WATCH: Vigil held in honor of Rynfield vet

A large crowd, accompanied by their pets, gathered at Longlife Veterinary Hospital in Rynfield to honor the life of renowned vet Jesse Coleman at a night vigil on September 30.

In practice, dozens of flowers with messages, candles and ribbons were placed around the surrounding trees to mourn his death.

Dr Coleman was killed in the early hours of September 27 on his farm near Delmas.

The police found him motionless in a pool of blood with his hands and feet tied.

According to Mpumalanga police spokesman Colonel Donald Mdhluli, members of the Delmas police received information about farm watch groups on social media after a member of Coleman’s family raised the alarm about a possible attack at a farm in Klipspruit Waaikraal between Delmas and Bronkhorstspruit.

Dr. Jesse Coleman.

Police discovered that the back door of the residence was possibly broken in by the suspect(s) to gain entry.

The home had been ransacked and police suspect Coleman’s cell phone was stolen during the robbery. The theft from the house is also being investigated.

The motive for the killing is unknown and police are appealing for information that may lead to the arrest of the suspect(s). Anyone with information should call 08600 10111 or 082 527 2974.

Night watchman
Participants shared that they were shocked and saddened by Dr. Coleman’s sudden death because he played such a big role in the lives of their fur babies.

Sharing fond memories of Dr Coleman, Pastor Fredrick Weideman of Menorah Tabernacle Church in Cloverden described the vet as a man of integrity who loved nature and animals.

“I have known Coleman since 1989, but he became a member of my church in 2014.

“We had a close relationship, he was my best friend. Being a neighbor by experience, sometimes when I wasn’t busy, I would mow his lawn and chat over tea,” said Weideman.

Another resident, Ralph Barrell, said he last saw Dr. Coleman two weeks ago when he went to buy cat food at the practice.

“Dr. Coleman was a kind man whose actions spoke louder than words. I’ve known him for a long time. He gained his veterinary experience when he was 20 years old on my grandfather’s farm near his family’s home,” Burrell said.

Seen here are some of the people who attended a night out for vet Jesse Coleman on September 30 at Longlife Veterinary Hospital in Rynfield. Back: Karen Toole and Charlene Weideman, Avianna (3). Front: Caitlin Hardy grabs Arya and Toby and Jane Richman.

A colleague who worked closely with Coleman in his veterinary practice, who asked not to be named, said he had known Dr Coleman for 19 years.

“Jesse was a kind person who loved people and was very active. He loved to run,” said his colleague.

Recalling the last days he spent with Dr. Coleman, a colleague said he last saw Coleman at work on September 26.

“On September 27, when her father did not show up for work, the daughter became concerned, which was unusual, and went to the farm where she made a gruesome discovery.”

About Dr. Jesse Coleman
He was born Dec. 9, 1948, in Springs, according to Dr. Coleman’s daughter, Cathy Crawford-Nutt.

His early years were spent growing up on Lake Warden Farm in the Hoopstad district along the Vaal River in the Free State.
Coleman enjoyed hunting, fishing and horseback riding.

“His upbringing was one of humble beginnings. At the age of five, he learned to ride his own horse.
“My father attended the Bloemhof Afrikaans School and was then sent to boarding school at Potch Boys High School where he joined Milton House in 1965.
“After school he farmed with his dad for a year,” Cathy said.

Ralph Barrell ties a ribbon around a tree at Longlife Veterinary Hospital in Rynfield where dozens of flowers have been laid to honor the life of Dr Jesse Coleman.

Coleman qualified as a veterinarian in 1972 after attending the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in Pretoria.

“At that time he was married, he was the father of two children. With the help of Brian Francis and John Barrable, the former mayor of Benoni, my father purchased the current 125 Pretoria Road property and started Rynfield Veterinary Practice cold turkey.

“His first client came in one night at 8 p.m. and he spent two hours operating on his bloated cow’s abdomen,” Kathy said.

In addition, Kathy said the Rynfield Veterinary Practice was a success and in 1978 her father began farming seriously and established the Klipspruit Irrigation Company Limited, an agricultural company specializing in maize.

Also read: Rynfield vet killed at Mpumalanga farm

Coleman moved permanently to the family farm in 1987.

Cathy said that when Covid-19 hit in 2020, she sold her stake in Rynfield Veterinary Practice and started a long-term Veterinary Practice in Honiball Street, where she works full-time alongside farming.

“My father was an experienced veterinary surgeon and was skilled in treating many different animals – from lizards, hedgehogs, snakes and birds to cats, dogs and large animals.

“He loved a challenge and when faced with something complex, he learned and mastered it.
“My father was the most energetic and disciplined man I ever knew, always busy and more inclined to run than walk, especially on the farm.

“He founded the Benoni Combat Shooting Club in the 1970s and enjoyed karate, skydiving, hiking, scuba diving, hunting, motorcycling and vintage cars. He loved all things nature and for the past 10 years had been raising Boron cattle on his farm.

“He loved wildlife and in 1974 he and a friend fulfilled a lifelong dream of canoeing from Shakawe to Maun.”

Cathy said her father’s tragic death leaves a void in their lives and the lives of the many people she touches through her work.

“The family would like to thank everyone for the incredible support we have received from the Benoni community, extended family, friends and our father’s loyal customers.

“Thank you for supporting Dr. Jesse Coleman for the past 49 years. He will be greatly missed,” Kathy said.

Dr. Coleman is survived by a son, two daughters and eight grandchildren. According to his wishes, his funeral was held privately on October 4.

Also read: UPDATE: Night appointments to be held for Rynfield vet

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