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Former publisher of The Independent dies

Jan. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

A former publisher of The Independent in Ashland has died.

Roger F. Coleman of Flatwoods, Ky., died Monday at his home of an apparent heart attack. He was 61.

Before he became publisher of The Independent in 2002, he worked in ad sales at News Tribute, LaSalle, Ill., and then worked at the Tampa Tribune, Tampa, Fla. After moving back to Illinois, he worked at the Kane County Chronicle for 20 years, becoming the publisher.

Coleman became publisher of The Independent in 2002, where he worked a little less than two years. During his short time at the Ashland newspaper, Coleman made quite an impact.

One of the biggest changes made during Coleman's time as publisher came in 2003, when he made the decision to change the newspaper to a morning delivery paper after having been an afternoon paper for more than 100 years.

"A lot of changes were implemented during his time there," said Mark Maynard, editor of The Independent. "I give him credit for his boldness. I have a lot of respect for him."

The name of the paper was also changed during this time, from The Daily Independent to The Independent.

"I thought he did a good job in the short time he was there," Maynard said. "He was a good publisher. The people who worked for him liked him a lot."

After Coleman left The Independent, he went on to become the president of Conley Media in Wisconsin, and later became publisher of the Hudson-Catskill Newspaper, located in Hudson, N.Y. He was also a past president of the New York Press Association. According to The Independent, Coleman was also a chairman for the New York News Publishers Association Board of Directors and a board member of the New York Press Foundation and New York Press Service.

Funeral services will be held Saturday in Utica, Ill., under the direction of Hurst Funeral Home, LaSalle. He will be buried in St. Vincent Cemetery, LaSalle. A local memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church, Ashland. Bailey Family Funeral Home, Argillite, Ky., is assisting the family with local arrangements. Condolences may be made at www.baileyfamilyfuneralhome.com.