Alida Shute Coates


Alida Shute Coates, 95, died peacefully in her sleep on March 27, 2018, at Dirigo Pines in Orono. Alida was born in Oakland, Maine, on Aug. 29, 1922, the daughter of Eugene G. and Alice M. (Dockham) Shute.

Alida graduated from Crosby High School in Belfast, Class of 1940. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Alida joined the Civil Service and went to Washington, D.C., to work for the War Department and was assigned to the Pentagon. After several months, she was transferred to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, where she met Army Master Sgt. Don E. Coates. They were married in the Congregational Church in Belfast on June 5, 1943, on a three-day pass, after Don was transferred to Camp Lee, Petersburg, Va. During their 73-year marriage, Alida and Don were inseparable and enjoyed living in the communities of Northeast Harbor, Hall Quarry and Orono, raising their two daughters, Pamela Coates Painter, White Hall, Ill., and Janis L. Coates, Mount Desert. Alida used her immense administrative and organizational skills in her work, as well as in her service and volunteer activities. She retired from the University of Maine, in 1989, after serving 18 years as administrative assistant in the Department of Political Science. Prior to that, she spent eight years working for the Maine School Board Association, also located at the University of Maine. During her career, she also worked at the town office, the Red Cross, during the 1947 fire, and for Jerome Knowles and Associates all in Northeast Harbor. Known for her molasses crispies among other yummy favorites, Alida was a wonderful cook. Her other hobbies included knitting, travel, nature, boating, and reading. A lifelong learner, Alida was a voracious reader and attended the University of Maine as a nontraditional student, because “she wanted to learn more.” A loyal friend to many and dedicated volunteer, she worked tirelessly for the American Field Service, Orono Health Association, The Church of Universal Fellowship, and for many years served as chair of the Educational Loan Fund Committee for the Maine Federation of Women’s Clubs. She actively supported her children’s numerous activities and adventures and took pride in her family history.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her brother Eugene G. Shute and grandson Scott A. Painter. Surviving are her husband, Don E. Coates, 96; daughter, Pam Coates Painter and husband Mike Painter; grandchildren Timothy, Jill and Matthew, and great-grandchildren Abram and Virginia; daughter, Jan Coates; sister-in-law, Dorothy Dalton Shute of Belfast; nephews, Kevin E. Shute, wife, Joan, and daughter Maggie of Bath; and Gregory F. Shute, wife Lynne Flaccus and son Kyle of Alna.

A celebration of Alida’s life will be held 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 4, 2018, at the Church of Universal Fellowship, 82 Main St., Orono, with Rev. Lorna Grenfell officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments in the Parish Hall following the service. Interment will be at Forest Hill Cemetery, Northeast Harbor, at a later date. Memorial gifts may be made to the Maude MacKenzie Scholarship Fund at the Maine Community Foundation, 245 Main St., Ellsworth, ME 04605 or to the Orono Health Association, 10 Birch Street, Orono, ME 04473. Condolences to the family may be expressed at

Know when to pay your respects.