Obituary of Seaton (Red) Thurman Coleman
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Seaton (Red) Coleman on November 29 at the Bethesda Hospital in Steinbach. Red lived a good full life, having celebrated his 94th birthday this past August and his 65th wedding anniversary with his beautiful wife Norma this past October. Red was a loving, loyal husband and a devoted father to his five children and their spouses, Arlene (Robert) Gary (Anna) Janet (Allan) Earl (Lori), and Mary (Shane). He found tremendous joy in being a Grandfather to his 11 grandchildren and their partners, Christopher (Jasmine), Mark (Samantha), Karl (Kaely), Justin (Bobbie), Kara (Brock), Zane and Zoe, Melissa and Mackenzie, Nicolaas and Alexandra and he was especially thrilled to see his love live on in the growing world of his 11 great-grandchildren.
Red is survived by his loving 99 year old sister, Barbara Porteous from Stonewall, Manitoba.
In 1948, Red and his family moved from the Woodlands area to Steinbach. He and his father, George, purchased Southeast Transfer that later went on to become Big Freight Systems. Dad loved all aspects of the trucking business, from driving to repair. In 1960, he joined forces with Penner International to create Bulk Milk Haulers and managed that business until its sale in 2006.
1948 was a big year for Red! Not only did he switch careers from farmer to trucker, but he also met the love of his life. Red met Norma at a dance party in Steinbach. He was a gregarious 21 year old, new to town and she was a beautiful 15 year old from the neighbouring hamlet of Friedensfeld. He would later recount that for him, it was almost love at first sight, as he loved the happy go-lucky look of her face and the ease with which she talked to everybody. He finally got up the nerve and asked her to dance and they only stopped dancing last week! Red and Norma shared a beautiful and dance-filled six year courtship with a few little “breaks” and finally wed six years after their first dance. Their love seemed to only grow stronger throughout much of their 65 years of marriage as they created many beautiful moments and memories together, always cherishing one another and growing their family with faith.
In the early years of their marriage, Mom and Dad enjoyed watching all kinds of sports together, but watching the kids play their sports, particularly watching Earl, Gary, and the Krentz boys play hockey was amongst their favourite past times.They also continued to dance and spent many years enjoying square dancing and the more traditional waltzes and polkas at the Friedensfeld Community Centre. Mom and Dad also took their passion for movement onto the curling rink and in this arena, we were witness to their fiercely competitive natures when the two of them curled together. Never one to forego a physical or mental challenge and learn something new, Dad decided to try his hand at downhill skiing at the age of 40, taking the whole family on a downhill ski adventure at Falcon Lake. His enthusiasm for the sport and watching his children learn and succeed at it led him to return to Falcon Lake each winter for several years following this first run. At age 65 when he had a bit more freedom and was hankering for a new sporting activity, Dad enthusiastically took up golf. It became one of his most cherished past times these last 3 decades of his life.
More recently, Mom and Dad found tremendous joy in spending time with their adult children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at every and any opportunity provided. Every year for the last 17 years, the entire extended family has gathered at Robert and Arlene’s cottage in Ptarmagan Bay for the annual Coleman Family Weekend. It has been an extraordinary gift and a blessing to be able to connect with the entire growing family over several days of fishing, eating, storytelling, card games, and a wickedly competitive Bola Ball tournament. Dad was a fierce competitor and a grateful and proud weekend guest at this annual gathering. Another annual ritual for the last 17 years has been the Father-Son Fishing Extravaganza organized by our own fishermen extraordinaire, Robert Dyck and Al Fast. This weekend is a highly cherished tradition with a somewhat motley crew of cross-generational gents attending. Red, having discovered his love of crowded islands and cottages over these summer gatherings decided to add a cozy winter ritual to the family love-in catalog. So, in 2009, he invited all five children and their spouses on a week-long family vacation down south. All of us in one large home with an activity roster that would make Julie and the Loveboat captain envious! We enjoyed golf games, gentle hiking, family yoga, big family meals and many spontaneous moments of pure unadulterated fun. This early Christmas getaway became an annual tradition for the next 4-5 years until Dad no longer felt comfortable travelling so far from home. These were special times with Mom and Dad as they had not travelled much while growing their young family and working so hard in the family business. They truly enjoyed seeing a bit more of the world with their adult kids leading the way.
Norma and Red also continued to enjoy watching hockey throughout the later decades as their grandchildren and great-grandchildren took up the sport in turn. Mom and Dad also enjoyed several decades of the “fine cultural arts programming”, watching the grandchildren and great grandchildren perform in many talented dance recitals, choir performances, holiday and church concerts over the years.
