Coad Family of Dealerships Honored with 2023 Annunciation Award

The Coad Family of Dealerships leads by example.

It’s a part of the business’s fabric and among the reasons it was recently named a 2023 recipient of Notre Dame Regional High School’s (NDHS) prestigious Annunciation Award. The honor was bestowed by the NDHS Education Fund Foundation Oct. 13 at the Acts of the Apostles Dinner at the Jackson Civic Center.

A business is so much more than bricks and mortar and the products they sell, said Alex Jackson, former NDHS director of Advancement.

“Businesses are made up of people, and excellent businesses invest in their communities,” he said. “The Coad Family of Dealerships was quick to rise to the top when considering the 2023 Annunciation Award nominees.”

The Annunciation Award is presented annually to individuals and organizations that have devoted immeasurable time, talent and/or treasure to sustain Catholic secondary education in the community and whose presence, by word and deed, has enriched the lives of the students of Notre Dame and served as an example for all.

“The Coad Family of Dealerships has so many Notre Dame alumni, parents, and friends who give their time, talent and treasure to the school.  It’s not just the business that gives so generously, but those who work for the business who give so selflessly,” Jackson said.

“We didn’t see it coming,” said Tim Coad, executive vice president of Ancap Management with the Coad Family of Dealerships that encompasses Coad Chevrolet in Ridgway, Illinois, where the business originated; Coad Chevrolet and Coad Toyota, both in Cape Girardeau; Coad Chevrolet-Ford in Anna, Illinois; and Coad Toyota in Paducah, Kentucky. The dealerships offer vehicles from the Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford lineups.

Commitment to Notre Dame

Over the past 10 years, the Coad Family of Dealerships has donated a car each fall for the annual Activity Week fund-raising blitz. One lucky student takes home the car after meeting his or her fund-raising goals and being entered into a drawing.

“Activity Week is such a unique Notre Dame phenomenon,” said Tim’s wife, Jennifer Coad. “It’s an incredible amount of work by the students, the teachers, the parents and the administrators. It sets Notre Dame apart from any other school.”

Activity Week “deserves a car,” Jennifer added. “The passion that Notre Dame puts into that week – we wanted something to embody that.”

In addition to their Activity Week vehicle donation, the Coad Family of Dealerships’ contributions to Notre Dame are many, including the purchase of new equipment for the boys’ golf team and financial support for the track and cross country teams.

Investing in their Community

The dealerships’ record of stewardship in the community also is impressive.

For years, staff members with the Coad Family of Dealerships have serviced the vehicles of Bishop Edward Rice, Bishop Emeritus John Leibrecht, and the priests, religious and deacons in this area. Tim is quick to credit his staff, saying the company’s service manager, general manager and others are as committed to the needs of Notre Dame and the Notre Dame family as are the Coads.

The Coad Family of Dealerships, and its 190 employees, also support Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Central High School, Jackson High School, Saxony Lutheran High School, St. Vincent de Paul School, St. Mary School and Immaculate Conception School. It also is dedicated to benefitting local initiatives, including Toys for Tots, the Southeast Missouri Food Bank, the Special Olympics, American Legion and the Cape Girardeau Cancer Gala, Saint Francis Healthcare System, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

It’s Personal

For the Coads, their commitment to Notre Dame is personal. Tim and Jennifer are the parents of two children and NDHS graduates – Hogan, ’18, and Hattie, ’23, whose years at Notre Dame drew them into a close and treasured relationship with the school.

Their own support of Notre Dame is exemplary. Tim has shared his talents, coaching the boys’ golf team the past three years. He also paved the way to make Dalhousie Golf Club the team’s home course.

“God blesses us with (talents),” Tim said, “You can’t bury them in the ground. You have to continue to give them away.”

Jennifer, a former teacher, has been an NDHS volunteer extraordinaire, who lives by the mantra, “why not me?” She has donated countless volunteer hours over the past eight years as a “counting mom” during Activity Week and as the coordinator of athletic concessions. She deflects any accolades, saying so many other people are involved who “go unnoticed and unrecognized.”

