Coleman Jennings, 86, who was active in church and service work in Washington and elsewhere for more than 50 years, died Friday at the Washington Hospital Center after an apparent heart attack.
Mr. Jennings gave up a business career in 1928 to devote full time to charitable work. By that time he already had served five years as president of the old Family Service Association in Washington and had become engaged in youth work.
In 1928, he began a year of study at the University of Edinburgh. While there, he organized a social club in a poor section of the city and the group recently observed its 50th anniversary. For some time, Mr. Jennings spent part of each year in Scotland.
From 1929 to 1932 he was associate volunteer of college work for the National Council of the Episcopal Church, a job in which he traveled widely to address student and other youth groups. He also worked with prisoners.
He was president of the old Washington Community Chest, now the United Way, for several years in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He also was chairman of the Community War Chest campaigns in Washington during World War II. He was a trustee of the Boys' Club and chairman of the Service Commission of the Federation of Churches, in addition to other work.
In 1942 he received an award from the Washington Federation of Churches for his assistance in "every Christian enterprise" and for his "splendid record" of service to St. John's Parish. In 1948 he was elected to the Chapter of the Washington Cathedral. (The functions of the chapter are similar to those of a board of directors). He was a member of the building and monuments and memorials committees of the cathedral.
Mr. Jennings was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where his father was a mining engineer.He moved to Washington with his family in 1906 and had been a resident of the city since. He graduated from Haravrd College and spent two years at Harvard Law School before being commissioned in the Army in World War I. He served in France and was an aide to President Woodrow Wilson at the Versailles Peace Conference. From 1920 to 1928 he was an assistant manager in the Washington office of the National City Co., an investment banking house. At the time of his death he was an honorary director of the Riggs National Bank.
Mr. Jennings was a member of the Metropolitan, Chevy Chase and University clubs.
He left no immediate survivors.
It was suggested that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Washington Cathedral, to St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, or to the Coleman Jennings Foundation, 1910 24th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20008.