Dad had a special bond with his grandson Zane, who lived with Mary, Mom and Dad for the first three years of his life. He was working much less at this point, and had the time and energy to play with Zane and to take him to preschool, to swimming lessons and to just get down on the floor and play with trucks. Dad always said that Zane felt more like another son than a grandson and he expressed such joy at being given the opportunity to explore “fatherhood” with more wisdom and more time than he had in the first round with his own children. In his special time with Zane, Dad discovered a finer appreciation for what Norma had provided for their own young family while he was busy at work. He always spoke fondly of those years with Zane…an opportunity to experience the magic of the early years with new eyes and more patience.
Dad also continued to enjoy the quiet company of the many friends he had made throughout the years. He was always ready for a cup of coffee and a good story or two. The last several years, he would often walk across the parking lot to the Bridge Park Village to meet up with some old friends or head down to the lounge at the Bridge Park Manor to meet up for a good chat with the boys “in the neighbourhood”. As well, Dad never lost his enthusiasm or his skill for dancing up a storm. As long as there was music to be played, Red was ready to go. He would give Mom the look, and no matter where they found themselves, their kitchen, your dining room, the deck at the cottage, they would start waltzing or doing the polka and suddenly, we were all caught in the middle of a spontaneous two-person dance party!
Red was a man of tremendous faith and he instilled this strong faith in his family. He was a man who practiced what he preached; taking his faith outside of Sunday sermons and into the world he created for himself. His friends and family were of utmost importance to him and he remained endlessly loyal to all those he loved and to all those he worked with. Red was known for his unwavering honesty and impeccable integrity, having closed a number of relatively complex business deals with a mere handshake. His word was better than any legal document. He lived his life with a generosity of spirit, always looking to see the good in people and offering a hand up whenever and wherever he could. He loved to be of service to others and did not seek anything in return. Red was not a man of many words, but when he shared a story it was always about what life had taught him. He loved to listen to what anybody had to offer in the way of their own life’s wisdom and would actively engage in the exchange of ideas. These exchanges lived on with Red until the very last week of his life with his memory and attention to detail never failing to astound those he engaged in quiet conversation.
Red was an extremely hard worker, remaining heavily committed to the family business well into his late seventies. It was Norma who finally parked the truck for him when she surreptitiously called dispatch and insisted that they stop booking him out any more loads. With driving now behind him, you could often find him in the shop talking to technicians and observing the repair routines of the day. His coworkers and industry colleagues have described Red as a man full of integrity, purpose, vision and love. He had a reputation for making people feel safe, appreciated and greatly valued. They appreciated and adored Red for all that he offered in the work place and to the trucking industry in general…. inspiration delivered with a good dose of kindness and humility. His coworkers and colleagues in the industry have recognized Red as a truly kind and generous soul who quietly influenced countless lives over the many decades of his career. The Manitoba Trucking Association recognized Red with their highest honor; the MTA Service to Industry Award in 1987. In 2017, the award was renamed the MTA Red Coleman Service to Industry Award. It will continue to be awarded as an annual recognition to a recipient who has shown great leadership, service and integrity while engaged in the Manitoba trucking industry.
Red was also a truth teller, never hesitating to let you know if the dish tasted better without the Feta you added (leave the Feta for the Greeks!) or if your hairstyle was not particularly well suited to you. He was never malicious in his honest assessments, just bluntly truthful at times. When asked about his life and what he may do differently with the benefit of hindsight and wisdom, Red would tell you he had two regrets. The first regret was that he had worked too hard and too many hours when his family was young. He would share this regret as a wise lesson to the generations that followed…family first would be his advice. His second regret was his decision to postpone travelling and seeing the world until his retirement. Travel the world, see what you want to see, experience life while you are still young and able-bodied was his sage advice.
The Coleman family extends their warmest and most sincere thanks to those who provided outstanding and compassionate professional care throughout Seaton’s brief illness at Bethesda Regional Health Centre. A special heartfelt thanks to Dr. Steven Gray for his exquisite care and medical leadership during Dad’s hospitalization and to the nurses and Emergency Room Staff at the Bethesda Regional Health centre for their kind, compassionate and professional care in these unusually difficult Covid circumstances. We also extend our warmest thanks to the team at Silver Linings Care who have helped care for Dad on a daily basis over the last 12 months and to Dr. Gordon Dyck and Pastor Terry Gudmundson and Pastor Al Maier for their lifelong commitment to providing Dad with professional care delivered with heartfelt compassion.
2 Timothy 4.7-8
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
A small private family funeral and burial will be held and no livestream will be available.
Once we can gather safely as a community, we will come together for a larger service to celebrate Red’s beautiful and full life. We will post a follow up message to announce details at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations on Red’s behalf be made to donations to Prostate Research at CancerCare Manitoba or to Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
Nos plus sincères sympathies à la famille et aux amis de Seaton
Coleman 1926 2020..
Décès pour la Ville: Steinbach, Province: Manitoba