Students, faculty and staff depend on campus computer servers, but few knew Gerald Coleman, the man who kept the servers running.
In 2005, Gerald started working in Information Services, where he worked closely with Robert Forkner, senior systems administrator. Forkner said he and his team were impressed with Coleman from the first interview, and soon learned he was relentless at his job.
“He was a bulldog,” Forkner said. “He was relentless about all the details. He researched things, he would tell you what all your options were. Sometimes his vision of the project was more than what we could actually implement.”
While Forker handles the campus web portals, Gerald’s job was to maintain the VMWare servers owned by the university. The servers host most of the data used by all students, faculty and staff.
Gerald played guitar at First Baptist Church of Buffalo Gap. Forkner and Gerald often talked about family and faith with “no judgement,” Forkner said. In 2014, Gerald went on a mission trip to Zambia, and after the trip he became a deacon at the church, according to Harper Funeral Home’s website.
“Spiritually, he was somebody that I could confide in,” Forkner said. “That’s really what I’m going to miss, is somebody I could confide in.”
About a year ago, Gerald and his wife, Paulette, moved to San Angelo to take care of his parents. Forkner said his team appreciated his work so much, they worked out a plan to allow Gerald to work from San Angelo. The biggest challenge Gerald faced was moving his 100-gallon and 500-gallon fish tanks.
Gerald had more than a dozen large fish in his home aquariums. He even put special LED lights in the tanks to emulate day and night, Forkner said.
“In typical Gerald fashion, he poured himself into it,” Forkner said.
Gerald didn’t have many other hobbies that Forkner can remember because he often spent time working on home projects for his wife. Forkner said she kept him busy renovating the house when he wasn’t working.
Gerald died on Aug. 20, 2017 from complications after a a gastrointestinal surgery. He is survived by his wife, his son Todd and wife Trixy Coleman, grandkids Ashtyn Gillie, Justin Coleman, Devon Franks, Drew Barber, Devo Coleman and Arysta Coleman, his parents Larry and Joyce Barnes and brothers Gary Coleman and Steven Barnes.
He was preceded in death by his son Shane, grandparents Robert and Teeny Morrison, grandparents Lawrence and Florence Barnes and brother David Barnes.