SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — To most people in Central New York, Peter Coleman is the friendly Irishman tapping a keg of green beer outside the pub with his name. But to Janice McKenna, he’s her best friend.
In an interview with NewsChannel 9 Thursday, McKenna said, “I thought what a rush there would have been last night when he got to heaven. People saying: ‘he’s here’ and being all excited to see him. Peter walks into a room and they want to be around him.”
In 1986, Coleman called McKenna’s advertising agency looking to consider her for commercial projects. She was hired and the two became fast friends.
She said, “Peter Coleman’s life deserves to be celebrated. He was a man among men. He was the heart and soul of Tipperary Hill. His enthusiasm was contagious. He was my inspiration and he will continue to be my inspiration.”
McKenna says Coleman will be remembered for more than his restaurant. He cared about everyone and everything around it.
Coleman bought, renovated and rented more than 25 hopes on Tipperary Hill and drove construction of the Tipperary Hill Memorial Park near the upside down traffic light and installing a Celtic cross on Tompkins Street.
McKenna was one of the first to hear of Coleman’s passing late Wednesday, after an illness the past few months.
“He couldn’t have guests for a while,” McKenna remembered. “He just didn’t have the strength. Then, one day all stars aligned and he said ‘Come on over.’ I went for what I thought would be a 10 minute conversation. I was there for two hours.”
“When I walked out of there, I thought it’d be the last time,” McKenna said. “I was more concerned where he was: ‘are you at peace?’ He was. He was a man at peace.”
A man at peace, she says, because he knows his family, his business and his community are better off because of him.
Here’s one last cheers to Peter Coleman, as the Irish blessing says, “until we meet again.”
Message from the Coleman Family
We are so very grateful to everyone for the outpouring of love after the recent passing of our father, Peter J. Coleman. Over the last few months, he has enjoyed visits, phone calls and cards from many dear friends but as always with Peter, “family came first.” He made time for all of us. We had time to laugh and cry with him, relive old memories and create new ones we’ll cherish. To the thousands and thousands of Coleman’s customers who enjoyed his antics in his younger years and his lack of a filter in later years, we want you to know that he thrived on making you laugh or making you feel a little better about yourself when you walked out the door than you did when you came in. And to the neighbors in the neighborhood that he loved and returned to a few years ago, we thank you for being good neighbors and for working to preserve Tipperary Hill. Our father took such pride in its heritage and worked so hard to keep it beautiful and welcoming. And for Pete’s sake, please remember that trash cans go in the back of the house NOT next to the front porch. That was one of his pet peeves.
We loved him and we got a kick out of sharing him with all of you. Keep the memories coming. We will never tire of hearing “Peter” stories. Thank you again.Beth Deehan, Patrick Coleman, Peter J. Coleman, Jr., Danny Coleman, Bridget Bullock, Dennis Coleman