Flags mark passing of Judge Bernard Coates

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Flags at Dauphin County government buildings are flying at half-staff to mark the passing of Court of Common Pleas Judge Bernard Coates Jr.

Friends of his family say Coates died after a two-year battle with cancer.

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Judge Bernard Coates Jr. (Dauphin County)

“We lost a dear friend and a part of our family at the county,” Commissioner Jeff Haste said in a statement. “He was just one of those guys who put you at ease and made you smile, and always more concerned about others than himself. As a judge, he was firm but fair – a quality we all admired.”

Coates, 55, was a native of Steelton and a graduate of Steelton-Highspire High School, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Dayton School of Law. He was elected to the bench in 2009.

“He’s one of the finest men I’ve ever known,” Commissioner Mike Pries said. “Not only was he an extraordinary judge and well-respected leader, but he was also the most kind and genuine person I’ve ever met. He will be remembered for his integrity, sense of humor and endless optimism.”

“I am deeply saddened by his passing,” said Commissioner George Hartwick. “He was a man of unbelievable character, conviction and faith. We had a strong bond – both being from Steelton. Early on in his career, it was evident that he would go on to do great things. He made a phenomenal public servant and judge, and will be sorely missed. I’m proud to call him my friend.”

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