Francis X. Coleman Jr., a former partner and head of the municipal bond department of Goldman, Sachs & Co., died Friday. He was 78.

Mr. Coleman was well known throughout the municipal market and an eminent banker, friends said. He could be considered a dean of the business, said David Clapp, who was hired by Mr. Coleman at Goldman and later became a partner at the firm.

"There is almost nothing too good you can say about Frank Coleman," Clapp said. "He is almost the conscience of the entire business."

Mr. Coleman was well known for his desire to create disclosure and transparency in the municipal market long before "it was something everyone was paying attention to," Clapp said. He had a great understanding of documents and worked alongside lawyers to create many documents that are essentially still in use today, Clapp said.

He also worked in the early stages on many of the large public power projects done across the country, serving as a banker for issuers including the Washington Public Power Supply System, the Intermountain Power Agency, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Even after retiring from Goldman Sachs in 1986, Mr. Coleman remained "sought after by people for his counsel and advice," said Peter Schmitt, chief executive officer of DPC Data Inc. He joined the board of bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. as an outside director, with his experience and recognition providing a boost to the newly public company, said Schmitt, a former chief operating officer of FGIC.

Mr. Coleman was also a co-founder and director of DPC Data and Clever Devices. He also served on the board of Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx, N.Y., and Friends Academy in Locust Valley, N.Y.

"We miss him, he was a wonderful person and a good friend," Schmitt said. "He was a true luminary in the formative years of the municipal market."

Visitation is scheduled at McLaughlin Kramer Megiet Funeral Home, at 220 Glen St. in Glen Cove, N.Y., Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The funeral mass will be held Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Hyacinth Church, 319 Cedar Swamp Rd., Glen Head, N.Y.

Mr. Coleman is survived by his wife Agnes, and children Janice Graham, Ellen Van Herwarde, Denys Gross, and Francis X. "Buddy" Coleman 3d. He was also father of the late Neil Coleman.

In lieu of flowers, donations are requested in Mr. Coleman's name to Fordham Prep, East Fordham Rd., Bronx, N.Y., 10458; Hospice Care Network, 99 Sunnyside Boulevard, Woodbury, N.Y. 11797, or to a charity of the donor's choice.

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