Dudley Coates. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

In Character: Dudley Coates

CONSIDERING, he has spent a lifetime transforming our community through his personal involvement in revitalization efforts, commitment to the arts and education, and support of state-of-the-art healthcare facilities. He believes in our city, and he has been committed to ensuring that it flourishes.

CONSIDERING, he credits the philanthropic nature of his own father—as well as of his father-in-law—with instilling in him a desire to give back.  Both men were very involved in the community. “My father was an incredibly positive influence on me. It was like God talking to you.”

CONSIDERING, he graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University, but returned home in 1953. After two years in the Army, he settled down in Baton Rouge. He and his wife Beverly—married 63 years—have three daughters, one grandchild and two great-grandchildren.

CONSIDERING, he began his early community service with the United Way, which was very robust and active. He also loved working with what is now Louisiana Art and Science Museum. He believed in both and spent many years supporting them in any way he could. Over the years he was also involved with Rotary, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, Baton Rouge City Club, Baton Rouge Country Club, Alzheimer’s Services and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, among others.

CONSIDERING, he was a founding member of the Wilbur Marvin Foundation, a supporting organization of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Through that foundation, many projects have been possible, including the purchase of the Capitol House to initiate the redevelopment of downtown.

CONSIDERING, the tennis courts behind his house of 50 years on Hyacinth Avenue were the setting of plenty of friendly matches—regular weekly matches—over the decades. There, friendships were forged. “The memories of those days will always be on my mind.”

CONSIDERING, he was an active investment broker until the age of 80. “I didn’t have a strong desire to retire. I loved what I did.”

CONSIDERING, he believes that race relations is one of the most important issues facing Baton Rouge citizens today. “With that comes education on all sides.”

CONSIDERING, he believes that everyone should be involved in the Baton Rouge community in some way. He believes in giving back. And he believes in moving forward. “When you mix with fellow community members through the support of an organization, you come away a lot richer than you go in. It’s good for all.”

Publisher and Editor Ashley Gordon nominates a person of character from the Baton Rouge community each month.