Obituary for Donald Nathan "Don" Coulter
Donald Nathan (Don) Coulter, age 83, completed his life’s journey on October 4, 2016, where he began it, in Nashville, Arkansas. He was born there on August 16, 1933, in the home of his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Reeder, one block off of Main Street. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Nathan Graves Coulter in 1962, and Grace Lee Reeder Coulter in 1994, and a brother, James David, in 1942. He attended the Nashville Public Schools, graduating from Nashville High School in May of 1951. He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and attended Boys State in 1950. Don had many fond memories of his childhood in Nashville, particularly his years in high school, when he was co-manager of the Scrapper football team and a leading player on the Scrapper basketball team. He also served on the student council and was the editor of the 1951 Scrapper High School yearbook.
After high school graduation he attended Henderson State Teacher’s College for his freshman year before transferring to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, which led to many lifelong friendships. After graduating from the university in June 1955, with a bachelor of science in business administration, he was accepted into Officer Candidate School of the U.S. Navy in Newport, Rhode Island. Don was commissioned an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve in late 1955, and after attending several schools relating to naval aviation, was eventually assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron One, as an avionics officer. For much of his Navy service he was stationed at Key West, Florida, where he received flight orders as a technical observer. While assigned to HS-1, he made deployments on four different aircraft carriers in the Atlantic anti-submarine fleet. He completed his military service in early January 1959, with an honorable discharge as a Lieutenant. He was also a recipient of the National Defense Service medal. Don returned to Nashville to work for his father at Southwest Arkansas Furniture Company.
While in the Navy, Don married his university classmate, Dixie Faye Killian of Blytheville, Arkansas, in late 1955. Their marriage produced three sons: Donald Nathan (Nate), Robert (Rob) Killian, and John David Coulter. They divorced in 1983. In 1986, Don married B.G. Yocom, who survives him.
Don spent thirty-five years in retail business, as the owner and manager of Southwest Arkansas Furniture Company. During this period he constructed three new buildings for stores in Nashville, DeQueen, and Glenwood, AR. He often worked seven days a week but always attributed the success of his stores to the outstanding people who worked with him for the furniture company.
Despite his long hours, Don always found time to read, especially the multiple newspapers that arrived at his home and stores. He kept up with current events in Nashville and around the globe. He served as the President of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and was a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow from the Nashville Rotary Club. He was a longtime, devoted supporter of the Nashville Cemetery Association, the Razorback Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. For most of his life Don preferred work over leisure and pastime. His only real hobbies were tending to his lawn, trees, and flower beds, and playing with his dogs. In the last twenty years of his life, he became a Master Gardener and an adoring owner of several rescue dogs (Fred, Allie, Sparky, and Phoebe) who provided him constant companionship, even sitting with him in his car as he drove around Nashville.
Don was an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Nashville, having joined in 1943. He was a member of the Men’s Bible Class there.
In addition to his wife and best friend, B.G. Coulter, Don is survived by his three sons: Nate (Nathalie) and John (Laura) Coulter of Little Rock, and Rob (Lanette) Coulter of Nashville; his two stepdaughters, Candace Swenke (Steve) of Waco, TX, and Tracy Van Y (Matt) of Ft. Worth, TX; seven grandchildren: Amber Canright, Arin Dean, and Robert, Caroline, Nathan, Tom, and Jonathan Coulter; four step grandchildren, Sophia and Daniel Swenke, Cora Van Y, and Aidan Massanelli; and seven great-grandchildren.
His funeral service will be at the First United Methodist Church in Nashville, 1403 W. Sunset, at 2pm on Friday, October 7. A visitation will precede the service at 1pm. Burial will be held following the service at the Nashville Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to the Nashville Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 351, Nashville, AR 71852; the Parsonage Fund of the First United Methodist Church in Nashville; or a charity of your choice.