The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001053051-01
Funeral Notices

H. CLIFFORD COLEMAN Howard Clifford "Cliff" Coleman was not a religious man, but he valued the preciousness of life and strived to make the most of it. When he died peacefully at his home in Honolulu on Sept. 23, 2017, at age 92, he had, indeed, made the most of it, leaving behind a rich legacy that will long be cherished by family, friends and the community. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great- grandfather (as of the day before he died), insurance executive, stage and television actor, advertising model, radio personality, classical music expert, U.S. Air Force officer (Lt. Col., ret.), world traveler, influential political activist and more. Born July 19, 1925, in New Haven, Conn., to Howard, a professional musician, and Edrie, a bank teller, Cliff was an only child who excelled academically and was admitted to Yale University when he was just 16. After World War II started, Cliff left Yale to join the U.S. Army Air Corps. He trained as a navigator and bombardier, but the war ended before he could be sent to combat. Post-war service took him with occupation forces to Manila, then Tokyo, where he met his first wife, Jean, with whom he had four children. Cliff stayed in Tokyo after leaving active military duty in 1948, becoming the civilian manager of an Army officers club. Next he represented a food and liquor broker in Okinawa, where he founded and became the first president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Okinawa. Subsequent opportunities lured him back to Connecticut, then to Hawaii, in 1957, where he eventually became a life insurance salesman, as well as a classical music radio host, a music columnist for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and a leader in conservative politics, with groups such as the Hawaii Foundation for American Freedoms (Imua), the Republican Party of Hawaii, and Young Americans for Freedom. When he left Hawaii in 1966 to help start an insurance company in England, the Honolulu Advertiser compared him to the popular national conservative figure William F. Buckley ("Our Buckley to Britain"), editorializing, "We don’t agree with what he says but there has been nobody around who says it better." After England, Cliff’s insurance work took him to Florida, Georgia, and finally back to England, where he met Marysia, whom he married in 1973 in Florida. In 1974, Cliff returned to Hawaii, with Marysia, where he eventually closed out his successful life insurance career. Jean and Marysia met in Hawaii and became good friends, enjoying the bond they shared of knowing and loving Cliff. Cliff, meanwhile, resumed his classical music shows on various radio stations, among them Hawaii Public Radio, of which he was a founding director; wrote a music column for the Honolulu Advertiser; and did public relations work for the Honolulu Symphony. He also was a TV and print advertising model, landed speaking roles in TV shows such as "Hawaii Five-0" and "Magnum, P.I.," and continued to enjoy his wonderful life with Marysia, entertaining family and friends at home, listening to music and watching videos in his music room, traveling, and just experiencing their little slice of paradise in Hawaii. Cliff spent his "blink in time" well. Besides his beloved Marysia, Cliff is survived by his children Mark, Lori, Paul and Kevin; stepsons Jack and Peter; hanai daughter Juliet Makaila Wilkinson; grandchildren Jeremy (Kekela), Mele, Alisha, Amber and Kawika; step-grandson Jeremy; great- grandson Maikah; and three cousins. Cliff’s life will be celebrated Dec. 9, 11 a.m., at Diamond Head Mortuary chapel.