On Jan. 16 Jim Coleman will turn 100, and he will undoubtedly spend his morning the same way he does every other day – by sending out a devotional text to his friends.
“I’m up to 23 people,” the Luling man said as he sat at his kitchen table this week. “I send it every day.”
Coleman grew up in Central and remembers details about his childhood and life vividly and clearly.
“When I was growing up we didn’t have a radio, much less air conditioning or television,” he said. “A lot of people my age grew up with kerosene lanterns, but we had electricity. The electricity we had was one light bulb hanging from the ceiling in each room. We also had running water, but no inside bathroom until I was grown – like 18.”
The introduction of a 10-inch box fan to his family’s home is something he remembers fondly.
“We thought we had died and gone to heaven,” Coleman said chuckling, adding that it is strange to look around his home and realize that the majority of things in it – such as the microwave, air conditioning, refrigerator and television – were all invented after he was born.
“In 1937 we got a radio and I got to listen to LSU football games on WWL,” he said. “I became a fan … I still am a fan.”
Coleman entered the Air Corps – now known as the Air Force – in 1943 at the age of 20.
“Most my of time served was in the South Pacific,” he said. “I was discharged in 1945.”
After his time in the service Coleman met and married Georgia, his wife of 74 years. Like him she grew up in Central.
“We had a good life together,” he said, adding that the couple raised a son and daughter. “People tell me I’m lucky and I say, ‘No, I’m blessed.’ I have been a true believing Christian for a long time and God has really, really blessed me in a lot of ways. I think I’m blessed beyond belief.”
Career changes brought the Colemans around the United States until his job with Union Carbide transferred him to St. Charles Parish in the 1960s.
“The thing about here – the climate is horrible but the people are great,” he said of Louisiana.
Coleman lives alone in the Luling home that he and Georgia built. He said he misses his wife greatly since her death three years ago, but that that his five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren keep his spirits high – as do the LSU Tigers.
“This week I bought a new 75-inch TV … I was going to buy the 100-inch to match my age but decided against it,” he said laughing. “I watch LSU on it and a lot of football.”
Council on Aging delivers meals five days a week and offers house cleaning once a week for Coleman, who said he has no intention of going anywhere.
“I plan on being right here,” he said laughing from his kitchen table. “My sister is 102 … that’s why I splurged and bought the big TV.”