Alvidine (Dina) Coker Baptista (Alvadean Coker, stage name),
passed away peacefully on February 14, 2023. She was 84 years young. The family
is deeply saddened by their loss. Alvidine was born on October 25, 1938 in
Bakersfield, California, and grew up in southern California.
Alvidine is survived and missed by her loving husband William A. Baptista
of 45 years; and her children, Alicia, Bryci, Lance, and Toni. Forever beloved
and remembered by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her memory will be cherished
by her siblings Carolyn and husband Herman, Linda and their families. Alvidine
was predeceased by her father Alvis, her mother Geraldine, and
her brother Alvis Jr. “Sandy”.
Alvidine is referred to as one of the founding vocalists bridging the gap
of pop and country music in the late Fifties, with her scaled-down big
band pop, hillbilly, country boogie, and what is now called Rockabilly.
She and her family band, The Cokers, made over 30 recordings
for both 1955 Abbott Records in Los Angeles, 1956 Decca Records in Nashville.
Among her hits were chart topping “We’re Gonna Bop”, “Sugar Doll”,
“My Crying Heart”, and duet with Jim Reeves “Are you the One”.
The Cokers were regulars appearing on Shreveport’s hit
show Louisiana Hayride, The Grand Ole Opry, and
Town Hall Party (Compton, Calif.) in the late fifties. Some of
her greatest joy came from playing music with her brother Sandy and touring with
her family band The Cokers. They created many memories while touring across
the US to perform with fellow artists such as Maxine and Jim Ed Brown, The Carters,
and Elvis Presley. Alvidine was inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame
in 1998 and was recognized as a pioneer of Western Swing. In recent years her music has
been remastered due to popularity in the UK, Germany and Canada.
After starting to raise her children, she retired from the limelight, studied
law and embarked on a career in the credit bureau field. Eventually she moved
to Fresno where she managed The Fresno Credit Bureau. After marrying her
husband Bill (William A. Baptista), a local artist, farmer and dairyman
from the west side, she moved to Kerman, California. Her love of antiques
and her inherent frugality drew her to frequent estate sales which is how
she came to purchase all that she needed to open up her flower
shop “Baptista’s Floral”.
She loved floral arranging and was a local favorite, known to have the most
beautiful flowers for a reasonable cost. Her love of music and entertaining
never waivered and she brought her daughters up in everything music, dance, and theatre arts. After realizing the need to bring more arts to the Fresno area, she founded Stage Door Children’s Theatre. An organization that she built to instill self-confidence in children through music and theatre arts education. In the 20 years of Stage Door’s existence, she taught hundreds of students and entertained thousands with over 40 full stage productions.
In her retirement, she enjoyed her beautiful home in the Millerton Lake area,
where she was able to play slots regularly at Table Mountain Casino. She was always
eager to see her grandchildren and loved to play Rook anytime she had willing
Alvidine was never scared to take on new opportunities and contributed to the
community in so many ways through her love of the arts. She had a generous
spirit and would give the shirt off her back to help anyone in need. She
encouraged people to be all they could be, and to never give up. Her hard-working
ethic was true grit at its finest.
She is missed, but her legacy will carry on forever through her music,
and her family who will keep her memory alive.
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