John Coyle, 85, of Saranac Lake, passed away Thursday, May 23, 2013, at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.
He was born on Dec. 15, 1927, in Derry, Northern Ireland, to Patrick and Hannah Coyle. He is survived by his wife, Claire Brown, whom he married on Sept. 16, 1957.
John is also survived by his three daughters: Jan Vize of Lake Placid, Louise Starrantino of Setauket and Erin Sullivan of Pittsburgh, Pa.; his two sons: Terrence Coyle of Milford, Pa., and Brendan Coyle of Shelburne, Vt.; and 11 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son-in-law James T. Vize III.
John was born and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland, but spent a few of his teen years in the bomb shelters of tumultuous World War II London, England, where his father built ships for the Allied forces. John returned to Derry and was sought after as a drummer by many of the ballroom big bands of the time. He eventually immigrated with his wife and children to the United States in 1967 to tour with the Emerald Show Band, which would later be renamed the Irish Revolution. During those early years as a musician, John played with elite jazz musicians such as vibraphonist Lionel Hampton.
John and his family eventually settled in Saranac Lake, but he continued to work as a musician throughout the Northeast until his retirement in 1994. Never one to rest on his laurels, John enrolled in classes at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake, graduated in 1995 with an AA in liberal arts and wrote many short stories for a variety of local publications. Around the same time, he started his post-retirement business running his ice cream truck, which served the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid region every summer until 2002. John wrote his first book in 2003, "The Castle has Fallen (The Reluctant Rebel)," which is a fictional story loosely based on his father's service in the Northern Ireland Enniskillen regiment during World War I, and culminating in the beginning of the modern troubles between Northern Ireland and the English government.
John loved spending time with his family and was never at a loss for words; he was always at the ready with a joke, a story or a piece of advice.
Calling hours were held Monday, May 27, at the M.B. Clark Inc. Funeral Home in Lake Placid. A Mass of Christian burial was held Tuesday, May 28, at St. Bernard's Church in Saranac Lake, with Father John Yonkovig officiating. Burial followed in St. Bernard's Cemetery, Saranac Lake.
Relatives and friends are invited to "light a candle" and share a memory, story and prayer for the family to cherish at www.mbclarkfuneralhome.com; click "obituaries" to open site.