Lou, 68, of San Juan Island, Washington and formerly of Portland, Oregon, was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 15, 1950, the son of Elizabeth and Louis Coleman, Sr., and brother to Elizabeth who was named after their mom. As a military family, they were on the move and eventually settled in Portland, Oregon. Lou’s father was stationed with the Air Force in Osan, South Korea after the war but later died due to illness in 1957. At the age of 7, Lou became the sole-surviving son of a serviceman and was held back from the draft in Vietnam. He played trumpet, drum and bugle corps, often traveling around the Pacific Northwest to play with his school. He married Julia in 1981. The couple has four children: Matthew (40), Mark (37), Kjirsten (33), and Mitchell (22).
Lou always had a passion for aviation but was deterred from following his dreams because of the fate of his father, an Air Force Captain. In 2003, shortly following the passing of his mother, Lou began training to become a private pilot in Hillsboro, Oregon. After purchasing the Piper Pacer in 2006 and receiving his certification as a flight instructor in 2012, he began to set into motion a long-standing dream to open a flight school in Friday Harbor.
In 2013, Lou and Julia purchased a home on San Juan Island, sold their Portland home of 27 years and moved to the islands. Lou purchased the 1929 Waco bi-plane, and together with the 1951 Piper Pacer, Aero-classic Aviation was open for business in 2015, a testament to his mantra, “Always go for it”. Lou was a humble man, most knew him both as a patient and inspiring flight instructor and as vice president of the pilot’s association. He touched many lives as a teacher and through his bi-plane rides of the islands.
It was always Lou’s dream to have his family here in the islands together. He is survived by his wife, four children and two granddaughters. Sadly, his sister Elizabeth passed just three months prior to his tragic accident.
Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel of Anacortes, Washington. To share a memory of Lou, please sign the online guestbook at www.evanschapel.com.