Michael Coleman: In Memoriam

The City of Duncan is mourning the recent passing of former Mayor Michael Coleman at his home on June 29th. Mayor Coleman was Duncan’s longest serving mayor with 22 years of service, first elected in 1980 and then re-elected in 1987-2005. Prior to becoming Mayor, he served as an alderman from 1974 to 1979. 

In 2011, the City recognized Mayor Coleman for the Freeman Designation (Freeman Award).  He was also President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in 2005, and in 2002 received a UBCM long service award for 25 years of service in elected office. Mayor Coleman served on the Municipal Finance Authority of BC’s Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2005.

During his tenure on council, he gladly shared the spotlight with his fellow councillors by assigning them to key committees and projects. Mayor Coleman helped steer millions of federal and provincial monies benefiting the City, residents, businesses and surrounding communities with worthy projects including acquiring City Hall, flood control, downtown revitalization, and the Cowichan Sportsplex.

Mayor Coleman was very involved in the community, and was the brainchild of the Cowichan Foundation. He was also either a founding member or active participant in such agencies as Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship), Cowichan United Way, Family Life, Big Brothers, Community Futures, Legal Aid, Cowichan Valley Bar Association, and the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation. 

Mayor Coleman also pioneered partnerships with Sister Cities in Montmagny, Quebec; Kaikohe, New Zealand; and Meru, Kenya; resulting in a successful exchange program.

You knew Mayor Coleman was in the room because you either saw his great big infectious smile or heard his distinctive laugh.

Phil Kent, Mayor (2005-2018) said, “Michael Coleman had a core understanding that community thrived from the ground up, he facilitated this through his leadership by encouraging people that wanted to contribute, by encouraging civic organizations of volunteers and purposes that improved their community. Michael appreciated that political views were not where community was built. His fostering of good governance principles allowed different ideas to coexist for the benefit of citizens.” 

Mayor Michelle Staples (current) said, “I have known Mayor Mike since my early days of arriving in the City just over 28 years ago. He was infamous and our first meeting began with a banter that carried through to the last time we spoke. Banter, humour, and the understanding that disagreement did not lead to disrespect were some of the values that I have always appreciated about Mayor Coleman. But more than that was his deep dedication to family. He and Barb loved and appreciated the people around them, committed their lives to the public eye, and helped create community and embraced all of us into their lives and family. Mayor Mike you will be missed, and you will be remembered for a life well lived and a heart well loved, we are grateful for all you gave to us, and your incredible spirit will carry on.”

On behalf of all the citizens of Duncan, the members of City Council, municipal employees and volunteer firefighters, the City of Duncan would like to express sympathies to Mayor Coleman’s wife, Barb Coleman, his three sons Charlie, Ted, and Jamie, as well as his family and loved ones.

At Mayor Coleman and Barb’s request, in lieu of flowers, a donation to the Cowichan Foundation or charity of donor’s choice would be greatly appreciated.

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