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Obituaries » Lester Coleman

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December 17, 1954 - December 10, 2023

In accordance with his wish, cremation has taken place and no services are scheduled at this time. Memorial contributions may be given to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, c/o the funeral home.

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Age 68, passed away on December 10, 2023. He was born in Chicago, IL, on December 17, 1954, the son of the late Lester and Mary Ann (Misch) Coleman. Lester was a kind, generous-hearted soul who lived his life with dignity, gratitude and grace. He had a genuine interest in the dreams, passions and concerns of those around him; he always listened intently and was willing to lend a helping hand. Lester’s passions included his relationship with his sisters, his nephews and their families, his friends, volunteer work, mentoring and coaching football, softball and wrestling. He loved watching John Wayne movies with the Graver nephews and enjoyed collecting “Western” memorabilia. He was an avid reader and was well known at the Washington Square branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library. He loved to learn and was known for his expertise of world history and trivia.

Lester received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Knox College and later earned a Master of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University. He became a teacher and influenced several generations of children both in the classroom and in sports. He received many coaching awards for both football and wrestling. In his ten years as head wrestling coach at Wheaton Central and Wheaton Warrenville South, he turned a struggling program around and had many winning seasons which included a Regional Championship, and he led several State Qualifiers and Champions. If you were to ask one of his wrestlers what Lester’s greatest accomplishment was, each one would tell you “It was me!” His commitment to the kids was complete both on and off the mat, and he continued to be a mentor and a friend his entire life. Throughout 1989-1997, he held various leadership roles, including International Exchange Facilitator, with the Illinois Wrestling Federation, an affiliate of USA Wrestling. As part of his leadership, he facilitated and coached many wrestling trips throughout the U.S. and Canada. He also conceived and organized the initial tournament for the USA Wrestling Junior National Duals.

Later in life Lester lived in a multi-resident building which was run by a cooperative management system. He served many times as a Co-op Board Officer, holding positions as Treasurer and President. His level of involvement in the Co-op was extensive, and he will be missed. He had a strong faith and most recently attended First Presbyterian Church, where he was an active teacher and mentor for literacy.

Lester’s kindness, warmth and generosity will be missed by all who loved him. He is survived by two sisters, Gwen Coleman Geiger and Patti Coleman DeFarno; nephews, Greg Geiger, Paul (Lauren) Graver and their daughter Lucy Graver, Kevin (Janaye) Graver, Jeff Geiger; devoted friends, Jamie, Phil, Dale, Mark, John, Annette, Leslie, Bob, Fran, Sandy, Pam, Pat, Vicky, Bruce “Hollywood”, the Co-op team, all of his wrestlers and his pet cat, Melvin, “the Urban Puma”.