May 18, 1945 ~ March 30, 2008

Born in: Buncombe Co.,
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Willa Dean Rice Coleman, 62, of West Asheville, went home to be with her Lord Sunday, March 30, 2008, at St. Joseph Campus, Mission Hospitals. A native of Buncombe County, she was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and aunt. She and her husband established Big Yanks Bike Shop at the flea market business from the ground up and worked it for 40 years. She was a daughter of the late Willard and Marie Letterman Rice and was also preceded in death by her husband, Leonard "Big Yank" Coleman; a daughter, Donna Marie Coleman, a grandson, Toby Mitchell, a sister Barbara Jean McClellan of Arden, two brothers, Jim Griffin of Georgia and John Griffin of Asheville. She is survived by a daughter, Kimberly Coleman and husband Felix Perez; one brother, George Griffin and wife Minnie of West Asheville; three sisters, Lois "Sis" Lance of West Asheville, Ruth Watson of South Carolina and Thelma Williams of North Carolina; three grandchildren, Christopher and Amber Mitchell and Candice Flores of Georgia; one great-grandchild, Demarcus Shivers of Georgia, one very special brother-in-law, Gilbert Lee Coleman of Black Mountain; and two nieces who were thought of as daughters, Serena Lance Rice of Weaverville and Belinda Miller of Enka. Willa Coleman was a special mother and friend to those who needed a mother and friend. A funeral will be at 2:00 p.m. Thursday in the Patton Avenue chapel of Groce Funeral Home with the Rev. Ken Ingle officiating. Burial will be at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The family will receive friends from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home. Donations may be made to the family to help with cemetery expenses.

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  1. May the Coleman family find comfort in knowing that just as Jesus received power from his heavenly Father to raise back to life his close friend Lazarus (John 11;43,44), he will soon use that same God-given power to resurrect Willa back to life on earth under peaceful conditions where ‘death will be no more.’ – Rev. 21;3,4. Please read and draw strength from God’s promises of future earthly events at John 5;28,29; Psalm 37;29 and Psalm 83;18. Please rest your hope in these promises during this difficult time. Take care,

  2. Our prayers and sympathy go out to your family. Your mother and aunt was such a special person. Now she is well and whole with the Lord in Heaven and surely reaping the reward of a life lived caring for others more than herself. May you be comforted by your memories and filled with peace in the days to come.

  3. sure hate to hear about wibby she has ben sick for so long she now with big yank and donna she happy now i pray that she was readdy to meet jesus. my prays with the family may god be with you…love martha and buddy gann and family


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