Valrey Sue Coleman
Valrey Sue Coleman, 75, of Anna, died at home on Thursday, April 5, 2018, days after being diagnosed with cancer, surrounded by all of her children. Valrey Coleman lived a life of love and laughter.
At the end of a hilly, curvy gravel road outside Anna, Ill., a road where deer are likely to jump in your path, is the redwood house built by the late Bill Coleman and his best friend, Bill Schildknecht. It’s surrounded by hay fields and woods and in front is a pond with a fishing dock.
As beautiful and peaceful as the setting is, what made it home to Bill and Valrey Coleman, their five children and countless foster children were the bountiful dinners, front-porch conversations and ever-present laughter.
After Bill died in an accident in 2004, Valrey made sure that what made this house and its bucolic setting a home remained. Family, both immediate and extended, flocked there, especially for her lavish Thanksgiving dinners and joyful Easter egg hunts.
The former Valrey Lyerla married Bill on April 4, 1970, in Kankakee, Ill., and the couple immediately moved to Anna.
She worked for several years in the speech and hearing department of Anna State Hospital and he completed his degree at Southern Illinois University.
Over the years, the Colemans made children the focal point of their lives. They hosted scores of foster children and adopted five children. For however long the foster children were with the Colemans, the couple gave them a stable and loving home.
But Bill and Val took on other roles as well, serving as mentors to Bill’s seven siblings and nieces and nephews. And Valrey remained in that role for the rest of her life.
“Val’s personality was such that her love for you, her open-mindedness and sense of fairness were never in question,” said Bill’s sister, Laura Coleman Noeth. “Physically, she would wrap you in her arms and emotionally she would wrap you in her love.
“No matter how much love she gave you or others, her well never ran dry. And almost as much as she loved, she laughed. Val was a skilled storyteller and, no matter how many times you heard the stories, you eagerly listened because she was so good.”
A member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Anna, Val had spirituality that ran deep.
“She didn’t speak about it much. She chose to live it instead,” said Noeth. “Anyone who knew her knew that her deep belief in God guided her life, whether it was as she expressed gratitude or sought help. And I know that, in the past few weeks as she battled her disease, she was both grateful for her life, accepting of her fate and that she anticipated what was to come.”
Valrey is survived by her son Josh and daughter-in-law Lindsay Coleman of St. Louis; daughter Bethany Weger and son-in-law Michael Weger of Hennepin, Ill.; daughter Shanda Nagai and son-in-law Yusuke of Lewisburg, Tenn.; and daughters Rosie Coleman and Amanda Houseman, both of Anna.
She is survived by brother-in-law Larry Coleman and sister-in-law Marion Coleman of Kankakee, Ill.; sister-in-law Laura Coleman Noeth of Memphis, Tenn.; brother-in-law Neil Coleman and sister-in-law Laurie Coleman of Buncombe, Ill.; brother-in-law Jim Coleman of Raleigh, N.C.; and brother-in-law Jerry Coleman of New York City.
She is also survived by nine grandchildren, Henry Coleman, Madeline and Jaxon Weger, Hana and Kimi Nagai and Alexis Houseman, Olivia and Madison Marshall, Ashley Coleman, Mariah Okoragi and Brandon Smith. And a grand-dog named Charlie. She is also survived by former daughter-in-law Tonia Okoragi.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her mother, Georgia Lyerla; her father, Paul Lyerla; brothers-in-law John Coleman and George Noeth; and sister-in-law Eileen Coleman.
Funeral Mass was at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 10, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Anna, with Father Federico Higuera officiating. Interment was in the Anna City Cemetery.
Memorials can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Envelopes will be available in the Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home or mail to 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38102 or at stjude.org.
To leave online condolences for the family, visit www.rendlemanhilemanfh.com.
Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna was in charge of arrangements.