Obituary: Reverend Edwin J. Coyne, son of the late Warren and Mary O’Neill Coyne
He was the son of the late Warren and Mary O’Neill Coyne, born in Yonkers, NY on March 10, 1929.
He graduated from Holy Rosary Grammar School and Commerce HS before entering into the US Army where he served in Panama. He entered the Seminary in 1954 and finished his studies at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. He was ordained to the Priesthood on May 26, 1962 in St. Augustine’s Cathedral by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis.
He had many assignments over the years, beginning with St. Rose of Lima Parish, Newtown, CT. where he was a Parish Priest, a Chaplain at the then Fairfield Hills Hospital and a Teacher on the first faculty of Immaculate High School in Danbury, CT. From there he volunteered to work in the Diocesan Spanish Apostolate.
He went to language School at the Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce. He then was assigned to St. Mary’s Parish in Bridgeport, CT where he was engaged in many inner-city ministries especially many social service and youth programs. He was a “Store-front Priest” in Fr. Panik Village during the height of the largest housing projects in the state. After completing 4 years there, he volunteered to participate in the Diocesan Missions in Santa Cruz and Chiclayo, Peru.
Returning to the Diocese in late 1970, he assumed the responsibility of the Spanish Community of Stamford, CT where he was the Pastor at Our Lady of Monserrat. In 1974, he was transferred to St. Peter’s Parish in Danbury, CT where, as the then Director of the Diocesan Spanish Apostolate, he helped found the Spanish Catholic Community in the Danbury area. In March of 1975, he became the Chaplain at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury and remained there until November of 1981, while in residence at St. Edward the Confessor Parish in New Fairfield, Ct.
He returned to Parish work following this at St. Maurice’s Parish in Stamford. A year later, in 1982, he became the Pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Bridgeport, CT. He was there until April of 1986 when because of crippling arthritis he was assigned to St. Lawrence Parish in Shelton. In 1989, he accepted the Spiritual Director Chaplaincy at St. Joseph HS in Trumbull where he remained until 1996 with a residence at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Trumbull.
After his retirement he continued helping out in various parishes, especially in Trumbull and the Shelton areas. In 1984 he became a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in the State of Connecticut and at that time, he was the only Roman Catholic Priest certified in both Drugs and Alcohol in the State and is now an Emeritus in the field of substances. He still identified with recovering people through Programs of Recover and to the end was a very proud member of a well-known one.
Perhaps, the highlight of this involvement was to be invited to attend an International Convention on Alcoholism in 1990 in the then Soviet Union. At that event, he was honored to give a talk on Spirituality in Moscow - six months before the collapse of the Soviet Union. He continued to assist in Parishes in both the Diocese of Bridgeport and the Archdiocese of Hartford - principally at St. Lawrence in Shelton, Holy Infant in Orange, St. Louis in West Haven, St. Michael’s in Beacon Falls, St. Lawrence in West Haven and on a consistent basis at St. Therese in North Haven and various parishes in Bridgeport and those in Milford, CT.
Fr. Coyne is survived by his sister, Maureen Richetelli of Milford and by his loving nieces and nephews, Gregory Hiebert, James L. Richetelli, Jr., Patricia Firmender, Theresa Horne, Kevin Richetelli, Col. Thomas Hiebert, US Army, Timothy Hiebert, Dennis Richetelli, Julie Hodsden, Eileen Crozier, Christopher Richetelli and thirty six grand nieces and nephews, and many cousins and devoted friends.
He was predeceased by his twin brother Warren, sister Patricia Hiebert and his nephew Capt. Donald W. Hiebert, USAF.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday July 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm at Saint Mary Church 70 Gulf Street Milford, CT 06460, (MEET DIRECTLY AT CHURCH) full military honors to follow. Committal will be private. Friends and family may call on Friday, July 19th from 4 to 8 pm at Cody-White Funeral Home 107 Broad Street, Milford CT 06460.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Alcoholics Anonymous Well Services, Inc., PO Box 459, Grand Central Station, MY, MY 10163 or to Beth-El Center, 90 New Haven Ave., Milford, CT 06460.