Donald Ray Choate

Donald Ray Choate

Donald Ray Choate, 86, of Jonesboro, died Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, at Herrin Hospital in Herrin.  

He was born on Feb. 9, 1935, in Anna, the son of James Melvin and Ruth Lois Howell Choate. 

He married Virginia Sue Frick on April 16, 1955, in Jonesboro. Don and Sue were married for more than 58 years. 

Mr. Choate is survived by his sons, Jeffrey (Jill Winner) Choate of Marion, Wesley (Claudia) Choate of Pinckneyville, Gregory (Jodie) Choate of Jonesboro and Roger (Dawn) Choate of Paducah; 16 grandchildren, Christopher Choate, Andrew Choate, Matthew Choate, Meredith Choate, Olivia Choate, Craig Choate, Coleman Choate, Stephanie Plott, Joshua Choate, Jordan Choate, Maggie Choate, Hannah Choate, Isaac Choate, Jeremy Cotton, Kaleb Cotton and Jillian Cotton; 13 great-grandchildren; a brother, Robert Choate of Carbondale; a sister, Mary Ruth Casey of Jonesboro; a brother-in-law, Orval Vancil of Owensboro, Ky.; sisters-in-law Shirley Frick of Creve Coeur, Mo., Irma Frick of Jonesboro and Pat Farris of Morton; an aunt, Ethel Choate Marlow of Florida; a special friend, Billie Earl; many nieces and nephews; other relatives and many friends. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and by his wife, Sue Choate. 

Don had a life well lived and a smile for everyone he met. He was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro for 42 years, serving as a deacon since 1967. He made a profession of faith as a young man in 1957. 

He worked at Blankenship Auto Parts in Anna for 43 years. 

Don was very proud to be the longest serving school board member in Illinois, serving on the board for Jonesboro Elementary School for 54 years. While serving on the school board, he was the board president for 24 years – never missing a meeting. 

He was an avid St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, as well as a fan of high school and college basketball. He coached boys’ summer league baseball for 21 years, mentoring many young men and building lifelong relationships. 

He was the official scorekeeper for Anna-Jonesboro Community High School basketball for 16 years. 

He also enjoyed fishing, eating fish and spending part of his retirement time at Crab Orchard Lake. 

His family gave special thanks to all of the health care workers who helped to enhance the quality and length of his life.

Graveside funeral services will be held privately for the family. Friends will be invited to a celebration of his life at a later date. 

Memorials can be made to the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro or to the Healing Projects, 475 Calvert Dr., Paducah, Ky. 42003. Envelopes also will be available at Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna. 

To view the obituary and to leave online condolences for the family, visit 

Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna is in charge of arrangements.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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