Ted Phillips Coleman
January 4, 1941  -  November 22, 2017

Ted Phillips Coleman

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Memorial Service
Carey Hand Colonial Chapel
2811 Curry Ford Road
Orlando, FL  32806
Saturday, December 02, 2017
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American Diabetes Association
P.O.Box 15829
Arlington, VA  22215


Ted Phillips Coleman, 76, passed away at home in Orlando on November 22, 2017. Judge Coleman leaves behind his 2 daughters, Lisa Rene (Larry) Turner of Cary, NC and Shirley Diane Coleman (Rhonda) of Ocoee; 3 grandchildren, Kiera, Raina and Lachlan Turner; his brother Gerald D. (Pili) Coleman of Tallahassee, FL; his sister Zera (James) Murphy of Napa, CA; his former wife Jan Coleman; and his “Main Squeeze” of 32 years, Dorothy J. Russell. He was preceded in death by his mother, Claudia Zell Phillips Coleman and his father Hubert Coleman.

Ted was born on January 4, 1941, in Twin City, Georgia, at home in what is now the Ranger Station at the George L. Smith State Park. The family moved to Cocoa, FL, when he was in the tenth grade where he graduated from Cocoa High School in 1959. He went to Cocoa Community College where he was president of his class. He then became an official and proud Gator. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Florida and continued on to complete his law degree from the Levin College of Law (University of Florida.) Ted practiced law in Orlando for a few years before he ran for election for County Judge where he served for 6 years on the Orange County bench. During this time, he wrote the Small Claims Handbook which became the authority on that subject used by the lawyers who practiced in that field. In 1982 Ted ran for circuit judge and remained on the circuit bench through 2002. He served as chief judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit from 1999 through 2001. After his retirement in 2002, he continued to serve as a senior judge until 2013.

Judge Coleman was known for his quick wit, often sought for roasts and emceeing occasions for retirement parties and other celebrations. But in the courtroom, he was all business. He was tough but fair. Those who practiced before him soon learned that the key to success in his courtroom was being prepared. Continuances were rare. This efficiency annoyed some attorneys who practiced before him, but at the end of the day they learned to appreciate the lessons they learned from Judge Coleman. Some of those lawyers are judges today and they incorporate some of the procedures they learned in his courtroom.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017, at 1 p.m. at Carey Hand Colonial Funeral Home at 2811 East Curry Ford Road, Orlando, Florida 32806, (407)898-2561 followed by a Celebration of Ted’s Life from 3-5 p.m at the Citrus Club, 255 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1800, Orlando, FL 32801. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 15829, Arlington, VA 22215.


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  1. Barbara Mills
    Piney Flats, TN

    Sending my condolences to Ted's family and especially to Dorothy who I know will miss him terribly. My thoughts and prayers are with you,

  2. joni brooks
    mt morris, NY

    It was a pleasure knowing you Ted. My sincere condolences to your family and Dorothy too. I will see you again someday.

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