Dr. James J. "Jim" Coleman
Share
Share James's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
NASHVILLE, Tenn. James Jackson "Jim" Coleman, M.D., age 57, died April 18, 2008, at his home in Nashville, Tenn. Dr. Coleman was a Board Certified physician in Pulmonary/Internal Medicine. Prior to moving his practice to Nashville, Tenn., in 1992, he practiced in Portland, Ore. and Tuscaloosa, Ala.

He is preceded in death by his daughter, Catherine Ashley Coleman, and his father, Clayton Noyes Coleman, Sr.

He is survived by his daughter, Lauren Coleman of Franklin, Tenn.; his mother, Mrs. Addie Shirley Hoole of Tuscaloosa; brother, Clayton Noyes Coleman, Jr., D.M.D., of Santa Fe, N.M.; sister, Emily Coleman Moore (Robin) of Tuscaloosa; aunt, Mrs. Anne Shirley McNeff of Tuscaloosa; niece, Katherine Moore of Columbia, S.C.; nephew, Henry Moore of Birmingham, Ala.; and several cousins.

Dr. Coleman was educated in local schools, received his undergraduate degree from The University of Alabama and his medical degree from The University of Alabama Medical School. He graduated from both institutions Cum Laude. Other honors include: Phi Beta Kappa as an undergraduate and Alpha Omega Alpha and The Award for Excellence in Basic Sciences from the University of Alabama School of Medicine.

In addition to his love for medicine, he was also an accomplished musician. He learned to play the guitar while in Tuscaloosa Junior High School and played in local bands, The Gents and The Rubber Band. He composed music as well as lyrics and produced several CD's that demonstrated his skill as a guitarist, composer and singer. His taste in music was eclectic and his interests and talents ranged from classical to jazz. His latest interest was composing, playing and singing gospel music.

A graveside service will be 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2008, at Evergreen City Cemetery with Rev. Kenneth Fields officiating and Heritage Chapel Funeral Home, a Dignity Memorial Provider, directing.

Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Bony Barrineau, Delaine Mountain, Michael Kavanaugh, Buddy Martin, Chuck Leavell, and Drayton Wear.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The William Stanley Hoole Special Collection Library at The University of Alabama or to the charity of choice.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Tuscaloosa News on Apr. 23, 2008.
MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
50 entries
April 18, 2020
Always in my heart...miss and love you, Jim.
Joy Henley
April 26, 2019
Thinking of you, Jim
Jeff Harlan
April 18, 2019
Remembering Jim today! He has been gone 11 years and it seems like we were just talking yesterday. He was such a caring, dear friend...one I miss terribly. As I said I would do in Seattle, I did it, Jim! I made it to Nashville! The only thing missing in Music City is you. Lots of love to you and your dear family...
Joy Henley
April 17, 2019
Been thinking about you this week as I have been doing some genealogy work. You and I spoke about our family shortly before you died, and now, you are able to connect the dots in person! Wow, what a great family reunion awaits the rest of us. Miss you very much, Jim. Cousin Kathy
February 17, 2019
It's hard to believe Jim has been gone for 10 years. I think of him often.
We trained together at Oregon Health Sciences University as Fellows in pulmonary disease and had an amazing amount of fun together. After he moved to Tennessee we stayed in touch by phone and an occasional visit. Discussing difficult clinical problems with him was always rewarding. I can safely say he was the smartest doctor I ever met.
Jim, as some of these messages suggest, could be prickly and did not suffer fools gladly. But that was because he held himself to an extraordinarily high standard and everything he did.
His sense of humor and mischief were legendary. We shared a few adventures during training that are best not mentioned in public, but, suffice it to say, he knew how to draw an introvert out of his shell!
While we weren't close friends, I admired Jim immensely and he will always be a part of my life.
John Fowler
October 11, 2017
Thinking of you today with much love, Jim...
Joy Henley
August 18, 2017
RIP Jim. Chuck Leavell left, ROSEANN Weatherington right- Nashville
Roseann Weatherington
April 19, 2016
I so wish Jim was still walking amongst us, I really need him to be here now. He was a great doctor and a great friend. Missing Jim...
Jane Hale
April 19, 2016
I will always miss your infectious laugh and unwavering friendship. I miss you calling me up and playing a new song, your corny jokes. Thought of you a lot yesterday - some things do not get better with time.
Stephanie Gudeman
April 19, 2016
Jim would call me every day in between patients. We had some very interesting conversations. Joe Diamond
Joe Diamond
April 19, 2016
I thought of Jim so many times yesterday. It is comforting to know I was not alone.
Emily Moore
April 18, 2016
Hard to believe you left us 8 years ago today...You're always in my heart, dear guitar man.
Joy Henley
November 8, 2015
I just finished reading Dr. Coleman's manuscript of his unpublished book "Chet Mate" yesterday. As a lifelong guitarist , songwriter and author,and someone who knew the white, grey and black sides of Mr. Guitar, there was much to hold my interest throughout the book. In doing so I felt I alsi got to know Jim somewhat, and am sorry, I never got to meet him or hear him play. It was my researching his life in music, that lead me here, where I have learned he not only attended the medical needs of Chet Atkins, but other fine Nashville musicians, like my friend Roy Huskey. In reading co author Tom Carter's entry I was dismayed to learn that "Legal Reasons" prevented the publication of the book that Chet himself authorizes to be printed in the forward. All I can now wish for is they are all still making beautiful music together somewhere.
Ken Spooner
October 13, 2015
Jim Coleman in April 1953.
Found another photo of Jim Coleman with his grandparents, his mother, and his aunt in 1953. Jim was the cutest little boy. Miss him.
Kathy Barr
October 13, 2015
Jim, Happy Birthday. I miss all of the morning calls from you in between your patients. I also miss living in Alabama. My favorite state.
Joe Diamond
October 12, 2015
Jim Coleman with his cousins in 1953. He is sitting at Emily's feet.
I forgot it was his birthday on the 10th but on that day I was printing a photo for Emily of the Becker-Dowling-Coleman cousins in 1953. At the time, I looked at his sweet face and thought he was such a cute little boy. He was. Miss him, too.
October 12, 2015
Joy, it is so good to see you also remembered Jim on his birthday.I, too, thought of him many times during the day.
Emily Moore
October 11, 2015
Happy Birthday, Jim! You are missed beyond words...sending love to you!
Joy Henley
September 10, 2015
Dr Coleman, I was just thinking about you today.There were lots of fun and laughter in the office while working with you.
Rest in Heaven.
Sheryl Bransford
April 18, 2015
You left us 7 years ago today and you're forever in my heart, Jim.
Joy Henley
October 13, 2014
Just learned about your passing. We will miss you, Jim. Lots of fun memories of our time in La Jolla, California. Rest in peace, dear friend. Fleur and Jack Schim
October 13, 2014
Dude: So many special times, tales, and laughter. You are remembered by many!
Jim Conner
October 11, 2014
Happy Birthday, Jim! You're forever in my heart. Sure miss you...
October 11, 2014
