Coit D. Valentine

Nov. 23, 1950-Sept. 17

Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, Coit was the fifth of eight children. Under the guidance of his father and grandfather, he learned to work with draft horses on 40 acres of logging land. Upon graduation from high school, he chose to proudly join the U.S. Navy upon the advice of his older brothers who had been drafted. Coit discharged from the Navy after the Vietnam War and settled in San Diego, where he served the United States Postal Service for 30 years. 

In the late 1990s, Coit brought horses back into his life by purchasing an Arabian mare with funds returned by the government for overpayment of child support. In 1998 after two random meetings and an exchange of phone numbers, Coit and Mary Jo found they shared a love of horses that eventually led to their marriage in 2001. On their second date, which was the Fourth of July, a pinto Arabian colt named Firecracker entered their life and they became a threesome. As their horse family grew with three horses (… a cow named Daisy … and chickens), they found a need for land, so upon retirement they came to Pagosa Springs in 2005.

After Firecracker suffered a broken leg, Coit returned to San Diego and brought back Firecracker’s pinto Arabian daughter, A-Patchy. Coit enjoyed training A-Patchy to be a mountain trail horse alongside his Arabian mare, Elegant. 

Coit was seen by many riding Elegant, most notably carrying the U.S. flag during Fourth of July parades for the San Juan Back Country Horsemen, of which he was a founding member. His passions including anything to do with horses — riding trails, team roping and training. Coit loved all animals and dogs took a close second to his love of horses.

As a veteran, Coit was assisted by the Veterans for Veterans group and special friends like Rodney Pepper. Services provided by Visiting Angels and by Davita Dialysis in Durango, made his life more manageable in his later years during his lengthy fight with complications from diabetes. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jo, and their animal children.

A celebration of life will follow on Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. at the John Paul II Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus Outdoor Pavilion. Hood Mortuary is handling his final services. In lieu of flowers, donations in Coit’s honor can be made to the Pagosa Springs Veterans for Veterans or the United Kidney Foundation.

This story was posted on September 24, 2020.