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Vale Illawarra pharmacist David Coates

Well-known Illawarra pharmacist David Coates has died after a long and distinguished career in community pharmacy and the scouting movement.

David became a pharmacist after first training at a seminary to become a Catholic priest, training which those who knew him say formed the basis of his strong principles throughout life.

He was made a life member of the Illawarra Pharmacists’ Association in recognition of his work which included maintaining a detailed register at the association of all pharmacists and dispensary technicians in the region, a voluntary position but one which was invaluable to any pharmacists when looking for new staff.

National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Trent Twomey said he had the pleasure of knowing David and was impressed by his knowledge and by his enduring commitment to patients and the community.

“David ran his pharmacy at Fairy Meadow as a very personal and independent operation and took pains to speak to his patients and learn about them, and to be their reliable source of help and advice” Professor Twomey said.

“He epitomised the community in community pharmacy, and this was highlighted by his work outside the pharmacy, particularly in the scouting movement where he was an honorary commissioner and received the Silver Kangaroo Award, the highest honour in the scouting movement in NSW. He also received an OAM for his service to scouting.

“He was also highly respected as a trainer and mentor and believed that training was more than just the transfer of information and knowledge, and should be entertaining to get the person being trained involved in the process.”

Professor Twomey said David was also known as a bon vivant and was a member of the Epicurean Club of Wollongong where he joined fellow lovers of good food and wine.

“David was indeed a huge figure in the Illawarra region, both within pharmacy and the community more broadly,” Professor Twomey said.

“He will be greatly missed but leaves a legacy that will live on and I send my condolences to his family during this sad time.” 

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