Joseph Coleman, 94, of Ashland NH died March 6th. He was the devoted husband of Sandra Coleman and the youngest child of Dr. George V. Coleman and Anna B. Coleman, RN. Born in Providence, Joe attended St. Pius school and Lasalle Academy, Holy Cross and St Mary’s seminary in Baltimore. He is predeceased by his siblings, the late renowned cancer surgeon Dr. George Coleman, Margaret, and Connie Coleman who were elementary school teachers.
Joe was a former Catholic priest, serving 29 years at Our Lady of Mercy, Holy Name, St Augustine's of Newport, St Mark’s of Jamestown and was the Chaplain at RISD. Joe left a group of devotees wherever he served. When Joe served as a priest, he was the recipient of the Carnegie Medal for heroism, risking his life to free two young girls held hostage by a gunman in the City of Providence in March 1966. The Carnegie medal motto is: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). You can read about Joe’s heroism on the Carnegie medal website.
Joe also served as Providence Police Chaplain, who loved riding with the police on Friday nights. He had great respect for the men and woman of the police force. Always emphasizing what a difficult job they had. He served as Chaplain of the Newport Police and was on call for suicide prevention on the Newport Bridge. Joe was afraid of heights but often had to climb high up the bridge cables wearing a harness to talk down potential jumpers.
After leaving the priesthood, Joe spent 15 years as an investigator for the R.I Department of Children, Youth and Family. Although it was a difficult job, Joe continued his mission protecting others. He had a great love for dogs, and they were his faithful companions.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St Mathews Catholic Church on School Street in Plymouth NH at 11am on Friday, April 14, 2023. Calling hours at the Church 10am to 11am. For complete obituary, go to: Dupuisfuneralhome.com.