On February 15, 2023, Richard Clark Coyle died at the age of 75 from glioblastoma. He was surrounded by his family in the home he loved in Seattle, Washington.
Rich was born in 1947 in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended Bishop Hendricken High School, and in 1968 received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Cornell University. Until the very end of his life, he remained a dedicated student of history, particularly of the American Revolution.
Rich graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1972 where he was an editor of the law review. As an attorney, Rich worked at Foley, Hoag and Elliott in Boston and later at Perkins Coie in Seattle from 1976 until he retired in 2016. Rich’s engaging sense of humor and his booming laugh often filled the halls of his workplace. He loved studying and arguing the law. He specialized in aviation law and learned much about aviation engineering on the job. He enjoyed explaining to anyone who would listen how lift worked to make airplanes fly. He was widely considered the aviation group’s scholar, and everyone came to him for advice on strategy.
At Perkins Coie, Rich met his wife of 37 years, Sherilyn Peterson. They married in 1986 at Epiphany Parish and settled in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle.
Rich had a passion for sports of all kinds, with a particular love for the teams of Cornell University, the Red Sox, Mariners, Seahawks, Canucks, and the Kraken. Every year he picked football road games to attend with Sherilyn for her alma mater, Northwestern University. Rich played ice hockey into his 50s, and eagerly took his family to skate on the occasions that ponds would freeze in the Arboretum. His passion for sports was epitomized in the fall of 1975, when he hosted friends to watch the Red Sox play in the World Series, as he was the only one among them who owned a color TV. He did this despite having just broken both arms playing basketball.
Rich loved traveling the world with Sherilyn and his children. Together they experienced Australia, Morocco, Southern Africa, the Galápagos Islands, and more. He enjoyed crossword puzzles, cross-country skiing, frequenting his eldest daughter’s bakery, and pretending to be annoyed with the family cats. But most important to Rich was his family. He spent hours at 5am hockey practices, hot and dusty weekends at horse shows, and many afternoons playing board games with his grandchildren. Rich and Sherilyn’s second home in the rural Vermont village of Craftsbury Common was the site of many happy family gatherings, in every season, for over 30 years.
Rich truly loved life. His relentless optimism stayed with him to the end and continues to inspire those who knew him best. Rich is survived by his wife Sherilyn and their children Max and Emily; by Rachael and Tom, his children from his prior marriage to Mary Jane Ferguson; by his grandchildren, Chloe, Leif, Wynn, and Mia; and by his sister, Dorothy. He was predeceased by his brother, Robert.
A memorial service and reception to celebrate his life will be held May 12 at 2pm at Epiphany Parish, 1805 38th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122. Donations in his name may be made to the Glioblastoma Multiforme Translational Center of Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania: https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer/cancer-research/translating-research-to-practice/gbm-tce
Rich was and will always be a dear friend, an inspiration and a brother. He taught me more about what is important than I could hope to put into words. I will always love him dearly. See you down the road my beloved friend. Bill
What a lovely remembrance. I will love and remember him always.
Rich was a brilliant lawyer who thrived in complex litigation. His passion for sports (both playing and watching) were legendary. But the most important thing to him was always his family. To all the family I extend my deepest condolences. I also offer my heartfelt thanks for sharing Rich with us for so many years. I hope that Heaven has a very special space for any dad who takes his kids to hockey late at night, who drives a horse across the country and back for a short event, and who spreads the word that the best French Pastry outside of Paris, can be found at Coyle’s Bakeshop in Seattle. Peace be with you!
I will always remember his smile/laugh – such a wonderful person. XOXO