He was born August 29, 1945, in Brooklyn, N. Y. His parents were H. Vinton and Eleanor Coes, and he grew up in Sussex, N. J. It was a decidedly rural upbringing — he attended a two-room schoolhouse, and among his chores was to fetch milk from a dairy farm up the hill from the family house.
An early formative experience in his life was the year he spent as an exchange student in Rome, Italy through the American Field Service, which introduced him to a far more cosmopolitan lifestyle than what he had known in Sussex. He stayed in lifelong contact with the Barbieri family, his AFS hosts in Rome — and also derived from them his lifelong love of cooking and fine cuisine.
He graduated from Harvard in 1967, and earned a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies, also at Harvard, in 1978. His doctoral dissertation “So they are all, all honorable men,” was a study of land tenure, honor, and the family structure of the Santiago de Chile aristocracy, 1541-1821.
He taught at Harvard University, Brown University, Queens College, and the Julliard School. He later became an independent cross-cultural trainer for Atkins International, helping to familiarize foreigners coming to work for American firms in the New York metropolitan area with conversational and idiomatic English as well as with American customs.
He enjoyed gardening, music, and international travel to see friends and acquaintances far and wide. He read widely, enjoyed collecting antique silver, and loved cooking for gatherings of family and friends.
He is survived by his wife, Jacoba; son Charles and his partner Anelise Shrout; his siblings Donald Coes of Brazil, David Coes of Hampton Roads, Va., and Mary Coes of Stony Brook, N. Y.; and his cousin Roger Gies of Oakland, Cal. In addition, survivors include his AFS family, “Mama” Maria, Sergio and Stefania Barbieri of Rome; and Copernicus, his Polish Lowland Sheepdog.
The family requests that memorial donations be made to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders — www.doctorswithoutborders.org). A gathering to celebrate Alan’s life will be announced later.