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Vern Coleman, longtime broadcast engineer

Vernon E. “Vern” Coleman passed away peacefully at home on March 18, 2012, after a long period with leukemia.

Coleman, a radio and television engineer, was a lifelong resident of Cape Cod. Born in Hyannis, he was the son of noted Cape artist and educator Vernon H. Coleman and Ruby E. Coleman.

A 1944 graduate of Barnstable High School, Mr. Coleman began a career in broadcasting in 1943 while still in high school at Cape Cod’s only radio station at the time, WOCB in West Yarmouth.

During the early 1960s he was employed as a member of the Department of Geophysics at WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) as a research assistant in electronics experimenting in underwater sound.

Mr. Coleman subsequently became involved in television broadcasting in the Boston area with WGBH-TV, Channel 2, where he worked fourteen years on the production of PBS programs such as The Boston Pops, Evening at Symphony, The French Chef with Julia Child, and numerous remote and studio presentations as audio producer and recordist.

In 1976, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for PBS production New Years’s Eve at Pops for the best live sound. He attended these ceremonies in Hollywood.

Television work also included eight years as staff engineer at WCVB-TV, Channel 5. During this time in Boston, Mr. Coleman was also in charge of engineering at Northeast Broadcasting School. Upon retirement from Channel 5, he continued working locally as a contract engineer for several Cape radio stations including WQRC, WOCN-FM, WFCC, WKPE, WXTK, and Boston University’s WBUR-AM. As a ten year volunteer he provided audio services for the Cape Cod March of Dimes Teleramas. He was a graduate of the Barnstable Police Academy and until recently he was a civilian volunteer for the Barnstable Police Department.

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Van Coleman

I want to thank the WGBH Alumni and staff for all the kind words and thoughts in remembrance of my father Vern Coleman. He really enjoyed working at WGBH and I have many wonderful memories of my visits at the station and all the remotes I accompanied with my dad. Those were some of my best years with my father. I will always have very fond memories of WGBH and the wonderful people there.

Vern was an uncommonly kind and modest man, always ready to give you a hand. My favorite memory of Vern is the good-natured teasing he took from Wil Morton about his socks. “Wearing those argyle socks again, I see. ” Wil would say, and Vern just grinned, never bothered.

Van Coleman

Thank you Nat for your memories you shared of my Dad. Wil Morton was at the Celebration of Life for Vern and we had a very nice visit. Wil was a close friend all these years and he certainly has a sense of humor. My dad was a serious sort but Wil kept my father on his toes!

Benny Krol

Vern had a tremendous affect on my life at WGBH. I came into the fold in 1968, I was a young kid, a year removed from the service. Right away he started to show me the ropes and became my mentor for he taught me a lot in my early years. I was the new audio maintenance kid and at that time I did a lot of audio relief as well. I worked with Vern on about everything GBH did back then from the Pops, Longwood tennis, Julia and the list goes on. Vern was a great individual who loved… Read more »

Van Coleman

Thank you Benny for your kind comments. I remember you very well as I went to work with my Dad alot at WGBH. He thought well of you and I will never forget all the wonderful times and the great people there. My Dad was amazing with his broad knowledge of Broadcast Engineering. I met so many wonderful people associated with him over the years. We all will miss his smile and his presence .Drop me a line and we can chat. I live in Vermont. What are you doing now with your career? Thank you again for your kind… Read more »