THE Rev Geoffrey Coles who served in Calderdale as a priest and teacher has died aged 72.
His wife, Pam, said he was a man of strong faith and a priest and friend to all he came across.
Despite battling ill-health, which included having open-heart surgery three times, he continued his duties into retirement.
He was born in Cumbria where his father was rector of Moresby.
The family, including his brother Peter Coles, who is a former Mayor of Calderdale, moved to St Mary’s, Luddenden Foot, in 1949, and St George’s, Ovenden, in 1952.
Rev Coles attended Calder High School, Mytholmroyd, and Crossley and Porter School, Halifax, where he met his wife and they married in 1961.
He was head of crafts at Holy Trinity School, Halifax, and head of year at the former Eastfield Secondary School, now Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School.
From 1977 to 1980 he took the Northern Ordination Course and was ordained while still teaching at Eastfield.
He was assistant curate at St Michael’s, Shelf, from 1980 to 1985 and became a full-time priest in 1985 and worked in Manningham, Bradford.
Rev Coles also served at St Mary’s, Wyke, and St Mary’s, Riddlesden, Keighley.
He retired in 2004 and since living at Clayton, Bradford, he has worked with the St John’s team, particularly among the elderly.
He has been assisted by his wife, who is also a former teacher and she was ordained five years ago.
She said her husband was a remarkable man who overcame ill-health to serve others.
“At heart he was a parish priest who loved ministering people,” she said.
“He has a been an inspiration to people and we are all really proud of him.”
The couple had three sons, Philip, Jeremy and Timothy and two grandchildren Nathan and Emily.
The funeral is on Monday at St John’s Church, Clayton, at 2 pm.