Joplin Tornado

Clyde Coleman, 72 | His last act on earth was selfless

Updated: 2011-06-20T19:32:25Z


The Kansas City Star

Clyde Coleman’s last move on earth hardly surprised his family.

As the tornado ripped the roof from the Joplin Elks Lodge, the 72-year-old man lay atop his 68-year-old wife, Carolene Coleman.

The move no doubt helped save her life.

His wife knew that he was crushed and dying. But there was little she could do — except talk. Eventually his voice grew quiet and his wife of 54 years knew he was gone.

“They married as high school sweethearts. She was 15 and dad was 18,” said their daughter, Melanie Tyler. “He fell madly in love with her and he has been ever since.”

The Galena, Kan., couple owned Coleman’s Upholstery and Trim. They spent nearly every moment together.

Clyde Coleman once had served on the Galena City Council and was known for his years of serving as the town’s unofficial Easter Bunny.

On May 22, the animal lovers had stopped by the Elks Lodge to set out food for the deer that gathered there. They planned to have a beer and head home.

His family knows that Clyde Coleman never could stand to be away from his wife. He hated being in the hospital because it meant they were apart.

“Please bring your mother. I need her here,” he would tell his daughters.

He will be cremated so the urn of ashes can sit next to his wife’s chair at home.

“My dad would not have been happy unless he was with my mother,” Tyler said.

To reach Dawn Bormann, call 816-234-7704 or send email to

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