Philip Gregory (Clent) Coker, 82, of Adairsville, passed away May 30, 2022, at his residence surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Newton County, Georgia, on May 31, 1939, to Sherman Henry Coker and Sibyl Sutton Coker. Due to his parent’s evangelical work as Jehovah’s Witnesses, he lived in various places throughout Georgia and Michigan. But no matter where he traveled, Clent always returned to his beloved Bartow County where many generations of his family had lived. As a young man, he was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. His faith instilled in him qualities such as honesty and integrity and he was known as a man of his word in personal and business dealings.
Clent married Laura Harris in 1961 and during their 60 years together, they were blessed with 8 children, 15 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. His interests included antique cars, gardening and singing in the kitchen with his family. His grandchildren fondly remember being entertained with his auctioneering call. Weekends, friends and family visited to enjoy stories and there was always music. An entrepreneur, he owned and operated Coker Auto Collision for many years, was an auctioneer at several auction houses around the area, owned a janitorial supply company, Pioneer Eclipse, of Atlanta, and wrote and recorded music on the DESSA record label in Nashville, along with his family.
While he had a variety of businesses, he always returned to his love of history and his desire for historical preservation. This love began as a young child when he visited an estate nearby with family known as Barnsley Gardens. He was fascinated with the story surrounding the estate. His work as a historian included conducting extensive research: sifting through oral history, archives, cemeteries, libraries and interviewing hundreds of people from Georgia, Brazil and England. These documented historical accounts survive to this day. This is especially noteworthy considering that he began his work as a teenager without the aid of research technology that is now available. The Georgia Historical Society recognized him as a noted historian for North Georgia. His work led to his becoming the founder and curator of the Barnsley Museum. He collected hundreds of artifacts associated with the Barnsley family, located their descendents and arranged a reunion of the Barnsley family. He also achieved one of his lifetime goals of documenting the history by writing the book, Barnsley Gardens at Woodlands – The Illustrious Dream and later, screenplay scripts.
In March of 2021, he faced his largest challenge, the loss of his cherished wife Laura. He expressed that it was his great faith in the resurrection and knowing he would see her again that helped him during this challenging time. Clent fought cancer for 16 years, but knew that only God’s Kingdom would end mankind’s suffering forever.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and grandson Greig Bushmiaer. He is survived by his children; Greg Coker, Michelle (Harvey) Herod, Anita (Jackie) Earwood, Rena (Rick) Morris, Brent (Kim) Coker, Jennifer (Allan) Willoughby, Sharon (Jorg) Hofmann, Lesley (Joey) Jarrard. As well as grandchildren, Loren Ross Herod, Mellie Wren (Guy) Starrett, Elliot Harris, Devin Harris, Karen (Andrew) Bagley, Rachel Barton, Anna Bushmiaer, Aleah Coker, Alaina Willoughby, Makayla (David) Honea, Dallas Hofmann, Willow Hofmann, Collin Jarrard, Cansas Jarrard, and 7 great grandchildren. He is survived by his brothers Nate (Nancy) Coker of Nashville, Marc (Trish) Coker of Beaumont, and sister Paula (Marshall) Owens of Dunwoody, along with several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is being planned via Zoom on June 25, 2022. For more information on how to attend virtually, please contact the Coker family.