Wednesday, December 20, 2023
Starts at 4:00 pm (Eastern time)
Richard Lee Coltman (Dick) always joked about his birth. He said he was born nine months and fifteen minutes after his father, Ralph Coltman, Jr., returned from World War II to his beautiful wife, Betty Grubbs Coltman. Dick made his debut on February 13, 1947, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The young family relocated to Oak Ridge, TN and then to Knoxville, TN, during Dick’s third grade year, a change that enabled Dick and his two sisters, Diane Coltman Moore and Susan Coltman Sanderson (David) to set up roots in the Karns Community. Dick formed dozens of close lifelong friendships with his classmates that have remained strong across miles and through decades. These friends would go to the ends of the earth for Dick and he for them. An avid Boy Scout, Dick achieved Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow status. After attending college and graduate school at Clemson University, Dick married Evelyn Rose McNeil in 1970 - a union that remained strong for fifty-three years until his passing on December 16, 2023.
Family and friends were the most important aspect of Dick’s life. Wherever he went, whether on business, at a restaurant, or standing in line at any location - his most pressing desire was to make new friends. Ten years ago, he met each morning at Breaking Bread Café and connected with everyone coming in the door. Out of those gestures, he created the "Breakfast Club," a group of couples who continue to dine together at Jukebox Junction to share a special friendship.
Even though Dick traveled abroad, his daughters, Amber Coltman Morgan (Carroll Morgan) and Dr. Kinneil Coltman (Mark Haddad), knew that their dad was a phone call and a heartbeat away. They were more precious to him than any business meeting or overseas project. He was proud of their every accomplishment. His girls blessed the family with Madison and Trey Morgan, and Sayla Haddad. Grandchildren and their friends knew Dick as Poppy, and they appreciated his love, kindness, and generosity. He was always ready to take everyone to the movies to enjoy buttered popcorn, followed by chocolate mint ice cream. He attended every dance recital, play, cheerleading competition, football, basketball, baseball game for his daughters and grandchildren. He cherished Christmas and received immense enjoyment in entertaining dozens of friends each year at the Coltman Christmas party.
Dick dearly loved his extended family that included nieces and nephews, Brian Moore (Sandra), Davy Moore (Geetika), Katie Leavitt (Lance), Kelly Lauria (Joe), Neena Bloxham (Chris), Chip Sanderson (Sara); great-nieces and nephews, Bailey Moore, Summer Owens (Austin), Aditya and Arianna Moore, Joshua, Julie, and Johnny Levitt, Emily and Ethan Chen, Isabella, Kendall, and Jake Bloxham; and great-great-nephews, Miles and Maddox Owens. Dick loved all animals, and they gravitated to him. He served as President of Haywood County Humane Association (now Haywood Spay/Neuter). His cat Sadie provided comfort and love.
In his early professional career, Dick taught science and math at Farragut High School and was head of the science and math department at Doyle High School in Knoxville. He loved his students and was the most fun teacher in any setting.
Dick transitioned from teaching to becoming President at Southern School Service. His company merged and eventually became General Dynamics. Dick received a Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons Award for his innovative developments for prison security systems. One of his most noteworthy accomplishments was designing MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) training facilities for the military that allowed special forces, the FBI, IRS, and NATO troops to train in simulated military settings. While flying back from an overseas trip, Dick drew the design for a "mobile" MOUT system that developed into a primary training protocol for military forces overseas. He oversaw installation of the largest MOUT system in the world under King Abdullah II of Jordan. He received the Pacesetter Award and the Federal 100 Award. He is listed in several Who’s Who: Cambridge, Empire, and Who’s Who International, which selected him as Executive of the Year for his expertise in Integrated Information Systems Technology. In 2002, the U.S. Government appointed him as a technical expert to NATO. He received seventeen awards from Army Generals for his contributions to military technology.
Even though he conducted business in foreign countries during his career, Dick maintained an interest in his local community in Haywood County. Haywood County Commissioners appointed Dick to the Economic Development Commission. He was President of the Bethel Boosters Club. One of the founding members of Bethel Rural Community Organization, he became president and later, board chair. He maintained a special interest in the food pantry program, traveling weekly for years to transport food from MANNA. He was a member of Bethel Baptist Church.
Family and friends will share in a celebration of life at the sanctuary at Bethel Rural Community Organization’s community center, 664 Sonoma Road, Waynesville on Wednesday, December 20, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. A reception will follow in the dining hall. The family wishes for all those who loved Dick to attend.
The family would like to thank the caregivers, and especially Clydette Burke, for their outstanding care.