Kenneth Jack Coleman Jr. (Ken, Kenny, KJ) passed away peacefully due to complications with heart disease on March 29, 2023.
KJ was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma in June 1943, almost four years after World War II began. His dad being in the military caused his family to move around frequently during KJ’s formative years. Growing up, KJ was active in sports, becoming the captain of his high school swim team and was also active in Scouting, attaining the Heart rank. At 15 years of age he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When he was 17, he enlisted in the Army, and served his country for 3 years, becoming the standard-bearer and clerk of his company and Colonel’s aide. At 19, he served an honorable 2 year proselyting mission for his church in the Central British Mission.
After serving, he worked at a mortuary while attending college at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. It was there where he met his future wife, Ann, who recently emigrated to the United States from her home country of England. Having served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Central British Mission, he immediately recognized Ann’s British accent. He felt that she was a gift from God for him. After only three weeks, they were married in January 1966.
He and Ann moved to Colorado where KJ worked as a jeweler for Zale Corporation. Zale’s sent him to Jewelers School where he was part of Zale’s first graduating class. While residing in Colorado they had 2 children, Annette in 1968 and Trei in 1970. KJ became manager of several different jewelry stores over the next few years while living in Colorado, and then in 1973 they moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where KJ worked as a JC Penny Company associate. In 1974, the Coleman family moved out to Cleveland, Tennessee where they ran an extension of the family business, Mr. Zip Convenience Stores of Tennessee.
During his nearly 50 years in Cleveland, in addition to his working as General Manager and Vice President for Mr. Zip convenience stores, he served in several positions in his church, such as Youth Sunday School Teacher and Seminary Teacher. He also helped choose the land for the current Cleveland church building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He brought people together, such as organizing neighborhood barbeques and Trick or Treating events and was the first PTO President for E.L. Ross Elementary School. He was actively involved in the Cleveland Creative Arts Guild and was the foremost amateur archaeological anthropologist for the Southeast Tennessee area. He loved being involved in his neighborhood and community. He was selected several times for “Who’s Who” recognition, voted Cleveland Family of the Year, was active in the Scouting program as Scoutmaster of Troop 279 and District Commissioner for the Ocoee District and was a regular attendee of water aerobics at the YMCA. One of his most favorite things was being a grandpa and he frequently talked about, and generously doted on, all his 9 grandchildren and his first great-grandchild.
In his later years, he loved sharing his knowledge of the indigenous peoples that lived in the area over the last several thousand years, including the Vikings and their influence on this area. His wife Ann predeceased him by 2 days short of a year after 56 years of marriage. Those that survive him are a daughter, Annette Coleman Evans, spouse, Rob, 6 grandchildren and 1 great- grandson, from Provo, Utah and a son, Trei Coleman, spouse, Laura, and 3 grandchildren from Cleveland, Tennessee. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather (known as “Grandpa Coleman” and “Papa” by his grandchildren), family member, and friend and will be truly missed by all.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, April 15, 10:00-11:30am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 4200 Pryor Rd. NE, Cleveland, TN. A broadcast of the service will be held on YouTube