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Cecil J. Coleman, 86, who taught speech and drama at Geneseo State College for 18 years, died March 14, 1998, at the York home of her son David.

An associate professor of speech at her retirement in 1979, she was known for keeping in touch with her students long after they graduated. "She had a way of reaching students that was phenomenal," said Ron Shaw, associate professor emeritus of communication at Geneseo State.

Born in Irving, Kansas, the former Cecil Warders held bachelor's and master's degrees in speech and drama from the University of Kansas. She taught elementary school in Kansas in the 1930s. She also taught speech at the University of Kansas before joining the Geneseo State faculty in 1961.

In 1968, she received the Irving J. Lee Award for outstanding research in general semantics for a paper presented at the International Conference on General Semantics. She was an editorial board member of the General Semantics Bulletin and a member of the International Society for General Semantics; Speech Association of America; American Association of University Professors, and National Society for the Study of Communication.

Her husband, Merrill, died in 1987.

Survivors besides her son include a daughter, Merrilyn Gallo of Geneseo; two brothers, Virgil Warders of Tennessee and Ivan Warders of Kansas; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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