Cover photo for James "Jim" Coleman's Obituary
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James "Jim" Coleman

October 9, 1948 — June 27, 2021

James "Jim" Coleman

James "Jim" Robert Coleman, Sr. passed away peacefully surrounded by his family, on June 27th, 2021, following an extended illness. He was born in Burton, OH on October 9th, 1948 to Eunice Elise (Swartz) and Eugene Coleman. He attended Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy MA, where he received a BS in Chemistry. He worked as a phlebotomist for 13 years at Quincy Medical Hospital, and taught himself to build computers as a hobby. He spent 23 years working for MetLife Insurance Company (formerly known as The New England Financial) as a Senior Enterprise Architect.

Jim enjoyed traveling and spent many happy years exploring Russia, China, Europe, Canada and the United States. He was a voracious reader, and he loved to cook for his family. However, nothing gave him more joy than being surrounded by his loved ones. He enjoyed every moment with his family, whether it was playing Skip-Bo, watching Back to the Future, reading out loud to the grandchildren or going to Hampton Beach and riding the waves. In his last few years, Jim made time for regular walks with his family, his friends, or by himself in quiet contemplation. He never saw himself as having a terminal illness, instead choosing to focus on all of the things he could still do and enjoy. His quiet but ever-positive demeanor will be missed.

He is survived by his loving wife, Denise (Phaneuf) Morgan-Coleman, his children Natalie (Coleman) Buelvas, James R. Coleman, Jr., his step-sons Jonathan Morgan (wife Katie Quigley Morgan), Marc Morgan (wife Jacqui Cooper Morgan), his grandchildren Violet Buelvas, Thomas Morgan, William Morgan, Gabriel Morgan, Gryffin Morgan and his niece, Alysha (Phaneuf) Larocque, who was like a daughter to him. He is also survived by his brother, Eugene Coleman and his wife Joyce who reside in Pennsylvania. Jim has several nieces and nephews as well as several great nieces and nephews and five great-grandnieces. He is predeceased by his parents, Eunice (Swartz) and Eugene Coleman, his sister Mary (Coleman) McLaughlin, his nephew Mark McLaughlin and his brother John Coleman.

The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Amedisys, for providing compassionate in-home end of life care. After more than a year of service these caregivers became part of our family. Bobbi his main nurse, Dean his minister, and John Wentworth who volunteered to walk with him for over a year. They each provided stability, love, kindness, gentleness, and sincere friendship as Jim declined.

Dr. Viehoff, from Generations, was a gentle and compassionate guide through the last four years of Jim's illness. Dr. LaFleur, also from Generations, counseled Jim through his struggles and achievements. Our family is grateful to Generations for all their love, support, and wonderful care.

When Jim was first diagnosed with BV-FTD (Behavioral Variant- Frontotemporal Degeneration) he spent a year in the Easter Seals Senior Services day program. This program nurtured Jim's heart and soul. He was often able to read out loud for 20 minutes after lunch and the clients were so joyful that they applauded. On occasion, they would give him a standing ovation. This Easter Seals program also had a weekly singing group where Jim was able to joyfully sing so many songs he loved. If anyone is inspired to donate to this program in Jim's name, that would be wonderful.

We would also like to thank Dr. Brad Dickerson, Director, MGH Frontotemporal Disorders (FTD) Unit, Katie Brandt, Director of Caregiver Support Services and Public Relations, and the entire team at Massachusetts General Hospital for their kindness, care, love and support through these past years. With their assistance through educational seminars, the caregivers are taught about this rare brain disease. Their programs support caregivers and facilitate unique ways to address the individual needs of our loved one. Our family was better able to enjoy our last three years with Jim because of these educational programs. We learned that the sometimes difficult behaviors were symptoms of the disease, a consequence of the degeneration of the brain. These yearly programs facilitated our understanding of Jim's devastating experience and gave us practical tools to assist in his care. We were often reminded that our loved one still loved us even when they were not able to express that love as they had before the illness.

Today, there is no treatment to slow or stop the progression of FTD. Dr. Dickerson is leading a team of clinicians and researchers in the MGH FTD Unit who are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care while working tirelessly towards a cure for Alzheimer's disease, FTD and related conditions. Although FTD is considered a rare disease, it is the most common form of dementia for people under the age of 65. Jim wanted to help Dr. Dickerson's effort to find a cure, so prior to his passing he made a commitment to donate his brain to research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Jim's irreplaceable gift of brain donation is connected to a global network of clinicians, researchers and neuroscientists and will contribute to future treatments for FTD. It may change the trajectory of the disease for another husband, father, friend or loved one. That is a legacy that will live on. We are proud of Jim and his courageous dedication to making a difference in the lives of others. To learn more about FTD and the MGH FTD Unit, go to FTDBoston.org.

Honoring A Loved One with A Gift for Dementia Research:
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Dr. Brad Dickerson's Dementia Research Program in the Massachusetts General Hospital Frontotemporal Disorders Unit. Your generous gift supports the clinical care and research efforts for individuals living with Alzheimer's Disease, Frontotemporal Disorders and related dementias.

Gifts may be made online: Giving.MassGeneral.org/FTDUnit

Donations Made by Check:
Checks may be made payable to "MGH Dr. Dickerson Lab" Memo: "In Memory of James Coleman"
Mail to:
Alexandra Van Strien
Mass General Development Office
125 Nashua Street, Ste 540
Boston, MA 02114

SERVICES: A celebration of Jim's life will be held on Saturday, July 24th from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM, with a service from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, at Phaneuf Funeral Homes, 243 Hanover St. Manchester, NH.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Jim" Coleman, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 24, 2021

1:00 - 3:00pm

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Memorial Service

Saturday, July 24, 2021

3:00 - 4:00pm

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