Larry Coleman, 69, entered heaven on Friday, February 2, 2018, where he is no doubt cutting up and bringing smiles to his new audience.
Born on November 17, 1948, Larry grew up in Springfield, TN. After high school he styled hair in Nashville, TN before moving to Chattanooga, TN where he met and married the love of his life, Barbara. Larry then attended Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, AL, where he graduated with his bachelor’s in youth ministry, before earning his master’s in theater arts from the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, AL.
A vibrant theater and communications professor, Larry taught at Rockmont College in Denver, CO and Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, GA before joining the faculty at Wingate University in Wingate, NC, where he served as Assistant Professor and ultimately Professor Emeritus for 28 years. There, Larry served as director (and sometimes performer) of Wingate University Theatre, director of the George A. Batte, Jr. Fine Arts Center for over seven years, and Artistic Director of Union County Players for many seasons. In 2016, Larry was honored with the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Excellence in Teaching from Wingate University and the HeArt of the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award from Union County Community Arts Council.
Larry’s love and respect for his students was unrivaled, and whether in the classroom, onstage, or welcoming them into his and Barbara’s house for a homemade meal, he invested deeply in their success, both as students and as individuals. Larry was as fearless as he was relentless in his pursuit of creativity and humor. Unafraid to make a fool of himself at any moment, the world was Larry’s stage, and those who shared it with him were not only entertained but also richer for the performance.
Larry’s greatest passion, however, was for his family. Larry is survived by Barbara, his wife and partner in life of 43 years; daughters Abby, Katy, son-in-love Robert Turnbull, and Molly; granddaughters Clara and Maggie; sister Joan Hair and her husband Bill; and brother Byrns Coleman, his wife Alice, and their three children and seven grandchildren. He was preceded in death by mother Jessie Perry Coleman, father Howard Elias Coleman, and siblings
Bobbie Coleman Clark, Jewell Coleman, and Howard “Bubba” Coleman, Jr.
Larry’s selflessness, love, and respect for others was boundless, even in his final years as he battled Parkinson’s Disease, which he fought – as he lived all of life – with great determination, faith, and humor. The family would like to thank the nursing and medical staff at WakeMed for their care and compassion.
Visitation will be held at Wingate Baptist Church on Wednesday, February 7 at 1:30pm followed immediately by a memorial service at 3:00 pm. Graveside service will be held on Thursday, February 8 at 2:00 pm in Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that donations be made to Hope Heals (www.hopeheals.com).
Davis Funeral Service is providing the arrangements locally and is honored to be serving the Coleman family. An online guest register book is available at www.davisfuneralservice.com