Charles A. Coleman Jr.
“May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sunshine warm your face,
the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
COOPERSTOWN — Charles A. Coleman Jr., known by just about everyone as “Chuck” or “Pappy,” died early Saturday morning, Nov. 9, 2013, at Otsego Manor. Proud of his Irish heritage, he was 85.
A native of Cooperstown, Chuck was born at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital on May 30, 1928, a son of Charles Alfred Coleman Sr. and Anita Belle née Morgan Coleman. He was raised in the Catholic Faith and took his First Communion on June 2, 1935, at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown.
In his youth he served as an Altar Boy at St. Mary’s and also sang in the choir during the time his mother served as church organist. His talent for singing continued throughout his life, highlighted by the time he and several other Cooperstown vocalists appeared on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.
During his high school years Chuck was a three letter man and won many trophies in swimming. He graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1946, and then attended Hartwick College on a football scholarship. During this time, he contemplated joining the Oneonta Police Force, and in 1947, finished first in the department’s physical and mental tests.
On Dec. 3, 1948, Chuck married the former Dolores Maxine Snyder in a ceremony held in the Rectory at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church in Cooperstown, with Fr. Patrick Whelan officiating. Dolores and Chuck then settled into their home on Beaver Street and raised their three boys.
Throughout his life, Chuck was employed by several area business. For four years he worked as an installer for Western Electric, and for eight years he worked the counter at Otsego Wholesale Electric Company in Oneonta. For a time he was employed as an installer with New York Telephone Company, and also worked as a salesman for Singer Sewing Machines and as a manager for Buchanan Howe.
He eventually settled into a career as a printer, working as a pressman for The Freeman’s Journal, The Otsego Farmer, Lennon Litho in the Mohawk Valley and ultimately Barton-Butler Graphics in Cooperstown.
Not one to stay idle in his retirement, Chuck served in later years as a security guard at The Fenimore House and Museum, as well as a shuttle bus driver for Bassett Healthcare and The Otesaga.
A Cooperstown Native Son, Pappy truly loved his Village, and throughout the years served his fellow residents well in several capacities. At one time he was on the Village’s Watershed Committee and was also a Village Trustee for a period of time, for which he received special recognition from Otsego County.
He will especially be remembered for his devotion to the Cooperstown Fire Department, especially Mechanic’s Hook and Ladder Co. No. 5. He served that Company as Foreman and as Chief (1974 to 1976), and when the Company celebrated 110 years of service, he was co-chairman of the festivities. He also served two terms as President of the Department.
In his leisure, Chuck enjoyed spending time outdoors. He loved the water, and at various times in his life served as a National Aquatic Life Saving Instructor, a boating safety instructor, and was a counselor at Camp Ballou in Utica where he taught swimming and water safety. He also swam the length of his beloved Otsego Lake two times.
A hunter, he also liked to fish, especially on Otsego Lake. He was also an accomplished bowler, and in recognition of his pool playing skills, the Charles “Pappy” Coleman Pool Tournament is still a regular event during the Cooperstown Winter Carnival. Most especially, Chuck loved family get-togethers.
Whether you called him Chuck or Pappy, his presence throughout the Village of Cooperstown will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 65 years, Dolores of Cooperstown; their three sons and daughters-in-law, Charles A. “Skip” Coleman III and Laura, Carter F. Coleman and Katie, and Clifford S. Coleman and Colleen, all of Cooperstown. He is further survived by eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren: Brandi and Ross Valvo and their two children, Amanda and Rich O’Hara and their child, Jill and Marc Giberson and their three children, Melissa and Dan Croft and their three children, Maegan and Scott Whiteman and their two children, McKenzie Coleman, Lindsay and Tim Hayes and their two children, and Clifford and Meagan Coleman Jr. and their two children. Also surviving is one sister and brother-in-law, Morganna and Michael Garbera of Richfield Springs; a sister-in-law, Betsy J. Snyder of Latham; and many many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by one brother, Roger A. Coleman and his wife, Carol; and two sisters, Josephine C. Taugher and her husband, Stuart, and Jane A. Reich and her husband, Robert.
Friends may call and pay their respects to the Coleman family at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. A Firefighter Memorial Service will be conducted at 7 p.m. by members of the Cooperstown Fire Department.
A Funeral Service will be offered at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home with Fr. John P. Rosson, pastor of St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake” Roman Catholic Church, officiating. Immediately following the service at the funeral home, the Cooperstown Fire Department’s 1952 Mack Fire Truck will bear Chuck’s casket through the Village streets in procession, culminating with the Final Alarm at the Fire Hall on Chestnut Street.
As an alternative to flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Chuck to either the Cooperstown Fire Department, P.O. Box 2, Cooperstown, NY 13326 or to Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.