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John Coakley "Sean"  
The Coakley family is saddened to announce the passing of John "Sean" Coakley on April 16, 2021. As a teen boy he left his family farm in Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland and crossed the Atlantic to Washington, DC, where his parents had immigrated in the 1920s. In Washington, his father started a construction company with his brother in 1926 and his mother worked for Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. A proud son of Ireland, John equally loved the USA and served in the Marine Corps Reserve. His blood ran red, white, and blue with a strong hue of green.Gifted with a keen mind, he received a B.S. from Georgetown University, an MBA from American University and an MPA from Princeton University. As a successful farmer, entrepreneur, economist and loving father John never forgot his homeland. He devoted his unflagging energy to promoting Irish Culture and served as a president of the Irish American Club. In 1971 he organized Washington DC's first St Patrick's Day parade which marched up Massachusetts Avenue from Dupont Circle to Robert Emmett's statue.In 1977 he was honored as Gael of the year for his efforts in the Irish American community and for his philanthropic work.He also founded the Irish Cultural and Folklore Society and organized many notable Irish concerts, dances and Feis in the Washington DC area with such artists as Michael Flatley, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy, Frank Patterson, Mary O'Hara and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. He also provided entertainment to the United States Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 and the 1981 Inauguration of President Ronald Reagan.He was predeceased by his wife, Anne and his brothers, Cornelius and Daniel. He is survived by his daughter, Denise and his sons, John and Patrick as well his grandchildren, Lauren, Ana, Emma, Aiden and Claire and his sisters, Mary Falvey and Patricia Boler both of Bethesda.A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Jane Frances De Chantal Church, 9701 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda, MD on Thursday, April 22 at 11 a.m. Interment private. A memorial service of his life will be done later this summer.May the Irish hills caress you. May her lakes and rivers bless you. May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.For it is not goodbye we will say today, but Slan Leat or good-bye for now.In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Irish Historical Society, 991 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028,  

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Published in The Washington Post from Apr. 18 to Apr. 20, 2021.
Mass of Christian Burial
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11 entries
April 22, 2021
Sorry to misss the service. John was a lovely human being. I wish I knew him better.
April 21, 2021
Sean a final thank you for doing so much for the Irish community here! 2021 was the 50th anniversary of when you first led us on Mass Ave for the first St. Patrick's Parade! Thank you for supporting the Irish causes and culture! You will be sorely missed. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
Matthew McLaughlin
April 20, 2021
Sean did so much for the Irish community here in DC. I went to many of his Feis and loved all the dancing by so many great groups! I also went on a few of the trips to Ireland with the ICFS! He was truly a great Irish American!
Cindy Gallagher
April 20, 2021
I am so saddened by the Loss Of this Great Member Of our Family. Brilliant Sean, and very very much Beloved by the PONTON And Coakely Family. My Mother was the first cousin of Sean, and we always shared our holidays. Sean you are dearly Missed. May you see the green green mists on the shores of Ireland's heaven. Thank you for supporting my music over the years. You are dearly missed with Love. Cathleen Ponton King
Cathleen King
April 20, 2021
My condolences to John's family. It was always a pleasure to dance the waltz with him, and although I only knew him as a dance partner, I will miss spending that time together with him.
Svetlana Shargorodskaya
April 19, 2021
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The Yost Family
April 19, 2021
John was a regular at Glen Echo's Sunday afternoon waltzes. He had a twinkle in his eye and was a charming dance partner. He will be missed by the women, young and old, who had the privilege of dancing with a kind and witty gentleman. He will be missed. Sincere condolences to his family.
Janet Roberson
April 18, 2021
My deepest condolences to John’s family. I knew him for years as a colleague at the old Civil Aeronautics Board. We talked about our travels in Ireland where I spent many holidays. He was witty and wise.
His like will not be here again.
John Golden
April 18, 2021
My condolences to the Coakley family.
John Davis (GC '86)
John L. Davis
April 18, 2021
We are so sorry to hear of Sean’s death, RIP.
He was a wonderful, warm, witty, and charming man. We will always treasure the memories of time spent in his company.
May his gentle soul rest in peace.
Our sincere sympathies to Patrick, John and Denise as well as to Mary and Pat.

Doody family, Cork, Ireland
Kate Beechinor
April 18, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person.
We are so saddened to here of Sean’s passing, RIP.
Sean was much loved by the Crowley and Beechinor Family in Cork, Ireland.
We have lost another much loved family member but will cherish the wonderful memories of times spent together. Our thoughts go to his family Denise, John and Patrick and his dearly loved sisters Mary and Pat.
Ar Ais go Dia Lena Anam
Kate Beechinor
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