Margaret Coyne remembers her husband going to every single one of his son’s hockey games from age 6 to 18.

And Kevin Coyne recalls his father going to visit his sister, Christine, in graduate school and meeting his mother to get chowder and fried clams every Friday in the summer.

“He’d always arrive 20 minutes early and be waiting for her, and she’d never have to wait. And he looked forward to that. They spent a lot of time together. He really adored my mother. He took care of her and she took care of him,” Kevin Coyne said of his father.

“But I consider him my best friend. He was my role model, too.”

Vincent “Vinny” Martin Coyne died Thursday at Maine Medical Center surrounded by his family. He was 59.

The Coyne family’s recollections of him are of a father and husband who built multiple businesses in Portland’s West End while not missing a single sports or school event or family meal.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Coyne purchased a rundown variety store in the West End and built it into a thriving business. He ran it by himself for years before he could afford any staff, his wife said.

“He did it all himself, but the business was second. He was quite an amazing man. I don’t know where he had the energy to do it and all these activities with the kids,” Margaret Coyne said of her husband of 37 years.

“I remember one Sunday he was working and it was a blistering hot summer day. And we had plans to go to the beach. We packed up the lunch and went to Crescent Beach, and maybe at 2 in the afternoon Vinny comes walking onto the beach with his legs as white as snow. He spent one to two hours with us before he went back to the store. I’ll never forget the kids screaming, ‘Daddy!’ “

Later, Vinny’s Variety became Coyne’s Laundromat and a focal point in the neighborhood. But Mr. Coyne’s children said he still made every cheerleading event, every softball and hockey game, and always helped them with their homework.

“When I was little, he’d go to every dance recital and every softball game. And we were horrible. We lost every single game, but he was at every one. He truly supported us 100 percent. I didn’t realize until I moved away how rare that is,” Christine Coyne said of her father.

An athlete who swam three miles at a clip, flying through the pool with flippers and a nonstop approach, Mr. Coyne was always active, his wife said.

On Fridays he played golf. Vacations in Naples, Fla., were spent swimming in the ocean.

And three times he completed the Peaks-to-Portland swim, bettering his time each time he did it.

Yet Kevin Coyne said first his father gave his time to people, whether they were his neighbors, his customers, his apartment tenants, or his family.

“He was very generous. He was a people person. He was easy to talk to, and he had a good sense of humor. I think people enjoyed that,” his son said.

“He was a good dad, a simple guy, nothing fancy. He was a hard worker. But he taught us compassion for people,” he said. 

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]