Nelson G. Coleman, III was born on September 11, 1943 in Anniston, Alabama to the late Reverend Nelson G. Coleman II and the late Mrs. Vesta Stephens Coleman.
Nelson graduated from Cobb Avenue High School in Anniston and attended Talladega College before serving as an Air Policeman in the US Air Force from 1961 – 1965. Nelson’s years of service were spent in Texas, Kansas, and Japan, and he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan during a portion of the Vietnam War.
Following his tour of duty, Nelson moved to Washington, DC, and began a long career in law enforcement in 1966. He spent five years as a uniformed patrolman and 15 years as a detective in the Criminal Investigations Division for the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. In 1986, he retired and moved back home to Anniston, Alabama, where he began working for the Jacksonville State University Police Department. Nelson began working as a police officer and was quickly promoted into the role of Police Sergeant. He received additional promotions throughout his tenure, moving into the role of Deputy Chief of Police, then becoming the Director of Public Safety. He was the first Black person to fulfill these roles in the University’s history. He retired from the JSU Police Department after 17 years of service.
Nelson was a lifelong member of Grace Lutheran Church, founded by his grandfather, the Reverend P.W. Stephens. Nelson later joined the Greater Thankful Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of the Reverend Dr. P.Q. English. As a devoted member, he spoke to the children’s church monthly. He also helped set up a computer lab and teach computer basics.
Nelson was a founding member of the Jacksonville Lions Club. In addition, he was a member of the Calhoun Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Some of Nelson’s favorite hobbies were photography and videography, and he enjoyed filming weddings and church events. He also loved listening to music and audiobooks, traveling, enjoying a good meal, and spending time with family and friends.
Nelson passed away peacefully at his home in Jacksonville, AL on Saturday, October 2, 2021, at the age of 78, surrounded by his loved ones.
Nelson is preceded into eternal life by: his parents Nelson and Vesta Coleman; and sisters, Thelma Ozojiofor and Vesta Gregory.
He leaves in this life: his beloved wife of 35 years, Rosie Nell Coleman; daughter, Courtney (Wendell) Barton of Dallas, TX; stepdaughters: Antionette (Larry) Frails of Augusta, Georgia, Jacqueline Watley-Love of Columbus, Georgia, and Surice (Demorrow) Carpenter of Huntsville, Alabama; his siblings: Dr. Bettye (Francis) Walker of Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Patricia Churchill of Wellington, Florida, Presley (Jacquelyn) Coleman of Birmingham, Alabama, and Rev. Elizabeth Coleman of St. Petersburg, Florida; sisters-in-law, Bobbie D. Walton of Pensacola, Florida, Jocelyn Skalberg of Haverhill, Massachuetts, Ellanor Moon, Sherry Johnson, both of Alexander City, Alabama, Kim Moon of Lawrenceville, Georgia and Fannie Whetstone of Alexander City, Alabama; brothers-in-law, Wilbur Gregory of Richmond, Virginia and Dr. Kenneth Ozojiofor of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Juan Moon of Valley, Alabama, Lynn Moon of Chula Vista, California, Keith Moon of New York, New York, Tim Moon of Arlington, Virginia and Curry Moon, Jr. of Alexander City, Alabama; grandchildren, Chelsea Barton, Lauryn Barton, Brandon Frails, Dr. Whitney Green M.D., Jacob Love, Ariel Carpenter, Delorin Carpenter, and Darrien Carpenter; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, great-grandchildren, cousins, and many dear friends.
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