Sammy Coleman was laid to rest Wednesday morning following a graveside service at the Morgan Chapel Cemetery in Morgantown.
Coleman died at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson Saturday as a result of injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident on Sept. 22. He was 65.
Coleman was a native of Starkville and an avid motorcyclist. He worked as a tow truck driver for Cannon Ford, and among those in the procession were several wreckers from across the area. Coleman also loved his dogs Bay, Colonel and Barklee.
Friends and family shared their memories of Coleman. Bubba Willard met Coleman around 2000 while serving as a Starkville Police officer. He said Coleman would often respond when a wrecker was needed.
“He was a good fella, kind, very respectful to people,” Willard said. “He liked helping people when he could, and we rode motorcycles together a good bit.”
Willard said he was at a loss for words over Coleman’s death, and that many people would miss Coleman. He also remembered Coleman being part of the “Front Table Group” at the Starkville Café.
“Everybody liked Sammy,” Willard said.
Sturgis Mayor Billy Blankenship was also a close friend. Like Willard, he remembered Coleman for his kindness and helpfulness.
“He was definitely a good man with a big heart,” Blankenship said. “Everyone loved Sammy, and for all of us that ride bikes, he was our brother. He will be missed.
Blankenship said he met Coleman in 2003 or 2004 after moving back to Sturgis. Blankenship also thanked the community for their support of Coleman and his family and friends while he was hospitalized and after his death. A GoFundMe page made for Coleman garnered $10,586 in donations for his family, and a blood drive held in his honor in downtownStarkville received more than 100 units of blood.
“The love that people have shown Sammy, as well as his family with Sammy being in the hospital for three weeks, the money that’s been donated, the blood that’s been donated, the blood drive that was held with People being turned away at the end of the day. It shows definite support, the love of a neighbor, the love of a friend.”
Coleman’s wife, Beth Coleman, also spoke to the amount of support she had received from the community.
“I’m feeling grateful to all of his friends and coworkers,” Beth Coleman said. “I appreciated all of the tow trucks turning out to the cemetery. There were 17 in all. I was just shocked. I knew that he helped everybody he could, but I was really surprised at the number of people who showed up to show their respect and honor for him.”
Beth Coleman said she had known Sammy Coleman since third grade.
“I’ve known him since third grade, when we first started going together, as we called it back then,” Beth Coleman said. “He’s changed so much over the years. He was one of those wild teenagers that grew into a very kind, considerate man that a lot of people depended on.”
In addition to his wife, Coleman is survived by his son, Justin Coleman and two grandchildren, Josh and JJ McMullen.
“I’m just glad so many people loved him like I did,” Beth Coleman said.