James M. Coleman, Jr, 90, a native of Asbury Park and life long public servant to the people of Monmouth County and New Jersey, passed away on Saturday, April 12, in Rockville Centre, NY.
Born in Long Branch on February 17, 1924, “Chippy” was a student-athlete at Asbury Park High School, Class of 1942, and at Dartmouth College where in played in the NCAA basketball tournament as a freshman in 1943. He interrupted his college career to serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces with the 461st Bombardment Group in Italy.
Chippy returned to Dartmouth in 1945 and played basketball for three more years. He was named All League in 1945-46 and Team Captain from 1945-1948.
Upon graduation he enrolled in Cornell Law School and received his law degree in 1951. He returned to Asbury Park and joined the law firm Patterson, Cooper & Coleman.
Elected to the Asbury Park City Council in 1957, Chippy served in that position until 1965. He served in the Assembly for three terms, serving as Chairman of the Joint Budget and Appropriations Committee. While in the Assembly he worked with his college Thomas Kean, who later became governor, on creating the framework of the New Jersey State Lottery.
Coleman served as Monmouth County Prosecutor from 1972-1977. While prosecutor, President Richard M. Nixon appointed him to a term year term on the Commission on Review of the National Policy on Gambling. From 1977-1980 he served in the office of NJ Legislative Reviser of Statutes.
Governor Brendan Byrne appointed Coleman to the Superior Court bench in 1980. He served as a Judge on Monmouth County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court until his retirement in 1987.
He remained active in public service in following years, serving from 1998 to 2007 on the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards. He was elected to the Shore Athletic Club Hall of Fame and the Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and to the Asbury Park High School Hall of Fame in 2003.
Chippy’s friends remember him for his story telling, his sense of humor, his wise council and for being a down to earth gentleman.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Ruth Anne Coleman van Leer; his first wife and mother of his children, Dolores Kassak Coleman and his second wife, Judith Stanley Coleman.
He is survived by his six children, John (Jayne), Danville, CA, James, Greenville, NC, Mary Berman (Howard), Valley Stream, NY, George (Jennifer), Virginia Beach, VA, Philip, Asbury Park, and Elizabeth (Victor Funtanilla), Santa Fe, NM; and six grandchildren, Chase Coleman, Melissa Berman, Hal Berman, Rachel Coleman, Hunter Coleman and Zack Funtanilla.
Visitations will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 17 and from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 18 at Ely Funeral Home, Neptune. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Monmouth County SPCA, 260 Wall St., P.O. Box 93, Eatontown, NJ 07724.