Anthony King played football as a kid for Butch Coleman. Now King is president of the same M.G. Dads Club youth league, and at 34, he still considered Coleman his coach.
“He touched thousands of lives,” King said. “Thousands. This would have been his 40th year.”
M.G. stands for “Municipal Gardens.” The league consists mostly of kids from the inner city of Indianapolis. One of them, Marlon Anderson Jr., 17, wrote on his Facebook page, “Coach Butch had an impact on kids in our community by bringing them together to play the game of football, but not only did he coach football he coached us in life as well.”
Duck boat tragedy: These are the nine Indianapolis family members who died
How to donate: GoFundMe links to donate to survivors including Hoosier Tia Coleman
Horace “Butch” Coleman, 70, and eight of his family members died Thursday in Missouri when the duck boat they were on capsized, killing 17 people. Two members of the Coleman family survived.
The deceased came from three generations of what was, according to friends and their social media interactions, a close-knit, loving family.
‘Stunned and heartsick’
The Colemans who were lost: Belinda “Toni,” 69, Butch’s wife; Ervin, 76, his brother; Glenn, 40, his son; Reece, 9, and Evan, 7, Glenn’s sons; Arya, 1, Glenn’s daughter; Angela, 45, Glenn’s sister; and Maxwell, 2, Angela’s son.
Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a statement Saturday saying he and his wife “are stunned and heartsick over this tragedy. To lose so many loved ones in an instant is horrifying, and I cannot imagine the depth of pain the Coleman’s friends and family are going through now. I ask my fellow Hoosiers to join me in offering prayers and condolences, especially for the two survivors.”
Tia Coleman, who survived the accident, lost her husband and three children.
Indiana survivor Tia Coleman: ‘I thought I was dead’
She worked as a paralegal in the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, which issued a statement Saturday saying, “We are devastated by the unimaginable loss suffered by our friend and colleague Tia Coleman. The thoughts and prayers of our entire Marion County Prosecutor’s Office family are with Tia, her extended family and friends, and the other survivors of this tragic incident.”
For King, the tragedy cut especially deep.
“I knew everybody on that boat,” he said. “We’re a non-profit (football league), but we’re a family. This is a tough one, man.”
A family that welcomed everyone
Labor Day meant a barbeque at Butch Coleman’s house. The Coleman family would be there with people from the football league.
No invitations or announcements were necessary. You just showed up around 3 p.m. and it didn’t matter how many people you brought along, King said.
Butch Coleman would make his signature cole slaw with tomatoes and cucumbers. But his daughter Angela was the family’s star cook. She went by Angiee.
“Yes, with two Es. It’s kind of my thing,” it said on her website, Angiee’s Elegant Eats. “Cooking is also my thing, and I’m awesome at it.”
She said on the site, “My love for food comes from being raised in a family of cooks and bakers (and) a short stint in culinary school. … I’m a simple home cook who loves food and hanging out with people who love to eat!”
Angiee changed her Facebook profile picture in June, showing her with her two sons, including one who survived the duck boat accident.
In the photo, they’re holding up a sold sign and another sign with the photo and phone number of a real estate agent.
“Did you buy a house?” a friend posted.
“Can I love this 400 times?!?!?!” another friend wrote. Angiee’s brother Glenn coached 10 years in the Dads Club football league before a warehouse job took him away from coaching.
In May, Glenn Coleman posted on Facebook, “This traffic is disrespectful.”
“Now you know what I went through all those years,” replied his father, who worked for decades as a UPS driver.
‘They were about kids’
Butch Coleman was stern and disciplined, King said. On Facebook, he posted a photo that said, “Show your mind. Not your behind.” There was a picture of a man in graduation garb and another of a man with his pants pulled halfway down his rear.
King said Glenn was more relaxed than his father, “soft-spoken but very opinionated.” His mother Toni was “sweet as pie,” King said.
“They were about kids,” King said of the family.
When Arya Zian Coleman was born in March 2017, Glenn thanked his “wonderful, amazing wife” Tia on Facebook.
“Oh yeah,” Butch responded, “I’ve got a beautiful granddaughter a girl at last.”
Call Mark Alesia at (317) 444-6311. Follow him on Twitter: @markalesia.