Monday, August 20, 2012


Evan MacGilvary Jenkins Coleman, age 13 of Raleigh NC was called home to heaven at 5:45 am Saturday August 18, 2012. After a five year battle with malignant melanoma, Evan was held in his mother’s arms as he came to eternal rest.

Evan was born February 16, 1999 in Royal Oak, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit) to Paul and Elizabeth (Lizy) Coleman nee Zimmerman. He was born with a Giant Congenital Nevus that was the origin for his cancer. His elder sister, Morgan, was a schoolmate of his at Our Shepherd Lutheran School in Birmingham, MI until the family moved to Raleigh in 2006. At that time Evan was enrolled at Wake Christian Academy. In the fall of 2006 he accelerated into the third grade, and a little over twelve months later he had his first of 6 surgeries to address the mass that had developed on his left back. He persevered through school until the chemotherapy medications interfered with his traditional school day. As a result he began home schooling in 2010.

Starting as a Tiger Scout in Michigan, he continued Scouting at Holland’s Church and finally settling at Pack 24 in Clayton where he earned his Arrow of Light prior to crossing over to Boy Scouts. Some of his favorite times were camping both with the Scouts and with his family in the parks and woods of Michigan and North Carolina.

A Renaissance Man in a sound bite age; Evan loved music, art, math, animals, building, architecture and computers. In 2009 he won the NCCSA Fine Arts Science Fair project for his construction of a transparent body computer that powered 3 interconnected video monitors. Musically he played trombone, but really loved improvisational piano. He leaves behind a dog, 2 dwarf hamsters and over 30 fish.

A long standing LEGO builder, he vacationed in Legoland California as part of a Kids Wish Network trip in between a first round of chemotherapies in 2008. His love of life, courage, perseverance and grace under pressure inspired everyone from professional soccer players to the more than 100 volunteers who worked on creating the first half of Evan’s Garden – a place of peace and reflection. It is also the site of his first full scale building from his designs.

Some of his deepest frustrations arose from an intolerance of stupidity, lying, selfishness and whining. His outlets for these situations revolved around his artistic expression and first person gaming. Among his greatest disappointments was when people gave up on him because they gave up on their ability to help him. The eternal optimist he continued to research his condition within a week of his passing, and he constantly challenged his parents to see the brightness of his hope during the most difficult of struggles.

His name means ‘Little Fighter’ in Welsh, but he is remembered for the big fight he gave to his arch nemesis Melanoma. His journey of 6 different surgeries and 4 different rounds of chemotherapy were an ongoing testament to his will to live. In the end, as his ravaged body bore the brunt of the disease, he lay back in his mother’s arms as she cooled his forehead and let his father massage his feet as they sang songs of peace and love, prayed and read scripture. He passed into the peace he so richly deserved at 5:45 am. as his pain, anxiety, discomfort and torment were ended.

Evan is survived by his parents, Paul and Lizy, his sister Morgan, Grand Father Rev. Paton Zimmerman who lives with the family. He is also survived by his paternal grand parents, Margot and Bernard Coleman of Asheville, NC; And extended family from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and England.

Visitation will be August 24, 2012 from 5-8 pm at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 2920 NC Hwy 42 West Clayton, NC 27520. The church can be reached at 919-553-4784.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 2920 NC Hwy 42 West Clayton, NC 27520 at 11 am. Holy Cross Pastor William Beyer will lead the service and Evan’s Grand Father Rev. Paton Zimmerman will deliver the sermon. Scouts in attendance will serve as ushers.

Arrangements are being handled by Cremation Society of the Carolinas, 2205 East Millbrook Road, Raleigh, NC 27604.

Evan’s Fund was established in conjunction with Miracle 2012. ( These efforts have resulted in the establishment of Evan’s Garden and a concerted effort to eliminate Evan’s medical debt. Going forward the focus of these efforts will revolve around establishing a research protocol to attack the cancer Evan suffered from and to reach out and fund those organizations that both helped and inspired Evan including The Children’s Inn at NIH, Nevus Outreach, Inc., the LEGO Foundation, and others.

Thank you to all the people who have been a support to us.

Life is like a Road

Life is like a road,

The road is often not straight,

or clear,

and sometimes the road splits,

and we must choose what direction to go.

Sometimes we can walk this road with friends,

other times we must walk alone.

But when you get to the end of the road,

and all is said and done,

nothing really matters anymore,

except for the journey,

and the love you've shared and received during it,

and the fact that this love will stand the test of time,

and go on forever.

-Evan Coleman

July 30, 2012

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