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Francis P. Coleman, retired social worker

Francis P. Coleman, a retired city social worker who enjoyed reading and writing, died Jan. 1 from cancer at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Betterton resident was 82.

The son of Frank Coleman, a steamship captain, and Irene Mary Clere Coleman, a homemaker, Francis Peter Coleman was born and raised in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood.

He was a graduate of LaSalle College High School in Wyndmoor, Pa.

After his parents moved to the Eastern Shore, he enrolled at Washington College, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1963.

He studied law at the University of Maryland Law School and received a master’s degree in art appreciation from the Johns Hopkins University.

The former Charles Village resident worked as a social worker for the Baltimore City Department of Social services for 30 years before retiring in 1996.

A weekend resident of Betterton, Mr. Coleman moved there permanently after retiring.

A voracious reader whose favorite book was James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” Mr. Coleman labored more than 30 years on a novel about a baseball player, according to his daughter, Dorcas Frances Coleman of Betterton.

“It is a black comedy and he had finished it,” Ms. Coleman said.

A vegetarian, he enjoyed preparing pasta dishes, dining on large cheese pizzas from Carletto’s in Sudlersville, and sipping “good, inexpensive wines,” his daughter said.

“An avowed vegetarian for 50 years, he happily allowed himself corn beef and cabbage once a year — on St. Patrick’s Day,” Ms. Coleman said.

He was an animal lover — especially dogs and rabbits — and enjoyed watching the annual National and Westminster Kennel Club dog shows.

Mr. Coleman also enjoyed reading about World War II, gambling on college football games and working on landscaping projects at his home.

He was a member of St. Dennis Roman Catholic Church in Galena, and of the Knights of Columbus.

Planning is underway for a Mass of Christian burial on June 23 at his church, followed by a crab feast. Details are incomplete.

He is survived by his daughter. A marriage to the former Amrei Grathewohl ended in divorce.

--Frederick N. Rasmussen

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