Monument of the Month: Gene Coyle memorial plaque
The Gene Coyle Memorial Plaque is located on the upper level of the Mather Community Center inside the Darien Town Hall. Gene died on June 20, 2016 and his memorial plaque was dedicated a year later in time for November 2017 Veterans Day in keeping with Darien’s Monuments and Ceremonies Commission Guidelines. The plaque reads: “In memory of Gene Coyle Dedicated to family, community, and country. Gene served in the United States Marine Corps during the Cold War era and was a leading member of the Representative Town Meeting for more than 25 years.”
The plaque includes a photo of Gene taken by Darien Times photographer, Laureen Vellante, with a little girl, Clare Molloy, on Memorial Day 2010. The photo was reprinted in 2016 when the Darien Times dedicated its Memorial Day section to Gene who was instrumental in supporting that section of the paper every year and it included an Editorial: “Decades- Gene Coyle, an exemplary life.” Gene enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1945 at age 16.
An ad hoc committee composed of Joe Pankowski, Ray Slavin, Phil Kraft, Steve Olvany and Seth Morton developed a plan for a fitting memorial for Gene, and held a reception after the dedication at Town Hall. Gene was a loving husband to his wife, Joan who died in 2013 and a dedicated father and grandfather. A genial, patriotic, well-known and well-liked town volunteer, Gene was a five-decade employee of Time Magazine retiring in 1993. According to many residents of Darien, Gene was considered a “Town Father.”
Some information for this article taken from May 24, 2013 issue of the Darien Times.