CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Business leader and local humanitarian Lena Coleman-Wilson passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 8. Her impact on the Coastal Bend continues to shine through those that knew her.
Friends say even though Mrs. Coleman-Wilson was small in stature, she had a giant presence.
“You knew when she was in the house,” says Terry Mills, president emeritus of the local NAACP chapter. Mills knew Coleman-Wilson his entire life, and he says she cared for him like a son.
Lena Coleman-Wilson is described by her loved ones as “one of those people that just loves people.”
Joel Mumphord, a former president of the local NAACP shares, “If you were naked, she would clothe you. If you were hungry, she would feed you. If you were in jail, she would visit you. If you needed a job, she would prepare you with the tools that you’d need to get that job.”
Mrs. Coleman-Wilson was also a former president of the Corpus Christi branch of the NAACP. She served on several boards in her lifetime, two of which were for united way and the Corpus Christi chamber of commerce.
Those who were close to her said she never hesitated to share her wealth with the community, but she always did so quietly.
“She believed in people. She did not believe in being mean. She believed in taking care of the problem, and if there was a problem, and they called her, it was fixed,” says Mills.
Her colleagues say she also had a soft spot for seniors in the community. Coleman-Wilson had elderly sisters and was known to have a deep love for her family. This led her to found the Elliot Grant homes and Jefferine Lytle Estates, housing communities for senior citizens.
Mrs. Coleman-Wilson also made a $200,000 donation to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to establish the Lena Coleman-Wilson Hope scholarship. Linda Gilmore says her aunt was an incredibly hard worker and put herself through school to earn a business degree.
She created two business, the Lena Business Management and Consultant Firm and the LC Foundation. The LC Foundation aimed to help disabled persons with finding a permanent job.
What was her greatest ability? Her loved ones agreed it was her power to unite a community.
“It was not a black thing, or a white thing or a brown thing. It was a Corpus Christi thing and that’s due to Lena Coleman-Wilson who made a difference in our lives,” says Terry Mills.
“Her legacy will be that she told the truth, she did what was right, and she gave back,” he says.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Lena Coleman-Wilson will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday at Calvary First Baptist Church at 2906 Carver Drive.