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Toledo, OH 43614
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William C. Coyle


1933 - 2020
William C. Coyle Obituary
(News story) William C. Coyle, a fourth-generation president of a family-owned South Toledo funeral home founded in 1888 and a dedicated musician on the local jazz scene, died Tuesday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue. He was 86.

He had kidney and other health problems the last two years especially, his wife, Leta Coyle, said.

Mr. Coyle retired in 1999 as president of what had been James C. Coyle & Son Funeral Home, where he worked for more than 40 years.

"He learned as I did from our dad and our uncle before us what it meant to truly listen to people, to those families who came calling on us to handle their funeral arrangements," said his brother Joe Coyle, who succeeded him as president. Joe Coyle's daughter, Megan Coyle-Stamos, is president and fifth generation owner of what is now Coyle Funeral and Cremation Services.

"You know when someone is listening with full attention, and in that way he was able to make people feel comfortable," his brother said.

Mr. Coyle's wife said: "He was well thought of throughout the community.

"He was well loved by many people who would say, 'I remember Bill Coyle. He did such a wonderful job with my mother or my father.'"

Mr. Coyle was best known on the music scene locally as a bassist - acoustic and electric, mostly in trios and quartets, although he played with big bands.

He also played violin with symphony orchestras in Bowling Green and Perrysburg.

"He was a very good player. I considered him a good friend," said pianist Jim Gottron, with whom Mr. Coyle played on various engagements. "He was reliable. Everybody actually liked Bill Coyle."

Mr. Coyle could play the standards without music, but also was a good sight reader of original tunes or arrangements, Mr. Gottron said.

His son Christopher Coyle said: "He was a mortician during the day and [would] go out to gigs in the evening. He'd say, 'Guess who came in and played with us tonight?' And they all knew Bill Coyle."

For years, Mr. Coyle threw parties at his home featuring musicians playing in various configurations - saxophonists Buddy Sullivan and Jerry Sawicki; multi-instrumentalist Gene Parker; Mr. Gottron and pianists Claude Black and El Myers; drummer Bob White.

"Everybody in town at one time was at one of those Bill Coyle big parties. They lasted five, six hours," Mr. Gottron said.

Mr. Coyle also was a devotee of Stan Kenton, a pianist and composer best known for his powerful big bands. He collected Kenton recordings and corresponded with other followers of the bandleader from around the world.

He was born Feb. 17, 1933, to Lillian and William Coyle. He was a graduate of Bowling Green State University, from which he received a degree in music education. An Army veteran, he played in the U.S. Army Band.

Mr. Coyle was a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He was a longtime member of the Toledo Lions Club.

Surviving are his wife, the former Leta Suzor Dority, whom he married March 21, 2003; sons, Christopher and Kevin Coyle; daughters, Jennifer Coyle-Goldstein and Laura Heenan; stepdaughters, Melinda Housch and Jill Little; stepsons, Brad Dority and Chris Klueter; brothers, James, Mike, John, Joe, and Ned Coyle; sister, Kitty Doherty, and 11 grandchildren.

Friends may visit after 11 a.m. Saturday at the Coyle Funeral Home, where a funeral service will begin at 3 p.m.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Jazz Orchestra or the North Carolina Yorkie Rescue Organization.

This is a news story by Mark Zaborney. Contact him at [email protected] or 419-724-6182.
Published in The Blade on Feb. 13, 2020
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