Cover photo for Robert David Coleman's Obituary
Robert David Coleman Profile Photo
1965 Robert 2023

Robert David Coleman

March 31, 1965 — December 28, 2023

Robert David Coleman,

Robert was born March 31, 1965 in Madison, Wisconsin, to Samuel Henry Coleman III and Ingrid Rovert Hoover Coleman. He was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, and the hospital advised his parents to prepare for him to not survive infancy. But surgical interventions were successful, and his parents were then advised to prepare for their child to have severe developmental disabilities, and to need to live in an institution. They instead brought him home, where it soon became clear that these predictions were far from correct: they had a very bright, verbal, inquisitive child. His interest in the past showed early, with great childhood phases of passion for Ancient Egypt, Native Americans, and the American Civil War.

Robert attended Fernbank Elementary School, graduated Druid Hills High School in 1984, and received a B.A in Medieval Studies from Emory University in 1987. Robert was awarded a Marshall Scholarship, which brought him to Queens College, Oxford. In 1997, he received a D. Phil for his research on Roman coins. In Oxford, Robert discovered a great love for the traditional folk music of the British Isles, and he became a fixture at Oxford folk sessions, where he played guitar and sang.

After Oxford, Robert taught history at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, and then at Perimeter College in Atlanta. He worked hard to communicate his love of learning to his students, and to help them understand that the study of the past can also reveal to us an understanding of the present and the future.

Robert gradually became more burdened by complications from his chronic conditions, and became unable to work. In his final years, he was confined to bed. He led an active social life online, read voraciously, and continued to enjoy his lifelong love of music, What began with a childhood enthusiasm for The Beatles broadened into what can only be called an encyclopedic knowledge of rock music, and then folk, classical, and blues.

Robert's courage and grace in enduring chronic health difficulties, and his determination to live his best life under any circumstances, are an inspiration to his family and friends.

Those of us who knew and loved Robert will always remember his kindness, and his cheerful and sociable disposition. He made friends easily. We remember his fine intellect and his humorous outlook, and his broad interests and knowledge. We remember his love of books, of coins, of baseball, of The Beatles, of horror movies and opera.

Robert passed away on December 28, 2023, after a brief illness. He is survived by his mother, Ingrid Coleman Chafee, and his brother, Charles Edward Coleman.

Services will be on February 3 2024, 3 pm, at Emory Presbyterian Church, located at 1886 N Decatur Rd, Atlanta, GA 30307

Donations in Robert's memory may be made to Scottish Rite Hospital ( , or to Amnesty International (

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert David Coleman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Family Hosted Memorial Service

Saturday, February 3, 2024

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)


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