But Tim is quick to add, “I think she’s done a tremendous job out there. Jennifer organized it. She held people accountable. She worked track meets and spring sports. She managed no-shows and rainouts. She anchored that deal. Jennifer walked the walk.”

In 2018, the Coads were honored with the NDHS Booster Club Bob Miller Award for their longstanding commitment to Notre Dame and Notre Dame Athletics. The award is given in recognition of continuous and meritorious service that best upholds the name and tradition of the Notre Dame Athletic Program and of Notre Dame Regional High School.

This past year, Jennifer also assisted with coaching and keeping stats for the Notre Dame girls’ basketball team. A 1986 All-State guard for the 1986 state champion Perryville High School girls’ basketball team and a former basketball coach at Perry County Middle School, Jennifer has brought the best of her athletic prowess to the role. She is continuing in this capacity this school year.

“I like being in that environment,” she said, adding she’s been blessed to have not needed to work outside the home, opening up the opportunity to share her many talents in volunteer capacities.

“I’ve got time. I can do this,” have been her words to live by, beginning early on when she often served as a substitute teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School where their children attended grade school.

“She’s always been a part of the solution,” Tim said.

The Early Years

The same can be said of Tim, who comes by his selflessness honestly.

“I got it from my parents. For my parents, it would be sinful not to step up,” he said. “My dad was always a compassionate guy.”

Tim is one of three children of the late Joe and Nell Coad. Tim’s father founded Coad Chevrolet in 1964 in Ridgway, Illinois, near the Ohio River and owned the business for 43 years until his death in 2007. The family was devoutly Catholic. Since the dealership was just a stone’s throw from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ridgway (now St. Kateri Tekakwitha), Tim was a frequent server for parish Masses, weddings and funerals throughout his childhood, and he was taught by Catholic nuns.

“I was blessed that way,” Tim said. “I was enriched by my Catholic faith.”

The family had close ties to their parish priests, who were a constant through’s life’s joys and sorrows. The Rev. Francis Xavier Heiligenstein Jr. (“Father X”), who Tim was especially close to, was a regular at the family’s Monday Night Football gatherings. On the surface, he was “just an average kind of Joe,” Tim said, “but he was rich in so many ways.”

Jennifer was raised in Perryville, Missouri, the daughter of the late Paul and Hallie Pautler. She and Tim were married in 1993 at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Cape Girardeau, and Jennifer later joined the Catholic Church in 2006.

Growing in Their Faith

“I didn’t grow up with strong faith,” Jennifer said, “but my faith became extremely important to me” in recent years.

She serves on the board of the Miraculous Medal, has consecrated herself to the Blessed Mother and prays the rosary daily.

Tim, who makes daily prayer a part of his life, made Cursillo in 1984 at St. Vincent’s Seminary (now Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus). He is also a eucharistic minister at St. Vincent de Paul Parish. He calls Cursillo his first spiritual awakening.

“It became pretty clear of God’s presence in one’s life,” he said.

In 2015, Jennifer also made Cursillo. The program’s pillars – piety, study and action – are integral to their lives, with action rising to the top.

“Cursillo really impacted my life. You get that at Notre Dame too. It’s Cursillo in action,” Tim said.

Why Notre Dame?

Deeds are important and are what drives them and the Coad Family of Dealerships to share their treasures.

“I find it a privilege to be a part of Notre Dame’s lineage,” Tim said. “It is very deep and respected. There is a lot of generosity, a lot of depth. They are just an incredible operation.”

That’s why they chose Notre Dame for their children.

“The more religion and faith that can be instilled in our kids, the better,” Jennifer said. “Notre Dame makes prayer and faith a regular part of life.”

As the Coads’ daughter moves on to Ole Miss this fall, the couple looks back on their years as Notre Dame parents with pride and thanksgiving. Jennifer says she is deeply appreciative of all that Notre Dame offers and for the relationships their children built while students there.

“It changes your life,” Jennifer said. “I love Notre Dame. I love being around it. I love being associated with it. We got just as much out of it as we put into it.”

Tim concurred. “It’s been fun to be a part of it.”