Today is your 64th Birthday! Your friends and I miss you Jim. A smile of gratitude, love, and remembrance come to all that speak your name. I was in Tuscaloosa the other weekend and thought of you while marching with the UA MDB! Your UA lanyard and 2007 ticket remain hanging in my room waiting for our next game.
You'll remain in my heart forever. <3 Happy Birthday Jim!
Jane Drake Hale
April 20, 2014
I hear so many people talk of Dr. Colemans music. He was my
Doctor for many years. I would so like to hear him play and sing.
Can anybody tell me how to hear
His music or get a copy of his CD.
I do miss him every day
alicedorsey@comcast.net
Alice Dorsey
April 19, 2014
On this anniversary, you are in my thoughts, dude. I am blessed to have called you friend for a very long time.
Jim Conner
April 19, 2014
Thinking about Jim all the time, and recently was able to listen to his music again after six long years. Now it is Easter Weekend, filled with warm thoughts of happy times. Jim's presence remains in our hearts. Miss you so much.
Jane Drake Hale
April 18, 2014
Six years ago was a sad day. I miss you so much Jim and always carry you in my heart. With lots of love...
Joy Henley
April 6, 2014
A picture I took of Jim, about 10+ years ago, after he played numerous songs on some of his 52 left handed guitars he had in his basement. He beamed.
I listened to your tribute to the works of Domenico Scarletti the other day and was overwhelmed with tears of emotion. I didn't see it coming, as I played it for my girlfriend to listen to your talent and enjoy your style. What I realized is that I hadn't listened to it since 2007. It was very rejuvenating and cathartic experience to share my love for you with my girlfriend, expressing myself in ways I'm not normally comfortable doing. I miss you so much, Jim!
Jeff Harlan
January 17, 2014
Miss your simple greatness. I know you and Randy are adding a mighty voice to the Heavenly Choir up there. It will be a fine day when we all meet again. Until then we all miss you so!
S Gudeman
October 12, 2013
Thought of you on your birthday...how I miss you. You're always in my heart, Jim.
Joy Henley
November 7, 2012
I still miss you too.
Cynthia Coleman
October 11, 2012
Happy 61st Birthday Jim! 10-11-12. We are lucky to have been able to call you our friend. We all miss you, and love you!
October 11, 2012
Happy 61st Birthday Dear Jim 10-11-12, You will always live on in our hearts. How lucky we are to have known you! I miss you too.
October 11, 2012
Happy Birthday, Jim! I miss you and always carry you in my heart!
August 27, 2012
Dr Jay...I miss you. I ran into your daughter at whole foods and she told me she got in to Princeton on scholarship. I am so proud of her and you would be as well!
I remember the wonderful relationship that the two I you had.
You were a great friend, doctor and a wonderful musician. I can't thank you enough for believing in me all of those years and supporting my career by bringing me to you publisher friends and loaning me instruments!
You touched so many lives and brought so many people together in this town. Your good works did not go unnoticed. I'm sure you are still playing music up in heaven and I always called you an angel on earth. Now you are one for real. Just know that you will never be forgotten. Thank you!
Liz Sharpe
October 13, 2010
Many thoughts of Dr. Jim on his 60th Birthday...we miss you so much!
April and David
April Barrows
October 12, 2010
I miss you and that free spirit!!!
Kimberly Robertson
October 12, 2010
Thinking of you on your birthday Dr. Jim. Missing your sweet smile and happy songs.
Courtney Keene
October 11, 2010
Thinking of you and missing you Jim, on your 60th birthday...
Joy Henley
October 11, 2010
Happy 60th Birthday, Dr Coleman. We really miss your unique spirit and your ability to bring a smile.
Elisha McKay
September 12, 2010
Sure do miss you a lot! Great Doctor.
virginia crooks
October 11, 2009
Happy Birthday Jim! Thinking of you today and always carrying you in my heart. Sending love to you and all of your family.
Joy Henley
July 18, 2009
Jim was my very first boyfriend. He asked me out on the playground at University Place Elementary School. Our romance was short but our friendship lasted through high school (I still remember what he wrote in my year book - typical Jim humor) and we were lab partners as Freshmen at UA. I moved away and we lost touch but I never forgot him and have often thought of him. Today on a quest to try and find some of the people I have lost touch with, I learned of Jim's passing. I am very saddened. He was a great person and I am happy that I have my fond memories of him.
Kaye Carden Keith
June 3, 2009
Jim Coleman became my primary care physician when he bought the practice of my former Nashville doctor. I had earlier collaborated to write the autobiographies of some of the world's foremost celebrity singer/musicians. One day, Jim explained how his chance encounter with Chet Atkins resulted in friendship bordering on brotherhood. Jim told me how he'd diagnosed the cancer that eventually killed Chet, and how mercilessly painful it was for him to tell the maestro, by then his best friend. Jim showed me Chet's telling x-ray that subtly showed the tumor that other physicians had reportedly missed. He talked about being the guest guitarist on Chet's final shows, one performed in Chet's hometown. He asked me to help him write a book about his days with Chet. I did, in the fashion of "Tuesdays With Morrie," a book by Mitch Albom based on eighteen interviews Mitch did with Morrie, a former college professor Mitch admired.

