Robert Coleman

Obituary of Robert Gerald Coleman

Robert “Bob” Coleman died peacefully September 12, 2022 in Eugene, surrounded by love in the home he designed and helped build. Born February 4, 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska, Bob moved to Portland, Oregon at the age of six, and quickly developed a love of alpine skiing on the slopes of Mt. Hood (the cover story of the February 1949 issue of Ebony magazine named him the best Black skier in Oregon). He graduated from Portland’s Jefferson High School, and served in the Air Force, stationed in Japan, then attended Portland State University before enrolling in the architecture program at the University of Oregon (UO). Bob eventually became Oregon’s first African American landscape architect, enjoying a long gratifying career. While at the City of Eugene Parks Department, he became best known for his design of Eugene’s nationally award-winning Washington-Jefferson Park. 

Bob loved western movies, model trains, river rafting, drinking beer with friends (later it was white wine), telling stories (“all true” he said), skiing, listening to jazz, cooking, and anything related to his beloved UO Ducks sports teams. He is survived and missed by his wife Shelley, son and daughter-in-law Cliff and Wendy; stepdaughter and son-in-law Nicole and Michael; stepson and daughter-in-law Poki and Sara; and grandchildren Anyanka, Elijah, Etta, Nyla, Phin, and Theo.

A celebration of Bob’s wonderful life will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributing to the UO Diversity Excellence Scholarship Fund (

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Robert
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