Ronald Deane Coleman
Our father, Ronald Deane Coleman, passed peacefully from this life at St. Joseph’s Home, on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at the age of 87. He joins his beloved wife and best friend, Barbara Marie, who joined our Lord in heaven just eight weeks ago.
Ron was born the first of three children, to Albert B and Sylvia J (Thompson) Coleman on September 29, 1930, in Springfield, Illinois. He was preceded in death by his parents, but he is survived by his sisters, Jacqueline Jo Stites and Roberta Booher.
Ronald is survived by his three loving children: Vicki (Vernon) Vaughn, Gail (John) Lorenzini, and Ronald (MaryAnn) Coleman Jr. He leaves many treasured memories for his beloved grandchildren Lynne Lorenzini Lowder, Nicholas Lorenzini, and Lauren Coleman, as well as great-grandchildren Anthony, Roman and Maria Lowder.
Our parents met at the very young ages of 16 (Ron) and 15 (Barb). They fell in love and were married on February 13, 1949 at Fifth Presbyterian Church by Reverend Roy Kale. Through their seventy years together, they have raised children, and worked side-by-side to operate family businesses. In 1955 they started Travel Lunch Food Service, then 1970 they started building Woodland Acres Mobile Home Park and later owned and operated Lucky Horseshoe Mobile Home Park and All- American Mobile Home Sales. They have truly been partners in life and work, and best friends.
Starting in his childhood, Ron was a daredevil and motor enthusiast. After starting with building bicycles, he became known for his “Whizzer” bike in school, and grew to love motorcycles and cars. Being a child of the depression, he learned how to make what he needed from very little. He built and raced a stock car at Shaheen’s in Springfield, and other dirt tracks in the area. Growing up with Ron as a father, we always knew that there wasn’t anything that was beyond his ability to make.
In 1953, Ron and Barb moved to California and he went to school to get his airplane pilot’s license. From his love of flying, he began a project in the 1980s building a “Gee Bee” racing plane in his garage. The Gee Bee was a special purpose racing plane, designed by the Granville Brothers in 1932. After spending years of spare time learning and working on this plane, it was purchased by an air and space museum where it is today. He maintained his pilot’s license through most of his life, flying experimental aircraft and surviving three plane crashes, and was a proud lifetime member of the EAA and Warbirds clubs. During his time in California, he worked as a concrete truck driver, and shared stories about the days when he delivered concrete to the Disneyland construction site.
He was a well-known pool and billiards player in Springfield, known to many as “sweet Coley” and played against some of the world’s best players. As a young man, he was featured in an exhibition match with Jimmy Caras. His love of the game led to a career making custom cues which were prized by the best players of the game. His expert craftsmanship and pride in every cue left a legacy that is still talked about by the lucky few who have one of his “Coleman Custom Cues”.
Our Dad had a very independent nature, and always felt he needed to be his own boss. He was very lucky that he found a wonderful woman who would be the perfect match for his need to be a dreamer and entrepreneur. In 1970, they not only started building Woodland Acres Mobile Home Park, they truly built it with their own hands. While Dad designed the park and shaped the first eleven acres, our mom worked alongside him. Together, they showed us the example that there is nothing you can’t accomplish working hard as a team. He grew to love his time operating the grader that brought the park to life, and took on the nickname “Blade Man” to anyone who knew him closely. When the park was complete, the love for being outdoors led to his daily routine mowing grass all through the park. Until October, he was still spending every day driving through Woodland Acres, speaking to residents and looking for things that needed attention. They never took vacations – not only because they felt a responsibility to keep everything working – but also because they did not need an escape from the life that they loved.
Our Dad had many unique and special qualities that provide a legacy for us – he had the best sense of humor, and was great at telling jokes and stories. He lived his life and showed us by example that everyone who needed help also deserved respect and compassion.
Staab Funeral Home will be in charge of arrangements and cremation. Our family will have a Celebration of Life at a date to be announced. We thank everyone for prayers and thoughts at this time, and any contributions in his name should be directed to the local APL (Animal Protective League) that is providing care for the cats and kittens from their home.
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