Lovida H. Coleman Jr., an accomplished attorney and resident of McLean, Va., died unexpectedly on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She was 68.
She was born on May 21, 1949, to Lovida H. Coleman Sr. and the late William T. Coleman Jr. in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Philadelphia. Coleman is an alumna of Germantown Friends School, Smith College, Harvard College and Yale Law School.
“Lovida was a remarkable woman and a true pioneer and barrier breaker,” her family said in a tribute.
“Throughout her life, she maintained a love of adventure, an impish sense of fun, a friendly and teasing manner and an indomitable and courageous spirit.”
She began a distinguished 40-year law career as a clerk for the Wilfred Feinberg, chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit. Following her clerkship, Coleman made her mark in both public service and private practice, beginning as an associate at Williams & Connolly.
She served in the U.S. Justice Department as a special assistant to the attorney general of the United States, an attorney in the Appellate Section of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department, and deputy independent counsel to the U.S. special prosecutor.
She was associated with the firm of White & Case in its Washington office before becoming a partner at the firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, where she engaged in a white-collar criminal practice.
Coleman served many organizations in countless ways. She was most proud of being a longtime trustee of the Rand Corporation, where she chaired the Audit Committee, a founding member of the Black Students Alliance of Smith College, a supporter of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and a member of the board of the Arena Stage.
Her association with Rand enabled her to serve as an international election observer in Pakistan, Haiti, Chile and Paraguay. She also served as a director of the RiskMetrics Group.
Coleman’s greatest love was time spent with her family and friends, making and eating fabulous meals, traveling the world, dancing to Otis Redding, walking the beaches and cliffs of Block Island, racing to the theater in New York and dissecting the performance afterwards over fine wine, and playing tennis. Her friends were also her family and she loved them fiercely. She loved dogs, music, tennis, intellectual arguments, Block Island and New York City.
In addition to her mother, she is survived by: her brothers, William T. Coleman III and his wife, Allegra, Hardin L.K. Coleman and his wife, Gail; nephews, Jesse, Aaron, William and Amadeus Coleman; step niece, Flavia Colgan; and godchildren, Maria Tucker Frostic, Rebecca Garland and John Wright.
A memorial service will be held May 19 at 3 p.m. at the Meeting House of the Friends Meeting of Washington, 2111 Florida Ave. NW., Washington, D.C.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Lovida H. Coleman Scholarship at Germantown Friends School, 31 West Coulter St., Philadelphia, PA 19144 or to the Lovida H. Coleman Jr. Fund at Smith College, 23 Elm St., Northampton, MA 01063.
Everly-Wheatley Funerals and Cremation handled the arrangements.