Gary B. Coleman

March 21, 1945 - January 30, 2024
Gary B. Coleman

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Gary B. Coleman, 78, of Wilmington, North Carolina, passed away in his home on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

Gary was born on March 21, 1945, to Carl and Jeanette Coleman in Seattle, Washington. After Gary graduated from Garfield High School in 1963, he attended Washington State University, then later transferred to Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

After graduating with a degree in Finance and a Master’s in Business and Economics, he flourished in his field of study through many academic positions.  

Gary married his high-school sweetheart, Deverne Adams, in 1968 and went on to have two children, Rafford (Ray) and Ryan Coleman. 

Gary was an Economics Professor at Dundalk Community College for over 30 years. In 2001, Gary retired from the Community Colleges of Baltimore County (CCBC) (Dundalk). His favorite activities were playing basketball and running. He also thoroughly enjoyed running his dogs, and riding his bikes. Gary served his community in many capacities, including being a PTA President and a Liberty Road Recreational basketball coach. He was a political activist who served on many committees to help and mentor young Black youth.  In fact he started Camp Horizon to inspire young black boys in Baltimore. Gary even started a scholarship program for African-American students in Baltimore City and Baltimore County attending CCBC and Morgan State University.

Gary loved his two sons very much. He was proud of their accomplishments, but more importantly, he was proud of their roles as fathers. Just as much as Gary loved his sons, he adored his grandchildren immensely. He was a consistent and strong influence in their lives. Gary, a financial expert, insisted on teaching his grandchildren about financial management and security so that they would be successful in their lives. Not only did Gary have an infinite love for his dogs, but he was nicknamed among the family as the dog whisperer because of his remarkable ability to train and care for dogs. Gary also loved watching the Baltimore Ravens win or lose, and he loved cheering on the University of Maryland basketball team. 

Gary spent the past twenty years of his life with his sweetie, Darlene Parlett in Wilmington NC. They enjoyed traveling, going to presidential libraries, and spending time at the beach.  Living on the water, Gary loved to kayak, lounge in his hot tub, take care of his fish pond, work in the yard, exercise, and relax on the porch with Darlene and their dog, Rogan.  Reading and watching movies were also his hobbies.

He leaves behind his sweetheart, Darlene Parlett, his loving family consisting of his sons, Ray and Ryan Coleman; his grandchildren, Marcus, Ryanne – Margaret, Kellan, and Katie Coleman; two daughters-in-law, Shannon and Theron Coleman, his former wife, Deverne Coleman, and many extended family members and friends.

Gary loved celebrating life; however, there will be no services. The family will be holding a celebration of life in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Baltimore, Maryland at a later date. 

MATTHEW 11:28-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Please share memories and condolences by visiting the “Tribute Wall” below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403   910.791.9099


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  • February 07, 2024
    Darlene Parlett says:
    Thank you for all the beautiful memories, my love. As always, Sweet Dreams.

  • February 07, 2024
    Bronchae says:
    I will never forget how 'Cool' Mr Coleman was every time I saw him during his visits with Ray. He remains in many hearts and thoughts. Fair Winds and Following Seas as we say in the Marine Corps.

  • February 07, 2024
    Bronchae lit a candle:
    Lit since February 7, 2024 at 2:52:03 AM

  • February 07, 2024
    Karen Svezzese says:
    Anybody that ever knew Gary should consider themselves blessed. I am so thankful my sister brought him into our lives. He was truly the real deal with friendship , kindness, compassion and always giving the best advice for any issue you were having. What a life well lived, what a well-loved great man you were, Gary Coleman!! You will be forever missed. I love you and it was an honor to have known you.

  • February 07, 2024
    Joanna Svezzese says:
    Mr. Gary has been in my Aunt Darlene’s life since I can remember. I always admired the love and respect they had for each other. Mr. Gary was always an inquisitive spark of sunshine who lit up my day. I will greatly miss him.