Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ethel Coughlin, age 86, passed away on August 10, 2022, in Denver, Colorado. She was born February 14, 1936, in Centre, Alabama to Henry Earl and Ruth (Smith) Prater. On June 17, 1962, she married Edward F. Coughlin Jr, whom she met while stationed in Japan, at the Sand Valley Baptist Church in Centre, Alabama. They had two children, Denise and Karla.
 
Ethel grew up on a farm, picking cotton, helping run the ferry, and helping raise her brothers and sisters. Upon her graduation from Cherokee County High School, she attended the University of Alabama Medical Centre. Upon graduation, she enlisted in the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant to follow a Nursing career and was stationed in Japan 1961-1962. In 1964, Ethel left the Air Force and served as a Registered Nurse in public hospitals in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. She received many letters of appreciation while at James Archer Smith Hospital. There was not a unit in the hospital she did not work. Following her husband’s military career, she lived in England and Colorado. While in Colorado, she returned to nursing through Civil Service, serving at the Air Force Academy Hospital.
 
In 1980, Ethel enlisted in the Army Reserves and served in Colorado Springs, during which time she became an OR Nurse and an Immunization/Infection Control Nurse. During Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, she was deployed to Denver. Ethel was Honorably Discharged from the Army Reserves at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1996. During her military career she received the Air Force Longevity Service Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal w/1 OLC, Army Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Army Commendation Medal.
 
Although Ethel preferred the warm weather of Alabama, she stayed in Colorado to be close to her daughters and grandchildren. She loved to garden, craft, watch the news, and listen to Country and Gospel music. Any visitor to her home was always greeted with a variety of snacks and no one ever left hungry or thirsty. Neighbors and friends, no matter how far, were always given support. Throughout her life, she was a proud supporter of the Military and showed compassion to those in need who crossed her path.
 
Ethel is survived by her daughters Denise (Steven) and Karla, her sister Laura Bo, her two grandchildren, several in-laws, and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Robert and Michael, her sisters Nora Lou and Evelyn Juanita, and her husband Retired Master Sergeant Edward F Coughlin Jr. 
 
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Arthritis Foundation of Colorado Springs, 555 S. Rockrimmon Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80919, 1-719-520-5711, https://www.arthritis.org/local-offices/co-office
(Please be sure to include the Donation Form to have it credited to Colorado Springs).
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  1. So sorry to hear of Ethel’s passing. She will surely be missed. After retirement, we kept in touch and I always enjoyed our conversations. I was always amazed at her driving alone to Alabama in her motor home. She was a very special person.

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