|Birth: ||Feb. 25, 1915|
|Death: ||Nov. 7, 2003|
John W. Coleman was born on February 25, 1915, to John Lafayette Coleman and Beatrice Sims Coleman in Ellis County in the city of Ennis, Texas. He was the third oldest of nine children. His father was blind, well educated and a successful businessman who owned and operated a grocery store. His mother was an active church worker and her wise counsel was sought by many.
John accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savor and was baptized at five years of age, at the Bethlehem Baptist Church of Ennis, Texas, under the pastorate of Revered E.L. Lockett. His early duty was to ring the church bell every Wednesday at 4:00p.m., for the Starlight Band. He also assisted the church custodians in preparing the church for morning services. John's duties also including serving as superintendent for the Sunday School. This was the beginning of his eighty-three year commitment to Christ and his sixty-three years in the ministry. He surrounded to the call of the Gospel preaching ministry and was ordained the first Sunday, April 1940. He served as the interim pastor of the First Independence Baptist Church of Corsicana, Texas. He also served as assistant to the pastor of the St. Paul Baptist Church of Ennis, Texas under Dr. Orville Perkins Felder.
Dr. Coleman and his family joined the Mt. Bethel Baptist Church upon their arrival in Langston, where he maintained his membership until his death. He served as the Senior Associate Pastor.
In 1934 he married Lucille Callahan. To this union three children were born. They made their home in Ennis, Texas where he was born. Later he met and married Annie Laurie Williams. In 1944 the family accompanied Dr. Felder and his wife Vada to Langston, Oklahoma. Dr. Coleman's wife, Annie Laurie, died in 1971. Several years later he married Dr. Louise Stevens.
John Coleman's formal education began with aunt Tina's private school; then came an elementary school certificate. He graduated from Ennis High School as the class Valedictorian. He attended Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, where he earned his A.B. degree. He completed his Th.B. and D.O. degree from the Oklahoma School of Religion in Langston, Oklahoma. He also earned the M.A. and Ed.D degrees from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Because of his learning and commitment to education, he was recognized by a number of institutions and received two doctors of Divinity Degree, the Master of Human Letter, and the Doctor of Humane Letters.
Dr. Coleman worked on the railroad for a short period. From 1936-1944 he taught in Ennis Public Schools. From 1944 to 1950 he joined Dr. Felder at the Oklahoma School of Religion in Langston, Oklahoma, serving as the Assistant Dean. He served as pastor of Central Baptist Church of Chandler, Oklahoma from 1946-1951, commuting from Chandler to Langston much of this time to teach courses at the Oklahoma School of Religion.
After the closing of the school in 1964, Dr. Coleman taught at Langston University until his retirement in 1976, but his retirement from active duties came in 1997. He continued in his role of Chaplain Emeritus and Professor Emeritus until his death.
It was from 1950-1964 that Dr. Coleman served as Administrative Dean and Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Chaplain at Langston University. His commitment to Langston University spans some fifty-three years, having served under President Dr. G. Lamar Harrison (1949-1960), Dr. Williams H. Hale (1960-1969), Dr. Williams E. Sims (1969-1974), Dr. James L. Mosely, Interim President (1974-1975), Dr. Thomas English (1975-1977), Dr. Samuel Tucker (1978) and Dr. Ernest L. Holloway (1978-Present).
It was through his work as a minister, chaplain, a teacher that he was known by his colleagues and fellow faculty as "one who prays for us in the spirit and words we like." They also said of him, "He is a stable, dependable, and an articulate spokesman and representative of the profession." The brethren of the clergy viewed him as "dignified and knowledgeable," the "silver tongued orator."
In his work and works he was known as a man of many names—The School of Religion family, in spite of the years, called him the "good Dean"—Langston University students by the thousands lovingly referred him as the Fountain, the King, the Chilly Dean, Sean Coleman." Some of his colleagues called him Prof, but his three children and grandchildren call him "Papa".
In a sermon to the freshman class in 1968, Dr. Coleman opened with the following statement, "the best builders are they who first build themselves and bring improved lives of service as blocks of granite to the edifice they would raise." "Build and Service." That is what he did. He was a member of the Baptist Church; Oklahoma Education Association, Pi Gamma Mu, honorary fraternity in social sciences; Phi Alpha Theta, honorary society in history; Executive Board, National Association of College and University Chaplains; Society of the Scientific Study of Religion; National Association of Social Science Teachers. He was moderator of The Saint Mark District Association for twenty five years.
Dr. Coleman was very active in denominational work. Many of his students became pastors of churches associated with the convention. He traveled throughout the State of Oklahoma convincing parents to send their children to Langston University. He also encouraged young preachers to prepare themselves for service in ministry.
On February 26, 1992 upon the recommendation of the late Dr. James Harold Davis, Pastor of the Mt. Bethel Baptist Church, the Dr. John W. Coleman Scholarship was established. The John W. Coleman Irrevocable Trust was created May 28, 1994, to assist students educationally who are committed to a life of service in ministry.
Groundbreaking ceremonies began February 15, 1996, on the campus of Langston University, for the Dr. Annie Laurie Coleman Heritage Center (Chapel). The Center was completed on Mother's Day 1999 and provided its first worship service. Serving as Chaplain Emeritus, he frequently assisted Dr. Erick Anthony Joseph, the fourth chaplain, in the worship services at the Heritage Center.
John W. Coleman's love for his church and the ministry never wavered. On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2003, the Lord called him from labor to restful reward. He moved from light to dark; dark to light.
He is preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, three brothers, and his wife.
Dr. Coleman leaves to mourn his transition from Earth to Heaven, three daughters, Sandra Coleman Parker (Albert), San Jose, California; Donita Coleman, Ennis, Texas and Josephine Coleman, Guthrie, Oklahoma; two brothers, Eugene Coleman, San Antonio, Texas, and Joseph B. Coleman, Ennis, Texas; one sister, Madeline Coleman Giddings, Ennis, Texas; seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren; a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends. He also leaves to mourn his passing his special friend, Patricia Love, who was truly a great comfort to him for many years.
Annie Laurie Lowery Coleman (1918 - 1971)
Summit View Cemetery
Plot: Section 1, Block 41, Lot 120, Space SW..
Maintained by: J. D. Prewitt
Originally Created by: Jackie
Record added: Jul 16, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20484413