Born and raised in Kentucky, Ursa attended the University of Louisville, working her way through college first as a sales person at Montgomery Ward and then as a rate- and-route operator for AT&T. After receiving her bachelor’s in chemistry, Ursa replaced a draftee at a factory making paint resins for Navy ships. She joined the Women’s Army Corps in 1944 and served at Dugway Proving Ground in Tooelle, Utah, a remote testing facility working on developing and testing toxic agents and gases. She mustered out as a T-4 Technical Sergeant at Fort Dix, New Jersey, went on to attend graduate school at Columbia and in 1946 married Walter Coleman.
The Colemans moved to Stamford in 1955, where they raised their four children. Committed to education, Ursa has been active in the Stamford school system and was a driver in developing the first Guide to Stamford Schools; ran a before-school program at Northeast for children to learn Spanish, German and French; learned Braille to translate books for blind children; was president of the Citizens School League; was elected to the Board of Edu- cation and involved in the building of Toquam, Davenport and Westhill High as well as helping to institute a court- mandated integration plan. Ursa also has been active in the American Association of University Women, Meals on Wheels, the Girl Scouts and the Senior Center.
As a small business owner, Ursa opened Needlework Corner in 1972 with 200 square feet, and when she retired in 1985, had grown the business to a 2,000-square-foot operation. She now keeps busy making hats, scarves and sweaters for her 15 grand and great grandchildren as well as crocheting market bags that she donates to churches, Good Will and the Salvation Army.