Joseph Coleman Obituary

Joseph M. Coleman
Joseph M. Coleman

August 23, 1929 - October 30, 2017
Born in Providence, R.I.
Resided in Niantic,, CT


Joseph M. Coleman

Niantic - Joseph Mowry Coleman of 11 South Cobblers Court, Niantic, Connecticut, died peacefully in his home on October 30, 2017 at the age of 88, one day before his 64th wedding anniversary. Joseph is survived by his loving wife, Gloria (LeVasseur) whom he married in Portland, Maine on October 31, 1953. Together they had resided in Washington, D.C., Portland and Brunswick, Maine, and Coventry, Rhode Island before finally settling in Niantic in 1965 where they raised four children.

Joseph was born on August 23, 1929 in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of the late Joseph
Michael and Nellie Mowry Coleman of Esmond, Rhode Island. He attended high school at La
Salle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island where he received an academic scholarship to the
University of Notre Dame from which he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical
Engineering in 1951. He was a Naval Marine Engineer as a civilian at the Bureau of Ships,
Washington D.C. During this time, he met his wife. He attended Officers Candidate School in
Newport, Rhode Island, and as a Naval Officer, served as a Ship Superintendent at Boston Naval Shipyard and an Inspection Officer at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, and Shelburne, Vermont. He held a USNR commission of Lieutenant on retirement in 1958 from active duty.

During his civilian career, after retiring from the Navy, he was employed by the Shipbuilding
Division of Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, Massachusetts, and Supervisor of
Shipbuilding in Groton, Connecticut, and Electric Boat Division in Groton before retiring in 1991. In a career that spanned forty years, Joseph participated in the design, construction, and testing of numerous US Naval Vessels including nuclear powered aircraft carriers, guided missile frigates and destroyers, minesweepers, landing ships and craft, aircraft rescue vehicles, and nuclear-powered submarines of all classes - from the USS George Washington (SSBN 598) class through Trident (SSBN 726), and Los Angeles (SSN 688) classes. In 1986, his unit at the Supervisor’s Office in Groton was awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a Bronze Star for the early delivery of the Los Angeles class and two Trident class submarines.

Joseph was a member of Mensa. In addition to serving his country throughout his long career, he also put his mind to work serving his community. He was a past President of the Groton Chapter of the National Association of Technical Supervisors, and member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Federation of Government Employees. He was also a member of the Millstone I Decommissioning Advisory Committee, an advisory committee to the state’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Council. He was a Charter Member of the World War II Monument Commission, the Sailor’s Monument Committee, and a member of the Friends of Fort Trumbull in New London.

Joseph assisted with the Meals on Wheels Program for TVCCA at the Niantic Senior Center. In 1995, he was cited by the Red Cross for blood donations. He was also a little league and Babe Ruth Coach in East Lyme.

Joseph was a communicant of St Agnes Parish in Niantic, a CCD instructor for its Religious
Education Program, and choir member for many years. He was a member of the Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society as well as past President and longtime Newsletter Editor for the Ancient Order of Hibernians in New London. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the University of Notre Dame Alumni Club, and the Notre Dame Club of Southeastern Connecticut.

He was a member of the Mowry Family Association of North Smithfield, Rhode Island and could trace his ancestry back on his mother’s side to Roger Mowry, who came from England to Boston in 1631 with Roger Williams, and later to Providence in search of religious freedom.

In addition to genealogy, other personal interests included Irish history, culture and traditions, music, photography, fishing, and horse racing. He was a past President of the New London Chess Club, and was an avid reader. He also enjoyed playing bridge with Gloria, appreciating the friendships forged through their bridge group, and the many organizations and clubs to which he belonged through the years.

He was a lifetime fan of the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, never missing a game. He enjoyed travel, and in 1991 he and his wife fulfilled a lifetime goal by driving around the United States for a distance of over 11,000 miles, visiting numerous cities and National Parks.

Joseph was a devoted and loving husband, father, and grandfather, cheering everyone with his wry sense of humor, and challenging all with his love for a good debate. He was the “go to” person for any problem, big or small, and he always had the answer. He will be lovingly remembered by all who knew and loved him.

He was predeceased by two sisters, Margaret Kadian and Gladys Conaty of Smithfield, Rhode Island, and their husbands Vincent Kadian and Edward Conaty. He was also predeceased by nephew Edward Kadian. Besides his loving wife Gloria, he is survived by daughter Mary and son-in law Ludwig Ostfeld of East Lyme, Connecticut; son Joseph and daughter-in-law Dawn Coleman of Iselin, New Jersey; daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Matthew McKeon of
Okemos, Michigan; son Daniel Coleman of Hamilton, Massachusetts; and grandchildren
Rosemary and Eric Ostfeld; Joseph Coleman; Shannon, Kelly, Paige, and Matthew McKeon; and Brendan and Neil Coleman. He is also survived by his sister, Joan Coleman, and brother-in-law Wes Robinson of Burlington, Connecticut, and many nieces and nephews.

Joseph’s family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the home health care providers from Angel Care who have attended to and cared for him. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Center for Hospice Care Southeast Connecticut, or to the charity of your choice.

Calling hours will be from 5-7 PM on Friday at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons East Lyme Funeral Home, 48 Grand St., Niantic. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 AM on Saturday in St. Agnes Church, with interment in the Hibernian Section of St. Mary Cemetery following the Mass. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the Center for Hospice Care or to the charity of the donor's choice. Condolences may be shared on Joseph’s memorial page at




Calling Hours
Thomas L. Neilan & Sons East Lyme Funeral Home
48 Grand Street
Niantic, CT US 06357
Friday, November 3, 2017
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Mass of Christian Burial
St. Agnes Church
22 Haigh Avenue
Niantic, CT US 06357
Saturday, November 4, 2017
10:00 AM
St. Mary Cemetery
600 Jefferson Avenue
New London, CT US 06320
Saturday, November 4, 2017

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