Roger F. Coleman, a former publisher of The Independent who implemented the newspaper’s move to morning delivery in 2003, died Monday morning of an apparent heart attack. He was 61.
Coleman, who succeeded Joe Vanderhoof as publisher in 2003, was at the helm of the newspaper when it endured many changes.
In May 2003, the newspaper changed to a morning delivery cycle, after being a weekday-evening newspaper for more than 100 years. The newspaper also dropped the “daily” and “Sunday” from its masthead to emerge as simply “The Independent,” with an expanded local news section. The newspaper also changed in physical appearance, as it conformed to size standards already adopted by many newspapers across the nation.
“He was a good publisher,” said former Production Editor Stan Champer. “He liked the community, the work and got along well with the staff. He went through a time when there were a lot of changes at the paper. I enjoyed working with him. Roger was fair-minded and he worked hard to continue the improvement of the paper.”
Coleman, who was the publisher of the Register-Star in Hudson and The Daily Mail in Catskill, N.Y., served two years in Ashland.
He became publisher of Hudson-Catskill Newspapers, which also includes the weekly publications The Mountain Eagle, Windham Journal, Chatham Courier, Ravena News-Herald and Greene County News in 2004.
After graduating from Southern Illinois University, he started in the newspaper business as a motor route driver at the local newspaper, the LaSalle, Ill., News-Tribune.
From motor route driver, he was promoted to district circulation manager, then moved to retail ad sales. He spent some time doing ad sales at the Tampa, Fla. Tribune-Times, then was hired by the Chronicle newspapers of St. Charles, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.
While working at the Chronicle, he moved from advertising/sales manager, to ad director, to general manager, to associate publisher, to publisher of four weekly community papers, which eventually consolidated into one daily.
He had also published newspapers in suburban Milwaukee as president of Conley Media.
Coleman was the chairman of the New York News Publishers Association Board of Directors and was the past president of the New York Press Association and a member of the board of the New York Press Service and New York Press Foundation.
He was the vice president of the Hudson Rotary. He was also a member of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Columbia County Association in the City of New York and the Community Advisory Board of the Salvation Army.
Coleman is survived by his wife, Christie Coleman, two daughters, Courtney Coleman and Ashley Kilgore; a son-in-law, Daniel; a grandson, Colton; and a granddaughter, Collins. Coleman maintained a residence in Flatwoods.