Hazel Coleman


A Celebration of Life for 82-year old Hazel Marie Coleman will be held at a later date.

Interment will be private.

Memories and condolences for the family may be left at

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions made in Hazel’s name to Barclay College via the Rumsey-Yost website or by mail to Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Hazel Marie (Sparks) Coleman was born in Emporia, KS, the second child and first daughter to Margaret and Roy Sparks. She died Jan 9, 2024 at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO.

Hazel, also known as Maz by her family and many of her friends grew up in the Emporia area and graduated from Emporia High School.

 Wishing to pursue college and a career so she could get her own apartment, she attended Friends Bible College, now Barclay College, in Haviland, Kansas. 

A young man visiting from Friends University in Wichita introduced himself there. That young man was Ernest Jesse Coleman Jr. A whirlwind romance ensued – their first date was May 1, 1960, and by August 16 they were married.

Hazel and Ernie were both from large families and after having two children of their own, they decided to open their home to foster children. The first two boys remained their permanent sons. 

After Ernie’s career led them to several Kansas towns, they had their youngest child and settled in Lawrence, KS in 1971. In addition to managing a household of up to 6 children, Hazel had several part-time jobs around Lawrence. Her final position was as a paraeducator at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School for 15 years before she retired in 2009.

Hazel was a loving grandmother to her grandchildren, always available for support and advice and teaching many of them how to cook.

Among her eager students were Jordan and Jessica Coleman, Jesse and Melia Self, and step-granddaughter Renee Robinson, all of Lawrence; step-grandson Andre Robinson of Providence, RI, and Jamie (James) Sherman of Woodward, OK; and many other grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Hazel was a charming woman of amazing strength, curiosity, and wisdom. No one was a stranger to her for long due to her calm, engaging approach and interest in everything.

Hazel was preceded in death by her husband Ernie, her parents Margaret and Roy Sparks, and brothers Roy Lee, Tom, and John Sparks. 

She is survived by her children Candi (Patrick) Wilbur, Craig (Amy) Coleman and Chris (Keith) Self, all of Lawrence, Dennis (Barb) Hanlon of Fairview, OK, and Ed (Kathy) Hamilton of Iola, KS; sister Mary Beth (Bob) Winters of Salina, KS; brother Bob (Regina) Sparks of Emporia; and sister-in-law Marilyn Sparks of Emporia.