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Civic and business leader Bob W. Coleman died peacefully at home July 12, 2014, holding a long illness at bay in order to see the Spurs win their fifth NBA championship. Born September 1, 1931, in Henryetta, Oklahoma, Bob was always proud of where he came from but never failed to call San Antonio home. His love of sports manifested itself early as he became an accomplished athlete and went on to earn eight high school letters in three sports, including as a 150-pound center for the Henryetta Hens basketball team. Northwestern Oklahoma State invited him to attend on a basketball scholarship, which he did for a year before hearing the call of military service. After spending four years in the Navy, he returned to college, this time at the University of Oklahoma where he served as president of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, earned a BBA in Business in 1957 and became one of the biggest boosters in the school's history. Following graduation, Bob joined IBM in sales; then was lured away by the Bank of the Southwest in Houston where he became Vice President. There he met and married Ann-the two relocated to San Antonio where he joined the founders of Datapoint Corporation as board member and Vice President of Marketing. Some years later, he began his career as an entrepreneur, purchasing Micro-Gen, an insecticide manufacturer; he expanded and later sold to Johnson Wax. Finding a way to combine his continued love for sports with business, he then acquired the Ray Cook Corporation, manufacturer of specialty golf clubs and, in 1984, purchased Texace Corporation, transforming a floundering maker of military caps into the nation's #1 manufacturer of golf caps, hats and visors. Bob wanted to make a bigger difference in San Antonio than just his mark in business. During this time he devoted himself to helping bring major, amateur and professional sports to the city and his efforts have become legendary. It began with the birth of the San Antonio Sports Foundation (now San Antonio Sports) in 1987. As Chairman, Bob's vision helped the city land major sporting events including the 1989 AAU Junior Olympics and he worked tirelessly make the Alamodome a reality. With these successes in the San Antonio arsenal, Bob was successful in attracting to the city the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival, the 1998 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four Championship and in creating the Builder's Square Alamo Bowl Association, which put San Antonio squarely in the exciting football scene for the first time ever. When the San Antonio Spurs were to be sold in 1993, Bob refused to consider seeing them leave, and so, spearheaded a group of corporations and individuals to purchase the team, which kept the franchise in San Antonio. He served as Spurs President for a time, traveling with the team during the David Robinson, Sean Elliot, and Avery Johnson period. During this time, Bob and Ann continued their extreme philanthropy and civic service in other realms. Bob served on the Boards of Directors of Cullen/Frost Bank, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Free Trade Alliance of San Antonio, and The University of Texas System Sports Sciences Institute. He enjoyed golf in his spare time and served as President of the Board of Oak Hills Country Club. As The University of Oklahoma continued to share part of his heart, he also served on the OU Foundation Board of Directors, Athletic Director Advisory Committee and the 1998 OU Athletic Director Search Committee. As chair of the 2000 Lloyd Noble Center Campaign, his $1 million dollar gift launched one of the most successful fundraising events in the school's history, culminating in the university honoring Bob and his wife by building a new basketball training facility that bears their names. OU will never be the same without Bob in the stands. Bob's hard work and dedication were honored by being named the first ever inductee into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. He received the International Business Leader Award from St. Mary's University (1997), the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year (1989), South Texas Entrepreneur of the Year (1989), OU Regents' Distinguished Alumni Award (1994), People of Vision Award (1994) Sales and Marketing Executive of the Year (1994), Spurs Foundation Award for Excellence in Community Service (2004) and is a member of the San Antonio Business Hall of Fame. Bob loved spending time on his D'Hanis ranch, is well remembered for singing Boomer Sooner and the Henryetta Hens' fight song to his grandchildren and sharing stories about the Purple Passion drinks his fraternity created. His enthusiasm, infectious smile, and bear hugs will be missed. He is survived by his loving wife, Ann; son, Brock and his wife, Shelby, their three children, Maci, Braden and Haley; niece, Linda, husband, James and their three daughters, Cristina, Kathryn and Kelly and countless friends.
JULY 17, 2014
ST. MARK'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
315 E. PECAN
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, those who wish to honor Bob do so by donating to The Bob Coleman Memorial Fund at the organization he founded, San Antonio Sports, either online at www.sanantoniosports.org or at P.O. Box 830386, San Antonio, TX 78283 or to a
You are invited to sign
the guestbook at
Porter Loring Mortuary - San Antonio
1101 McCullough San Antonio, TX 78212
Published in Express-News on July 15, 2014