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1924 Muriel 2023

Muriel T. Coleman

September 25, 1924 — April 7, 2023

Muriel Tilley Coleman departed this life peacefully in Los Angeles, California, at the home of her daughter Phyllis Coleman Forneret, who lovingly cared for her for the past fourteen years. She is preceded in death by her husband, Monroe Coleman, parents Pauline and Fred Tilley, Sr. and brothers, Rudolph and Fred Tilly, Jr.


Muriel Tilley Coleman was born on September 25, 1924, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The middle child and only daughter born to Pauline and Fred Tilley, Sr., Muriel lived a childhood of love and mischief with her two brothers. Muriel’s father was in the military and returned home to Fayetteville to open an auto repair garage on an empty lot, a half block from her home on the main highway to Fort Bragg Military Base. Her mother was a seamstress and a great cook. According to her brother Rudolph’s journal, during the late 1930s their father builds a “snack shop” for their mother to run. This “drive to” drive through was actually the body of an old bus stacked high off the ground on a foundation of cinder blocks on the empty lot next to the garage. Muriel was her mother’s helper in selling a myriad of 1930s and 40s “fast foods” –grilled hotdogs, hamburgers, North Carolina bar-b-que, cold drinks, ice cream, cigarettes (this was North Carolina after all), and her mother’s delicious homemade baked goods, especially her famous pound cake. From the time Muriel’s feet could reach the pedals of the cars at her father’s auto repair shop, her second “job” was to drive these cars in and out of the garage…..some Model T’s and all stick shifts. This was the genesis of Muriel’s love of driving!


Inheriting her mother’s love of cooking and her father’s love of driving, Muriel’s love of travel also began in her youth with family car trips to a friend’s Sough Carolina “beach cottage,” which was an early version of a bed and breakfast in the sough where segregation prevented stays at conventional beachside hotels. Much later in life, her husband Monroe’s Army service allowed Muriel and their then two children to experience a trans-Atlantic Ocean liner voyage to Europe and to live in Germany where Monroe was stationed for several years in the 1950s.


Returning to Monroe’s hometown of Omaha, the family settled into a house on North 24th Street across from the original site of Lothrop Elementary School. Little did Muriel know that she would have a lifetime connection with Lothrop. From years of active parent status to being hired as an Omaha Public School Community Aide at Lothrop from 1965 to 1982, Muriel was known for being a passionate supporter of youth education and for uplifting the underserved in her community. Muriel loved the students, faculty, and the lifelong friends she made there.


Muriel’s childhood love of travel continued in the 1970s with trips to visit her now adult children, family, and friends across America. In a car usually filled with family, many of these trips found Muriel fearlessly behind the wheel to various destinations near and far….. ask someone about the unplanned view from that Wyoming mountain top enroute to Los Angeles. One of Muriel’s most cherished trips was a return to Fayetteville for a final visit to the sites of her old family home, snack shop, and garage-highlighted by a visit to the grave sites of her parents, grandparents, and other relatives-it was a trip to remember.


A warm and welcoming wife, mother, and homemaker, Muriel’s front door was always open. If you were lucky Muriel’s famous pound cake, homemade ice cream, chicken and dumplings, smoked turkey or bar-b-que ribs might be on that day’s menu. Not all was perfect in her kitchen. Ask about Monroe and Muriel’s cucumber pickling catastrophe…..who put that bleach next to the vinegar? In addition to cooking, Muriel loved gardening and crafting with her sister-in-law, Alice Vaughn. Making their seasonal wreaths, Easter baskets filled with live grass, and all manners of unique projects kept them busy, constantly on the go, and the best of company for one another.


Muriel led a life of loving, dedicated service to her family, friends, and community. Easily recognized by her striking gray eyes and slickly pulled back bun, Muriel was as beautiful inside as she was out. She went through life with quiet modesty, but friendly smiles and warm hugs greeted her everywhere she went. Her grandchildren often questioned how and why so many people knew their grandmother. “Why does Nana have to stop and talk to so many people?” they often asked and “Nana and her friends” was a constant refrain whenever a quick trip to the grocery store became an hour-long visit with half the people in the grocery aisles.


Muriel’s almost ninety-nine years of life revolved around her family (immediate and extended), the Salem Baptist Church community, her Evans Street neighbors, Lothrop and Horace Mann Schools, all the friends she met along the way and her kitchen….where the magic happened and the memories were made. Those delicious recipes passed down from her mother, that love of driving from her father, her adventurous spirit originating from those childhood family trips, the welcoming hospitality (and arthritic hands from years of grabbing her beloved cokes from an ice-filled cooler at the snack shop) made for a remarkable woman.


To paraphrase Maya Angelou”….people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


Going through life wither her arms wide open, Muriel never met a stranger and treasured her family and friends. Muriel was unforgettable. Once you met her, you never forgot her……and she never forgot you!


Left to cherish her memory are her children, Phyllis Forneret, Monroe Coleman, Jr. (Melody), Muriel Richards (Gary); grandchildren Teresa Viera (Raul, Jr.), Erica Forneret (Christopher Hajek), Martine Forneret (Daniel Nee), Gary Richards, Jr. and Sydney Richards; great-grandchildren, Sadie and Holden Viera; great-great-grandchildren, Rhett and Renli Viera; sister-in law, Gladys Ross; cousin, Glennette Tilley Turner; niece, Judy Aa Tilley; goddaughter, Karen Kay Jackson Mahgoub; and a host of nieces, nephews and beloved friends.


We will miss you dearly and you will live in our hearts forever.




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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, April 29, 2023

9:00 - 9:30 am (Central time)

John A. Gentleman Mortuaries - 72nd Street Chapel

1010 North 72nd Street, Omaha, NE 68114

Memorial Contributions may be made in memory of Muriel Coleman to Salem Baptist Church, 3131 Lake St., Omaha, Ne. 68111.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Starts at 9:30 am (Central time)

John A. Gentleman Mortuaries - 72nd Street Chapel

1010 North 72nd Street, Omaha, NE 68114

Memorial Contributions may be made in memory of Muriel Coleman to Salem Baptist Church, 3131 Lake St., Omaha, Ne. 68111.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Graceland Park Cemetery

, Omaha, NE 68107

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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