Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Coleman worked as logger around Alaska


Bill Coleman

A celebration of the life of Bill Coleman will be held 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion Hall.

Coleman died Oct. 8 at Juneau’s Bartlett Regional Hospital of liver failure. He was 68.

Coleman was born Oct. 23, 1943 in Weott, Calif. He was the fifth of six children born to William Coleman, a timber faller, and wife Avis McBain.

He attended high school in Sutherlin, Ore. and, at age 17, lied his way into a job at a Ketchikan logging camp, said wife Nancy Coleman. “He kind of followed in the family footsteps.”

His logging jobs included at camps at Icy Bay, Freshwater Bay, Hoonah, Douglas Island and Afognak Island near Kodiak, Nancy said. “He worked all over the state. He loved logging. That was his passion. He was well-known through Southeast and in Washington state.”

Coleman would work on trees on friends’ property, she said. “He’d trade them for beer or for anything they could afford. He never really charged anyone to do it. He just loved cutting trees. It was in his blood.”

Coleman said she was working in the logging camp at Long Island in 1981 when she met her future husband, who was crewing on a tugboat towing log rafts between camps. They married in 1982 and traveled to different camps where she worked as a cook and housekeeper.

They settled in Haines in 1992 so their daughter, Kathryn Coleman, could attend school here.

Bill Coleman retired from logging six years ago but stayed active, she said. He enjoyed sport fishing, deckhanding on gillnet boats, and halibut fishing. He kept himself busy with house projects and watched NASCAR, football and “anything on TV that had anything to do with the outdoors,” she said.

Nephew Luck Dunbar of Haines described Coleman as “a tough and loving dude.” “He was out on Long Island for a long time. We’d be out fishing there, digging up clams and shooting guns. He was a pretty good uncle.”

Besides Nancy Coleman and daughter Kathryn Coleman of Haines, he is survived by four children who live in Minnesota: Sheri Coleman, Kelly Coleman, Ronnie Coleman and David Coleman.

He also is survived by brothers Jim Coleman of Redding, Calif., Bob Coleman of Springfield, Ore. and Don Coleman of Fresno, Calif.

He was preceded in death by his mother and father and by brother Hal Coleman and sister Kathryn Lazarus.

Memorial donations can be made to the Haines Ambulance Crew.


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