JEFFERSON — "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."
On Sunday morning, March 17th, God called home his loving and obedient servant, Rev. Meredith Dee Coleman of the Jefferson United Methodist Church after a short, but courageous battle against cancer. Always sensitive to fellow believers, "Pastor Meredith" finished her race on the birthday of her earthly father, the Rev. Parker West.
She leaves behind the love of her life, Neil Coleman, whom she married on Feb. 5, 1972; precious children, April (Joel) Bowers of Avon Lake, Jamie Coleman of Jefferson, Andrew Coleman of Elyria and Nathan Coleman of Jefferson. Pastor Meredith was also the doting grandmother to Adrienne Bowers and Blake Coleman.
Born on July 11, 1951, to Rev. Parker and Madelaine (Izbister) West, Meredith was a loving sister to Paige (Ray) Nichols of Piqua, Joy (Mike) Wood of Copley, Heather (James) Franklin of Urbanna and Heidi (Jack) Reser or Bellfountaine.
Known affectionately as the "Energizer Bunny," Pastor Meredith lived an extraordinary life. She graduated from Kent State with a degree in Speech Therapy and worked in that field before moving to Florida where she managed a convenient store while raising her family.
In time, however, God called her from filling the shelves of 7/11 to filling the pews of His church. Pastor Meredith subsequently earned her Master of Divinity and served United Methodist churches in Bucyrus (Harmony and Scioto), Avon Lake (Lakeshore), and since 1997, Jefferson.
Loving, kind, caring, unselfish, joyful, and generous are but a few adjectives used to describe our beloved Meredith. She was an enthusiastic "hugger" of all, accepted all, and loved all.
She could be found jogging on the streets of Jefferson in the wee hours of the morning as she prepared for her day. And how her days were full....
Meredith was president and treasurer of the Jefferson Ministerial Association; a pillar of Habitat for Humanity for Ashtabula County; and an active member of the Spiderweb Board and the Jefferson Memorial Foundation. She also helped to found H2O--an ecumenical home repair ministry--which morphed out of her many mission trips to South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Pastor Meredith engaged in missionary work abroad having twice ventured to South Africa to assist families impacted by AIDS, to El Salvador to build houses, and most recently to Uganda to minister to orphans and child soldiers. She traveled to the Holy Land, attended the Oberammergau in Germany, and ventured to the Caribbean under the auspices of the Rotary. In fact, Meredith was a member and former president of the Avon Lake and Jefferson Rotary. For her unselfish work and boundless determination, Pastor Meredith was honored as Jefferson's Citizen of the Year in 2009.
Our Meredith baptized babies and adults, counseled all who sought her wisdom and love, married couples of all ages, ministered to the dying and comforted the grieving--she took her calling seriously, served her God, and all who knew her with joy and energy. She was a graduate of the Pastors of Excellence program through the Sandberg Leadership Center. But most importantly, she was a child of God.
She is survived by her husband, children, and grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents.
Calling Hours will be observed from 4 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 20th, at the Jefferson United Methodist Church, 125 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson, Ohio.
Services, or more appropriately, a Celebration of her eternal life will be held on Thursday, at the Church, at 10 a.m., with the Rev. David Scavuzzo, Western Reserve District Superintendent, assisted by the Rev. Fred Grimm, of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, officiating. Burial will be in Oakdale Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Jefferson United Methodist Church or to American Cancer Society Relay for Life, P.O. Box 442, Jefferson, Ohio 44047.
The Jefferson Home of FLEMING & BILLMAN FUNERAL DIRECTORS, 49 W. Jefferson St., Jefferson is in charge of arrangements. Guest book and obituary at fleming-billman.com and starbeacon.com.