Obituary: Thomas Coleman, 85, of Ludington.

June 30, 2021

Tom Coleman

Obituary: Thomas Coleman, 85, of Ludington.

Thomas A. Coleman 85, of Ludington, passed away on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, at home. 

Tom was born at home in Ludington on September 13, 1935, the son of Louis Alexander and Grace (Gustafson) Coleman. He grew up in Ludington, played football for the Orioles and graduated from Ludington High School in 1953 as valedictorian. He graduated in 1957 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University, where he also played football for the Huskies and was awarded Academic All-American Honors.  He later earned a master’s of science degree in 1973 from Michigan State University. He was registered as a professional engineer in 1962.

Tom joined the Michigan Department of Transportation after graduation from Michigan Tech. He initially worked as a geotechnical (soils) engineer in the Kalamazoo area during the construction of the Interstate Highway System there and later in the same capacity in Detroit and Pontiac. After transferring to Lansing headquarters, he continued to work soils and construction statewide on highway location, grading, drainage, foundations, pavement design, construction, environmental concerns and maintenance projects ranged in location from New Buffalo to Copper Harbor to the Soo to Monroe. His 40  year career later led him to become a statewide assistant construction engineer, district engineer for the 13 county Cadillac District, which included Mason County, and then back to Lansing as deputy director for operations in charge of all MDOT field activities statewide and a few in Lansing.

He was credited with some national engineering firsts in the use of lightweight materials, drainage systems, concrete and asphalt pavement rehabilitations, and was in charge of many special projects which included MDOT reorganization and the Clare Welcome Center tribute to the men and women who work, and even gave their lives on our highways.

Upon retirement in 1997 after 40 years of service, he returned to Ludington and renovated his great-grandfather’s 1883 family farm in Victory Township and grew good gardens. He has served on and as chair of the City of Ludington planning commission for many years.

Surviving are son, Charles T. Coleman; his daughter, Susan Kiel; niece and nephew, Elizabeth and Ken Chaney; along with other cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his sister, Claire.

Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m., Friday, July 2, 2021, at Emanuel Lutheran Church, 501 E. Danaher, Ludington, with Rev. Domingo F. Shriver officiating.  Interment will be in the North Victory Cemetery near the family farm.  Visitation will be held Thursday, July 1, 2021, from 5 to 7 p.m., at Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service, Pere Marquette Chapel, and Friday, July 2, 2021, from 10 a.m. until time of services at Emanuel Lutheran Church.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Missions Funds at Emanuel Lutheran Church, the Mason County Historical Society or a charity of one’s choice.

Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service is in charge of arrangements.

www.beaconfh.com

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