GREENSBORO - Joseph Frank Coleman Sr., age 88, adored husband of 57 years, father, grandfather and great grandfather, died at the VA Hudson Valley Health Care System in Montrose, NY on February 5, 2013.
Joe was born September 24, 1924 in Ronda, NC, to Necollie Plina Mitchell Coleman and Vance Tillford Coleman. Joe's family later moved to Greensboro where he graduated from Greensboro High School in 1943. He lettered in basketball, track and tennis.
Joe enlisted in the Navy during WWII in 1943. He was First Class Petty Officer in the South Pacific Theater and member of the original crew of the U.S.S. Barber; a destroyer escort receiving three battle stars for her service in WWII.
On the G.I. Bill, Joe attended Wake Forest University and Guilford College with Lee Gorrell, his life-long friend from Greensboro. Joe met his bride Barbara Ruzicka at Guilford College. They married in 1948 at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro. The couple moved to Miami, FL where Joe acquired a Bachelor of Business degree and moved back to Greensboro for the birth of their first child.
Joe and Barbara had three children and in 1953, after winning several awards with his employer, Pitney Bowes, Joe decided to strike out on his own and start a business. He traveled and sold envelopes by day and printed them at night and on weekends with one employee, Bud Houston. They operated a press using rubber plates in a rented post-war army barrackS, which more than 300,000 men and women went through between 1943 and 1946. At the end of the war, ORD, as it was called, became a major business incubator in northeast Greensboro. Wife Barbara created an office in an attic bedroom with her young children playing at her feet. Her youngest daughter, Debbie, hearing her Mommy answer the phone all day, thought her name was "Debbie Lou Coleman Supply Company". Over the next couple of years, they finally bought a building on East Market Street and became Coleman Envelope and Printing. By the time they moved to larger quarters on Walnut Circle in 1980, there were 30+ employees. Joe continued to run the business for 45 years, until they retired. The business was sold in 1998.
Joe devoted his life to his loving wife and family. He loved teaching his salespeople the art of selling and ran his business with a firm but fair hand. His love for playing the stock market was only superseded by his love for tennis. Joe played golf, too. He and Barbara traveled the US and spent much time in Boca Raton, FL and Pine Knolls Shores, NC. Joe was traveling to Chesapeake to buy blue crabs long before North Carolina folks knew what they were. Joe, his brother, and friends, loved to go fishing and deep sea fishing from time to time. He and wife Barbara loved to entertain and have enjoyed many wonderful trips with friends and family. A favorite past-time was going to Yum Yum's and getting a hot dog and ice cream with Lee Gorrell.
Barbara and Joe were members of Starmount Forest County Club. Joe was named ABWA Charter Chapter Boss of the Year in 1973. Coleman Envelope was a sponsor for the Greater Greensboro Open for many years.
Joseph Frank Coleman is predeceased by his wife Barbara. He is survived by his children Joseph Frank Coleman, Jr. of Ossining, NY; Susun Coleman Miller and husband Dr. Ronald Miller of Haw River, NC, and Deborah Lou Coleman of Exeter, New Hampshire; six grandchildren: Rachel Stein Coleman, Noah Stein Coleman, Myah Cook Drumm and husband Brian, Grey Coleman Cook and wife Teresa, Angie Laughlin Rice and husband Chris and Kelly Laughlin Faul and husband Rick; nine great grand-children: Emma LaMachio and Josephine Drumm; Alexis, Tyler and Dominic Cook; Miles and Phoebe Rice and Travis and Casey Faul. Joe is also survived by his wonderful friend Lee Gorrell and Lee's wife Betty.
Joe was also much loved by five sisters and a brother, all deceased: Marie Flora Coleman Creed of Richmond, VA, Minnie Mohea Coleman Spies of Baltimore, MD, Sarah Esma Coleman Thompson of VA, Annie Cleo Coleman Haraway of Richmond, VA., Stella Mae Coleman Beaver, of Monroe, NC. and John Turner Coleman of Clearwater, FL. He loved many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Funeral services for Joseph Coleman, Sr. will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday February 8, 2013 at Westminster Gardens at 3601 Whitehurst Road in Greensboro, NC. The Reverend Stephen Smith, Vicar of The Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit Greensboro, NC, will officiate.
The family would like to thank all the staff of the Hudson Valley VA hospitals.
The family would appreciate your donations to the VA Hudson Valley Hospital System in lieu of flowers. Your contributions will go to feed Veterans with limited income at both locations where Joe has been receiving care at the Veteran's Administration Hudson Valley Health Care System the last couple of months.
Please make checks out to: VAHVHCS. Please write in MEMO section of your check: Food Pantry Both Campuses, In memory of Joseph Coleman, b1924. Address: VA Hudson Valley Health Care Castle Point and Montrose Campuses Route 9 Castle Point, NY 12511.
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