He first became an elected member to Falkirk Council in May 1999 as an SNP councillor. He was appointed Convener of Education and Leisure in 2001 until 2007. He remained a councillor between 2007 and 2017, eventually becoming the Provost of Falkirk Council in May 2017 as well as the portfolio holder for Economic Development.
He was the chair of Stirlingshire Educational Trust and a trustee of Torwood Castle Trust. He convened the Bo’ness, Denny & Dunipace, Falkirk and Grangemouth Common Good Funds.
Provost Coleman was married to Irene and had three grown up children. His career was in the financial services sector.
He was a graduate in History from Stirling University and enjoyed many interests including classical music.
Council Leader, Cecil Meiklejohn said,
“We are all completely devastated by the shock news, it is particularly difficult to comprehend losing such a strong Scottish patriot on St Andrews Day.”
“Along with a senior colleague I visited Tom in hospital on Tuesday and was greatly saddened by his physical condition although his intellect was as sharp as ever.”
“Tom was a first class Councillor and would have made a great Provost had fate been kinder and he had been given the time to demonstrate that.”
“He was a fierce debater with a sharp wit and a keen mind, few could stand up to Tom Coleman in full flight.”
“As well as being a committed Nationalist, Tom was also a man for the community with his quiet assured style and won the respect of the community groups and individuals that he represented with passion and complete dedication.“
“One of the mainstays within the SNP led Administration of 2001 to 2007, he was the architect that devised the alternative to PFI for schools and masterminded the building of four new secondary schools under the Not For Profit Model.”
“During that same period Tom Coleman turned around what was at that time, a failing Education Authority. He dismantled the failed model savaged by government appointed Inspectors, and replaced that with a structure that has seen year on year sustainable improvement.”
“The SNP are a close knit party that has often been likened to an extended family. Our thoughts are with Tom’s immediate family who must be completely devastated but we hope they will find some comfort in the esteem everyone in the SNP held Provost Tom Coleman.”
Depute Provost Ann Ritchie added,
“It was one of the proudest moments of my life when I was appointed Tom’s Deputy during the first meeting of the new Council in May of this year.”
“I have to admit to having been nervous about taking on that new challenge but Tom made it easy with his reassuring and thorough style.”
“Tom has been a dream to work with and few could be as passionate about the bigger picture in Scottish politics, particularly Scottish Independence yet could express the same passion for minor roads or house repairs, he was without doubt a remarkable man.”