Penny Coates was born in Napa, CA in 1941 to Henry and Mary Reis. She moved to Chico to earn her teaching credential, and later her masters degree. She met her husband, Kenneth Coates, while working at Richardson Springs. They were married in 1974, and welcomed their only son, Tyler, in 1983. After a separation and divorce they were both dedicated to raising their son jointly until Kenneth’s passing in 1996.
She spent the majority of her career teaching in Oroville, primarily at Oakdale Heights elementary, from which she retired in 2002. As an educator, she participated in numerous state conferences and was instrumental in securing grants for her school.
She dearly loved music, and sang in a folk group that played throughout northern California. She also loved the Pacific Ocean, and spent as much time as possible near the coast especially at Bodega Bay and her sister Chris’ ranch in the coast ranges.
She passed away on March 10, 2023 at home in Chico with family. She was preceded in death by her mother Mary Reis, her father Henry Reis, her sister Maryann Bell, and her former husband Kenneth Coates. She is survived by her sister Christine Pinson, her son Tyler Coates and his partner Michelle Poling, as well as their two boys Michael and Matthew.
She was a wonderful mother, sister, teacher, and friend. She will be deeply missed.