MaryAnn Coleman, 78, of Cheshire, entered into eternal life with our Heavenly Father surrounded by her loving family on January 11, 2022. She was the cherished wife of James L. Coleman.
MaryAnn was born on July 27, 1943, in West Hartford, daughter of the late William J. Ryan Jr. and Jane (Sheridan) Ryan. In addition to James, her beloved husband of 60 years, MaryAnn is survived by her devoted children James W. Coleman and his wife Lynn of Southington, Deirdre Imus of Texas and Barbara Ann Coleman-Hekeler and her husband Keith of Cheshire; her grandchildren James Jr., Robert, Hannah, Ava, and Tessa Coleman, Wyatt Imus, Zachary Cates, Madeline Jane and Samantha Ann Hekeler; sisters: Sheila Ward, Patricia Ryan and husband Roger Payne, brother William J. Ryan III; brother in-law Richard Kelly, and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Preceding her to death are her sister Barbara Kelly, son-in-law Don Imus and mother-in-law Antoinette (Riccio) Coleman.
MaryAnn will be remembered as the sunshine of her family. She was the most beautiful woman in every way, a bright light, with a vibrant personality and always a song in her heart. She had the sincerest and caring ways, always helping everyone. She was a genuine and beautiful soul, graceful, compassionate, loving, kind, with a great sense of style, gorgeous smile, and a special way of making everything fun. She especially loved and adored being Grandma and spending time with her grandchildren. She never missed a moment to be with them. Her grandchildren cherish her and will miss her deeply.
MaryAnn started her music career at the young age of 3 singing with her father at the Bushnell Memorial in Hartford, CT. Music was in her soul and while attending Sedgwick elementary in West Hartford she quickly became first violinist and taught herself to play piano and sing. By the time she graduated from William Hall High School she earned a coveted spot in the State Choir.
She married the love of her life James L. Coleman and they settled into Waterbury, Ct. to raise their three children. MaryAnn never stopped singing; in fact, she sang throughout her years raising her children. There was always music in the home filling it with the best of opera and musical theatre. For several decades MaryAnn studied voice and collaborated with the late renowned pianist and composer Richard DeRosa. She was a dedicated student of performance and trained operatic voice that led her to the grand opportunity of performing the opera Antigone in Greece for a summer at the historical centuries’ old open amphitheaters throughout Europe. MaryAnn also earned her Equity and SAG credentials having toured with several off-Broadway musicals throughout the country including performing songs with Tom Jones and the late Harvey Schmidt (Fantasticks), two legendary American composers. She also lent her talent singing the National Anthem at many historical events such as a gubernatorial inauguration, live on Imus in the morning, Senatorial inaugurations and so many others.
MaryAnn’s talent was recognized by the Waterbury Community Theatre (the longest running continuous civic theatre in the country) at the famous Palace Theatre and she quickly accumulated the accolades winning two Best Actress Awards for her leading roles as Miss Anna in The King and I and her unforgettable lead actress performances as Guinevere in Camelot. She also received two Best Producer Awards for her achievements in shows such as Cabaret, Chicago, Three Penny Opera and The Skin of our Teeth. She received stellar reviews for her lead role as Carrie in the musical Carousel.
In her later years MaryAnn’s versatile talents led her to being a part of the WATR Radio family hosting Let’s Talk.
Her voice, like a songbird, left an indelible memory on all her family, friends, community and anyone who had the pleasure of being in the presence of her singing. MaryAnn especially loved to teach children to sing, play the piano and have fun with a song, any song. She devoted many years to the community volunteer program creating, producing and mentoring children's yearly stage productions. Her volunteerism is to be admired as well. She embraced giving back to her community serving on multiple boards and mentoring our youth.
MaryAnn was a beautiful, glorious Mother, devoted and loving wife, irresistible grandmother, loyal and dear friend of many and a talent to be remembered forever.
She led a full and vibrant life and will be greatly missed by her loving family and friends. Our family will be forever grateful for Millie Delgado and Giuseppina Caruso, two loving care givers who brought comfort and love to our mom and family.
Even though she loved flowers she loved singing and mentoring young voices even more. MaryAnn often said: “Life is a song; Love is the music.”
So in lieu of flowers we ask you to donate in our mother’s memory to your favorite charity.
A Mass of Christian Burial in celebration of MaryAnn’s life will be held Saturday February 19, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Bridget of Sweden Parish/St. Bridget Church 175 Main Street in Cheshire. Family and friends are asked to meet directly at church. Burial will follow in St Bridget Cemetery. There are no calling hours. The Alderson-Ford Funeral Home of Cheshire has care of arrangements.