Ralph Coleman never met a stranger -- only friends he didn’t know yet, said his son, Kevin Coleman.
He loved to play practical jokes, and believed in putting his family’s needs before his own.
“He was always willing to lend a helping hand,” he said.
Ralph Coleman, 79, of Lake Station, died July 26. He worked 36 years for US Steel Gary Works. He was a lifetime member of the Izaak Walton League Spring Lake Chapter, Hobart.
He had served in the National Guard, attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class.
He enjoyed working with Izaak Walton league on numerous conservation projects, including building bluebird nesting boxes on fence posts along the highways. He also enjoyed working their bingo nights, where he was their “hot dog man.”
He loved fishing, both at the Izaak Walton League’s lake and along Wisconsin’s Turtle-Flambeau Flowage.
The flowage was a favorite trip, and was a tradition for 30 years, his son said.
“I looked forward every year for that trip,” he said.
One time while he was fishing at the flowage, his rod slipped out of his hand while he was casting and it sank to the bottom of the lake. Ten years later, while fishing in the same bay, he snagged the rod he had previously lost.
“He kept a picture of himself holding that rod at the cabin,” he said.
He loved sharing his love of fishing with others.
“He never turned down a chance to teach a kid how to fish, even buying them their own rods,” he said. “He loved teaching kids about the wonders and beauty of the great outdoors.”