ROCKPORT — Bill Coyne: husband, father, son, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, friend, landscape architect, sculptor, builder/craftsman and researcher extraordinaire died on Saturday, June 27 from Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), a rare, progressive neurodegenerative disease. He was 70 years old.
Born in Batavia, New York, Bill became a Mainer at age 8 after his father died and his mother moved the family back to their native Auburn. He was an avid Nordic skier in high school and later played competitive tennis at University of Maine at Orono. He continued to play regularly and even competitively through the USTA until the balance and mobility issues associated with CBD made it impossible.
Studying philosophy at UMO enriched Bill’s mind but didn’t contribute to life skills needed to make a living. With a mechanical mind, the patience for fine craftsmanship, and a growing interest in sculpture, he became Maine sculptor Bernard (Blackie) Langlais’s assistant in 1974 until his death in 1977. The two would hash out ideas that Bill would fabricate and Blackie would embellish. Subsequently, Bill studied art at the New York
Studio School and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, which he attended on the William Zorach Scholarship.
Bill’s interest in sculpture evolved into a career as a landscape architect. He earned a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1991. After graduation the family moved to New Haven, Connecticut where Bill practiced landscape architecture at several firms over 25 years before returning to his beloved Maine.
In 1979 Bill met Paula, his future wife and soul mate. They were married on Raspberry Island in Port Clyde, Maine in 1984. The love of their lives, Laura, was born in 1990. Bill and Paula shared an appreciation for art and good design that was evident in the three homes they lived in over their 41 years together. Their last collaboration was the home and barn in Rockport, Maine that Bill designed and built.
Bill was predeceased by his father, William; mother, Joyce; and brother, Jack Coyne.
He leaves behind his wife, Paula; daughter, Laura and her partner Josh Gerritsen; brother, Don Coyne (Angie); nieces Heather Sjoquist (Scott) and children Maya and Emmett; and Jessica Mitchell and her children Brooke, Madison and Tyler; plus numerous cousins.
CBD brought many challenges to the family that were lightened by a loving community of family and friends who rallied around Bill. Their support made it possible for him to continue working on the projects he loved and wanted desperately to complete.
Paula and Laura thank the staff of the Sussman House who cared for Bill and allowed them to be together as a family during the last two weeks of his life. It was Bill’s wish that his brain be donated to the Department of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Those who wish may make a tribute donation in Bill’s name at www.curepsp.org/iwanttohelp/ways-to-give/
Bill had a unique way of expressing himself through metaphors, which could be enchanting and exasperating. His approach to task was razor-focused and planned down to the tiniest detail. He was quirky and brilliant and will be missed terribly by all who had the good fortune to know him.