Editor’s notebook: Saying ‘so long’ to a Gazetteer

Once a Gazetteer, always a Gazetteer.

OK, this was never really a saying around here, but in a myriad ways that’s always been a truism around this office. In my 20-plus years with the Gazette, I’ve had the privilege to work with dozens of folks, from reporters and editors to production staff, advertising reps, managers, circulation staff, receptionists, freelancers and columnists, etc.

And when I connect with or bump into them down the proverbial career road, it’s (almost) always like happening upon a family member unexpectedly, (almost) always a good thing. I suppose this is probably true at other businesses and organizations.

In July, we lost a Gazetteer. Patricia Morrison Coate, who worked as a reporter, special sections editor and copy editor for 13 years, from 2003-2016 if memory serves, passed away after years of battling COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) on July 12.

Pat was a gentle and wonderful soul. She truly cared about her coworkers and her craft. Her stories often reflected her approach as an editor: clear, concise and often poignant, unburdened by superfluous anecdotes and rabbit trails. She took great care with her coworkers’ stories, too — taking time (and a little delight) in changing an errant word or phrase into something close to poetic, or in my stories, something legible.

She deeply loved at least four things, I’m sure: her friends, her family, her shelties (Sammy and Blyn), and Iowa. I recall losing a friendly bet to Pat regarding a certain college football bowl game, and she showed up at the office with one of these black and wasp-yellow Iowa Hawkeye jackets, at least three sizes too small for me, for a photo op of winner and loser.

Pat grew up in Missouri and Iowa, earning her journalism degree the at University of Missouri at Columbia (with a minor in Spanish literature). She married Virgil Coate in 1988, and they lived Emerson, Iowa, for many years where Pat was a journalist for the local newspaper and active in the ESL (English as a Second Language) community.

She is survived by her mother Rose Morrison of Jefferson, Mo., two sisters, two nieces, a nephew, a cousin and many friends.

Private services were scheduled by the family.

In lieu of flowers or another kind of tribute, her family asks donations be given to an animal shelter in honor of Pat and her love of dogs. These can be directed to: Marsha Snowgren (Pat’ssister) at: 1860 340th Street, Jamaica IA, 50128.

Pat wrote a number of features for Living on the Peninsula, our quarterly magazine, as well as other general stories and business features. Some of you may have bumped into her or shared a story or two.

We’ll host a small get-together later this month — something outside, very informal and dog-friendly — so if you want to stop by, send me an email (editor@sequimgazette.com) and I’ll let you know the time and place.

Michael Dashiell is editor of the Sequim Gazette. Reach him at editor@sequimgazette.com.