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David J. Coder, 48, salesman and long-distance bicyclist


David J. Coder, an avid long-distance bicyclist, died of a heart attack Saturday while riding his favorite blue-and-red Trek 5200 road bike in Anne Arundel County. The Catonsville resident was 48.

"He was at mile 51 of a 62-mile bike ride when he had the heart attack near Linthicum. He died instantly," said his wife of five years, the former Margaret F. Draper. "Doug always said he wanted to die on his bike."

Mr. Coder was born in Cleveland and raised in Timonium. He was a 1973 graduate of Dulaney High School and attended what is now Towson University.

He had worked in inside sales for McArdle & Walsh Inc. and Job & Co., and since the mid-1990s was employed by Neu-Ion in Woodlawn. The company installs and maintains water purification systems.

It was at a bike rally that Mr. Coder met his future wife.

"We met at the Mad Bike Ride in 1993 at Oregon Ridge. I thought he was cute, so I gave him my phone number. He never called me," Mrs. Draper-Coder said. "We met six weeks later at the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Department ride, and I asked him why he didn't call me. And he said he had lost my number." They were married in 1999.

The couple enjoyed taking day trips or spending weekends bicycling the scenic back roads of Maryland or along the New Jersey and Delaware seashore.

"He wasn't into racing. We always wanted to ride where there was beauty. He liked to ride to Ellicott Mills and then celebrate the end of the ride with a cold glass of beer or a cup of coffee," she said.

For more than 40 years, Mr. Coder suffered from juvenile diabetes. He volunteered for research on the chronic disease.

"He was very involved with two diabetes support groups and tried to get the insulin-dependent on the insulin pump, which, unlike a shot, continually drips insulin into the body. He was able to control the disease that way rather than it controlling him," Mrs. Draper-Coder said.

"Doug said that when he was out riding his bike, he was 'celebrating life' and 'always seemed to find God,'" his wife said.

Services were held Wednesday.

Survivors also include a son, Christopher J. Coder, and two daughters, Carlye R. Coder and Caitlin Marie Coder, all of Timonium; his father and stepmother, John L. and Jane Coder of Chestnut Hill, Pa.; and a sister, Deborah Stancavitch of Jarrettsville.

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