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A life-long educator transitioned to the celestial city on May 1, 2023. Born June 16, 1942, in Portsmouth, Virginia, Dr. Lauretta Atkinson Coleman was a most beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, and the daughter of the late Mrs. Elmer White Atkinson and Mr. Levi Atkinson, Jr. Her paternal grandparents were Mr. Levi Atkinson, Sr., and Mrs. Mary Atkinson. Her maternal grandparents were Mr. Hamuel White, Sr. and Mrs. Allien White, Sr.
Saturday, May 22, 1965, was the day when she and the love of her life the handsome, James Edward Coleman, Sr. experienced moments of nuptial bliss as the Reverend James E. Wynn in Portsmouth, Virginia led them through their wedding ceremony. On Saturday, May 30, 2015, the Colemans paused to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary reaching the joyous milestone of 50 years of marriage. Of note, is the fact that just one day after their 56th wedding anniversary, at age 81, James slipped away on May 23, 2021, from this side of the river, earth side, on Pentecost Sunday, to the other side, into the eternal hands of God. Now James and Lauretta have reunited in the presence of our Lord. Through the union of James and Lauretta Coleman came one son, Dr. James Edward Coleman, Jr. Mother Coleman absolutely adored her son and family!
As an extremely creative educator and vocalist, Lauretta distinguished herself as a well-rounded student. She was educated in the Portsmouth City School System and graduated from I.C. Norcom High School in 1960. Her college career began at Kittrell Junior College in North Carolina where she graduated in 1962. While at Kittrell she sang in the ‘Concert Choir’ and had the honor of being voted as “Miss Kittrell”. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. While at Virginia Union she met her sweetheart, James and the rest is history. Dr. Lauretta Coleman, a great storyteller, could vividly recount how she met her husband James, and countless other stories regarding those she knew.
Later on, Lauretta earned her master’s degree from Virginia State University and her earned doctorate from Virginia University of Lynchburg in 2012. Her dissertation was entitled Strategies for Increasing Knowledge Relevant to Distributing A Christian Magazine Internationally. Dr. Lauretta Coleman wanted to have a medium where she could convey her life lessons and the brilliance of other family members and friends to the world. Therefore, her vision became a reality as she established Family Outlook Publishing, LLC and became the CEO of G&G Magazine: Generations & Greatness. Lauretta was a collaborator and engaged the talent of people like Mr. Larry Jones, other family, and friends to forge this printed work forward. Her husband served as the Chief Financial Officer and son as the Editor-In-Chief Special thanks are extended from her heart even on today to all who subscribed and supported this herculean effort.
She was initiated into the Pi Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in Chesterfield, Virginia.
LABOR OF LOVE
Her spiritual life commenced at churches like First Baptist Church, South Portsmouth, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Portsmouth, and St. Paul AME Church in Portsmouth. St Paul was located right across the street from her childhood home. Deacon David Muckle at St. Paul recommended Lauretta for a scholarship to attend Kittrell College. During those years she surrender her soul to God and accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and Lord. Upon moving to the Richmond area, Lauretta joined St. Peter Baptist Church in Glen Allen, Virginia. She became a member of First Baptist Church Centralia for a few years and returned to St. Peter. At an earlier point, she was actively involved as a devoted member of the St. Peter Senior Choir and rendered a solo “Bless This House” at the Centennial Banquet of the church at the John Marshall Hotel. She loved St. Peter Baptist Church and the Waltons.
Her storied teaching career included employment with New Kent County Public Schools (September 1973- August 31, 1991) and Richmond Public Schools (September 1991 – December 2003) totaling thirty years of teaching. During her teaching career, Dr. Lauretta Coleman was amazing at developing and executing school plays and preparing her students for oratorical presentations. Truly, her son, James was the first recipient of her incredible training and talent.
After retirement, Lauretta invested in her public speaking career. She traveled to Florida at the request of Les Brown and completed his public speaking academy. Several audiences were amazed at her colorful presentations of hope and faith in God. In addition, Dr. Lauretta Atkinson Coleman received numerous awards during her service to schools and community.
Lauretta was one of the founding members of the ATCORO Family Social Club. The families included Rex and Frances Atkinson, Willie and Juanita Robinson, William and Shirley Bey, Roy and Evelyn Carter, and William and Eleanor Shepherd. The group participated in many family events together and attended the annual CIAA Basketball Tournament. “La” was always one of those who added life to every occasion.
Due to her battle with Alzheimer’s and dementia, at the admonition of her son, Lauretta and her husband James moved to Lynchburg, Virginia in late 2019. This afforded her the opportunity to be close to her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. They became residents at the Runk and Pratt/Liberty Ridge Assisted Senior Living Community. Special thanks are extended to Alicia Blakenship, Patrick, Daaimah Bradley, Courtney Calland, Olivia Hamlett, Wanda Smith, and countless others at Runk and Pratt. Ms. Bradley who referred to Lauretta as grandma; characterized Lauretta with two words---Courageous and Inspirational. Additionally, Lauretta often blessed Providence Transformation Church International in Lynchburg with her melodious voice and infectious smile.
This God-fearing woman daily encouraged her family and friends to not deal with doubt, fear, and unbelief. She would often say to her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren--- accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t deal with Mr. In-between. Lauretta instilled in everyone she met stories of faith, a sense of endurance, elegance, and excellence! She loved music, dancing, flowers, family, friends, and watching religious broadcasting particularly Trinity Broadcasting Network.
The memory of Lauretta Atkinson Coleman will eternally be cherished by her beloved son, The Reverend Dr. James E. Coleman, Jr. (The Reverend Dr. Patricia) of Lynchburg, VA; four grandchildren, Reverend Jacqueline Coleman, Reverend James Eric Coleman (Briana), Joy Coleman, and Majesty Coleman, one great grandchild, Aria Grace Shiver, her surviving siblings, Yvonne Casson (Paul) of Bear, Delaware, Rex Atkinson, Sr. (Frances) of Glen Allen, Virginia, Myra Atkinson of Kalamazoo. Michigan, a devoted brother and sister-in law, Maurice Coleman, Marie Lassiter (Gary), numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of other family members, and friends. Blessings also to Otto Williams (Elsie) for your ongoing love.
Trust in The Lord with All Thine Heart...! Proverbs 3:5
The Word Will Not Return Void...! Isaiah 55:11