As the news trickles out on Facebook, Bristol residents are beginning to voice their remembrances of Dr. Bob Coleman who died today at the age of 90 after suffering a broken hip from a fall earlier this week. Dr. Coleman is remembered by many as the legendary basketball coach at Virginia High School between the years 1950 and 1962. He was also a Professor of Education at East Tennessee State University for over a decade.
In April of this year, his many friends and students celebrated his 90th birthday with him at Picadilly Cafeteria in the Bristol Mall. Tri-Cities News.com had the story.
This writer, like many others taking part in today’s online discussions, remembers him as an elementary school principal, the first I ever had! As he strolled the halls of Thomas Jefferson Elementary in the 1960’s and later at Van Pelt Elementary, he was a “taller than life” figure, eliciting a combined response of fear and awe as he went by. He could just dart a glance at an errant child even considering mischief, and they immediately straightened up! Yet, he would lean down from what seemed like miles and miles in the sky, and speak to a small child as though they were so very important, listening intently to every word that they replied.
Dr.Bob Coleman always had a smile and a good word to say to anyone he met during the course of his life. After he retired, he would often be seen walking at the Bristol Mall or just relaxing on a bench, greeting those who went by. I know that he always made me feel special and was interested in whatever I was doing at any particular time in my life. He always insisted that he was so proud of me, regardless of whether I felt proud of my own life at the time or not. Somehow, I believed he was! I am sure he made everyone else feel the same way; you only need glance at Facebook this evening to see that.
Goodbye, Doctor Coleman.You will be missed and remembered in Bristol.