Jim had done 247 interviews with Chet.

After each, he raced home to transcribe the encounter. Jim and I spent two years creating what became a compelling and touching read. I found a major publisher, but the book was not to be, primarily due to legal issues. The world would never read what Jim lived to tell, and that broke his heart.

Jim was my friend and my doctor, in that order. He told me that despite his failed marriages and the death of his daughter, he never got depressed. A few days after Christmas, I found out he'd spent the holiday alone. When he couldn't find an open restaurant, he went to a bar and ate stale sandwiches wrapped in cellophane, which he chased with beer. He stayed there all afternoon, he said, talking to an old and arthritic bartender, as no one else entered the place. Still, that dismal holiday without the company of friends or family did not wither Jim's spirit, he insisted.

“How do you relish a depression-proof mindset?” I asked.

He took me downstairs to a chapel inside Nashville's Centennial Medical Center. A giant book was open on a stand outside the sanctuary. Hand-written entries were left by desperate people who'd come to the chapel to pray, many begging God to spare the life of a terminally ill child, an anguished husband, an incurable wife and others. Jim had treated some of the people who were the beneficiaries of those authors' pleading prayers.

“How can I be depressed,” he said to me, “when there are people all around me who are hurting as much as these?”

For years afterwards, whenever I faced an ebbing of mood, I went to that mammoth and open communal diary. No matter what my circumstance, I always found new cursive from people whose despondency exceeded my own. My heart went to them; my gratitude to Jim. Jim had steered me to "therapy" that was the manifestation of his empathy, not his acquired knowledge.

Today, I saw a cardiologist to whom Jim referred me in 1997. Affectionate talk turned to Jim, and the doctor told me he'd died fourteen months ago. He didn't know how, only that Jim had passed away alone at his residence. I was emotionally slammed. Jim's passing while by himself was tragic irony, as Jim had blessed thousands with his medicine, music and heartfelt capacity to nurture friendship. Busy, I hadn't stayed in touch with Jim, as he was someone I selfishly thought would always be available. We make that mistake regarding those who are always there for us.

I've wept to Jim's recorded songs this afternoon. I can't wait to hear them in heaven. I always told Jim that he could "make it" in music. When I see him playing for the angels, I'll say "I told you so." Until then, I'm compelled to ease my pain by recording it inside a giant diary.

Thanks to Jim, I know exactly where to find one.
Tom Carter
May 18, 2009
I fell in love with Jim when he was 16. Over the next 41 years we kept in touch. Our song was Strawberry Fields Forever. He will always be a part of my life. "Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about" He was my John Lennon.
Vivian Ortiz
April 18, 2009
I too, have been thinking about Jim today. Still can't believe he's gone. My thoughts go out to all of Jim's friends and family and I'll close with the heartfelt wish that his wonderful,generous and unique spirit is at rest.
peace and love,
April Barrows
April Barrows
April 18, 2009
Thinking of you today, Jim. The year has been long without you. Love to you in Heaven...
Joy Henley
April 17, 2009
A beautiful note from David about Jim.
I cherish this story.
Thank You David.



Jane, I met you last summer in NYC.
Like all his many friends I've missed
Jim a lot. Awhile back I was in
Missouri working on an old farmhouse
I bought several years ago with an old
friend I've known since grade school.
It was a Saturday night. The TV
wasn't working, there was nothing of
interest on the radio. We did however
have a CD player, but I'd neglected to
bring CD's or so I thought. After a
thorough search I found one....Jim's
gospel album, the song titles written
in his own hand. I have to confess I'd
never listened to it in depth. I told
my friend about Jim, and we listened.
We were both blown away by Jim's
playing, his singing, his songwriting,
and his beautiful spirit....still alive as
ever in his music. I told April about it
the next day and she reminded me
that "yesterday was Jim's birthday."
Coincidence maybe...but knowing Jim,
maybe not.
All the best,
David Hungate
Jane Drake Hale
January 25, 2009
I am still mourning the passing of Jim...my musical mentor and friend. I have never encountered such a man in my 54 years.

I love you Jim.

Rest in God's eternal Light..thank you for shining some of that Light on me.
Mark Moreland
INVITE OTHERS TO ADD MEMORIES
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences