A Life Lived: Coolie Estep never strayed far from his Horseshoe Community roots

Published 12:43 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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Editorial Director
David “Coolie” Estep was born and raised in the Horseshoe Community and lived a number of years there before moving to Elizabethton. But he never forgot his roots. Every chance he got, he went “home” to the Horseshoe. Sometimes, it was to visit someone, other times just a ride up to Watauga Dam or to the little Horseshoe Church. “He knew everyone who lived in the Horseshoe Community,” said his daughters, Judy and Margaret. He and his wife, June, never moved from the Horseshoe until the mid-1960s.
Coolie, as he was known to friends, was a retired employee of North American Rayon, and on the side worked as an electrician. He got his start as an electrician working with a friend of his, Ralph Nave. He worked a lot with Nave, and did a lot of jobs on his own, however, he never made a lot of money at it, because a lot of his work was free or for just a small fee.
“He enjoyed meeting and talking to people. He never met a stranger,” said Margaret. He also enjoyed getting out of the house and enjoyed good health up until about a month ago. “He enjoyed going to church, to the grocery store, and to the doctor’s office. If it was a trip, he was ready to go,” said Margaret and Judy.
Judy lived with her father and cared for him. “He was easy to care for. He enjoyed simple meals, and in the summer he liked sitting on the porch and waving at his neighbors,” said Judy.
In his earlier years, the daughters said their daddy enjoyed gardening. “He grew a lot of vegetables, especially tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, and corn. Although he didn’t grow a lot of them, he enjoyed watermelon and cantaloupes,” said Judy.
Next to gardening, Coolie’s favorite thing to do was fishing, and his favorite place to fish was Watson Island in North Carolina. “He enjoyed camping trips there,” said Margaret.
After he became unable to go fishing, Coolie spent a lot of time watching television. “He always watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and enjoyed westerns,” the daughters said.
Margaret said her father especially enjoyed having his grandchildren and great-grandchildren visit. In addition to Margaret and Judy, Coolie had a third daughter, Sandra. He also had four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His wife, June, preceded him in death. “He was lost without her. Before she died, he spent a lot of time taking care of her,” said Margaret.
Coolie was a member of Hampton First Baptist Church, where his grandson, Norman Markland Jr., pastors. But, in past years he had attended other churches, among them the Horseshoe Church and East Fairview Free Will Baptist Church. “Daddy enjoyed church and he loved to sing,” said Margaret. His favorite hymn was “Just A Little Talk With Jesus.”
David “Coolie” Estep died Jan. 17 at the age of 91, and was buried in the Highland Cemetery next to his beloved wife, June.
You could say Coolie Estep was just an ordinary person, who was blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences, which made his life special. He made his life more special by giving his heart to those around him.

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