September 3, 1939 - March 16, 2020
Robert J. Coley
September 3, 1939 ~ March 16, 2020
On September 3, 1939 in Little Rock, Arkansas the third son of Arie Lee Thornton Coley and Henderson Amizi Coley was born. Bobby Joe joined brothers Henderson Jr and Tommy Joe. Later Charles Lee, Johnny, and Gloria would complete this handsome family. Bobby Joe would later change his first name to Robert and introduce himself as RJ.
RJ attended Dunbar High school in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1958 he joined the Army and served honorably until his discharge in 1961.
After his discharge he moved to Portland, OR and began his 30 year career as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service. He joined the union and became a shop steward aggressively advocating for and defending fellow carriers.
During this time RJ was involved in the community. He marched and protested the showing of X-Rated films at the Walnut Park Theater on Union Ave until it closed. He worked within the Black United Front to desegregate the Portland Public School System.
In 1980 RJ met Mandy Akres who was living in Seattle, WA and had come to Portland to visit her daughter. Their relationship blossomed into love and they were married on July 17, 1980 in Las Vega, NV. They lived in Portland until he transferred to Pasadena, CA in the mid-80s. He continued his work in the union.
In 1994 RJ retired from the Postal Service and they moved back to Portland. He then began his second carreer as a bus driver for Tri-Met which he did for ten years.
RJ was an avid reader and he loved to talk. There were no short conversations with him. He also enjoyed food, savoring every morsel. Most of the time he would be the last one to leave the table.
RJ is survived by his wife Mandy Coley; his brother Johnny Coley (Marilyn) Plumerville, Arkansas; his sister Gloria Jordan, Little Rock, Arkansas; his step-children Marcella Keeton (Earl) Portland, OR, Vance Akres (Deborah) Federal Way, WA, Darrell Akres (Kim) Tacoma, WA; nine step-grandchildren; nine step great- grandchildren and numerous aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and the rest of his extended family and friends.
RJ is preceded in death by his parents Arie L. Coley and Henderson A. Coley; as well as his brothers Henderson Jr, Tommy Joe and Charles Lee.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be given to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001 or www.alzfdn.org, click here for their website. A special thank you to Ovidiu and Christina Marginean of Royal Quality Care Adult Family Home for their tireless and loving care of Robert the last four years.
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