his family.
I don't think he was ever out of Ark.; maybe never out
of Garland Co.
I know he worked quite a few years when Jim was young at a grocery store in
Hot Springs. Later on he worked for himself as a house painter. I know of
no illness he had. He died from pneumonia when he was old. He did smoke all his life. He was nice the few times I saw him. Oh, I do know that Fred liked to fish. That he and Jim fished a lot.
In the mid 1940's trade required very long hours, 7:30a.m. to 6:00 P.M. Monday-Friday. And 7:30 A.M. to 9 P.M. on Saturdays. The store closed at 8:00 P.M., but then he had to take the meat showcase apart and clean it for Mondays Business. I would go to work with him on Saturdays when I was about 10 years old and help him best I could. He got 30 minutes for lunch and supper was in between doing what had to be done. There was a one burner hot plate in the back area of the store and Fred would Boil some Polish Sausages for the Sat. P.M. meal. I always looked forward to these delicious sausages.
About 1950 Super Markets pretty well eliminated the small home delivery grocery store. So Fred launched a new career-house painting. He did very well at this new trade for several years. Finally the toll of heavy lifting -1/2 beaf in the butcher shop days, 5 gallon paint buckets and very heavy ladders later on finally took effect with back injuries. He painted for as long as he could, but finally had to give it up when he was about 65.
Fred was a cheerful man-usually looked on the bright side of things. He would sing to himself lightly and he was one to whistle. You could usually hear where he was by a little tune coming up. He would not drink milk if he was having fish as a main course. There were several other food combinations that he shy away from. I don't remember the others.
In my growing up years I would need Counsil from time to time as all kids to. I learned quickly that he usually only spoke a few words, but you better listen carefully and follow closely. He was very understanding of my boyhood pranks and adventures and if correction was Necessary, it was usually just a few well chosen words and I didn't do it again.
You asked about dislikes:
Fred didn't have many, but banks was at the top of his list. Back in the 1920's he had a small account in a bank that closed and he lost what he had. He never used banks the rest of his life.
Fred had many black friends in a time and place when that was not very popular. One family in particular would have him slaughter and dress their livestock. He was paid with a portion of the meat and usually some wonderful meals while he was working. They all treated him with great respect and a true friend.
If someone did him wrong it was very hard for him to forgive and forget, but many are like that today.
You asked about illness that runs in the family:
In all my years living at home I remember Fred being sick once. I don't know to this day what it was, but suspect it was a type of flu. He was down for about a week-thats it. I mentioned earlier about his back injury. I don't think he got medical help for it, just toughed it out. He spent many years in a nursing home, because he was not able to move around very much. He smoked cigars and a pipe in later years then went to cigarettes. He died of respitory failure and I attribute that to heavy smoking.
Christopher Columbus Coker (1872 - 1900)
Ozella Lester Metcalf (1874 - 1951)
Hettie Eugena Coker Hahnel (1896 - 1982)*
Fred Andrew Coker (1900 - 1985)
Essie May Bates Anderson (1904 - 1976)**
Piney (Garland County)
Created by: Renee (Mayhew) Ellestad
Record added: Jan 14, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13021004