The Rev. Dr. Clifford C. Coles, Sr. (Owner/Funeral Director)
The Rev. Dr. Clifford C. Coles was born and reared in Brooklyn, New York. After High School Cliff served in the US Marine Corp at Montford Point (Jacksonville, NC). This was the Camp where the first black marines were trained in a segregated camp. These men integrated the Marine Corp. In 2011 about 500 living men who had served at this segregated camp were awarded the United States Highest Civilian Honor, the Congressional Gold Medal for valor and service to our country by helping to integrate the US Marine Corp. Later he was drafted into the Army.
Upon completion of his military service, he entered Shaw University in Raleigh, NC where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. he earned a Master’s of Science Degree in Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University School of Social Work in New York and in 1982 he earned his Doctorate of Education Degree from NC State University in Higher Education Administration. Coles has worked as a Social Worker, Corporate and Private Industry Officer, and as the first Black Dean of the School of Professional Design at Pratt Institute in his home town of Brooklyn, New York. He has been a Licensed Funeral Director and Licensed Insurance Professional for over thirty years. Cliff has served on numerous Boards/Commissions: Edgecombe County Board of Education, Tarboro, NC; Delegate White House Council on Children and as President of the Phelps Stokes Fund New York City.
Rev. Dr. Coles became an ordained Episcopal Priest in 1993. In this capacity he has served several Episcopal Churches throughout North Carolina. He retired in 2008 as Chaplain at St Augustine’s University Raleigh NC. Father Coles , as he is affectionately known, said that of all of his roles, that of Priest/Minister has been the most meaningful and rewarding. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Father Coles enjoys singing and has a most beautiful base/baritone voice. He has performed in many choirs and community college events. He even landed the role of Porgy in Gerswin’s “Porgy and Bess” an Edgecombe Community College Production of this well-known Opera. Cliff is fondly called the “singing undertaker”.
Cliff is happily married to Marsha Baker Coles and they together own and operate Baker Funeral Home in Tarboro, NC. He is the father of three children; Melanie Beth Coles (deceased), Clifford C. Coles, Jr. and Kimberley D. Coles.