Rita M. Coyne, mother of Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne, passed away after a brief illness on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019.  She was 91.

Rita was born in Hudson, Massachusetts, the daughter of James and Rena Kelleher. She grew up in Hudson and was a graduate of St. Michael Grammar and High School. She married her husband, Bill, on Labor Day Weekend of 1950 and they settled in Woburn in 1951. Rita’s family was the most important part of her life. She was a loving wife to her husband Bill for over 60 years, caring for him in his own long illness until his death 7 years ago. As a mother and grandmother, she was the best – nurturing, loving, kind, understanding, and supportive. She was equally proud of each of her 7 children, 13 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, seeing them as individuals and supporting them along their life path.

She was a generous and encouraging mother and grandmother, and   was never happier than when any of them visited. In her later years, she kept in touch with family and friends through her trusty iPad, sending sometimes daily emails. When her grandchildren attended college, she would send them a monthly note of encouragement and a check to help them along.

Rita had a strong bond with each one of her siblings and their families as well. She was a diehard Patriots fan, often at the top of the leader board in the family football pool. She was an avid reader and loved to garden. She crocheted hats, sweaters and blankets for her family and friends, and made hundreds of baby blankets for Project Linus.

The family’s cottages in Pine Point, Maine were the special gathering place for Rita and her family for decades and she was able to spend two happy weeks there this past August.  In that time, she “held court” and got to visit with many family and friends.

She lived her life to the fullest, a person of deep faith, who always placed the needs of her family, friends and church first. As St. Barbara’s parish secretary, she was the first person who greeted you at the door and the friendly voice who answered the phone. She always said, “My first job is to make people feel welcome.” She will be remembered for having a huge heart filled with love, faith, kindness, and compassion.

Rita was the wife of the late William L. Coyne, Jr., loving mother of Daniel Coyne and his wife Mary Ann of Burlington; Brian Coyne of Billerica and his late wife Jeanine; Bishop Christopher Coyne of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington VT; Patricia Silverman of Danbury, CT and her late husband Neal; Maureen Gillis and her husband Stephen of Franklin; Anne Marie Coyne of Woburn; and the late Terrence Coyne and John Joseph Coyne. She was sister to Kay Coleman of West Webster, NY and Jim Kelleher of Cold Spring, MN; the late Patricia Kelleher, Barbara Staniunas and Mary Durand. Rita was the proud grandmother of Lisa, Patrick and his wife Meagan, Christina, and Matthew Coyne; Melissa Connor and her husband Christopher and Jennifer Coyne; Michael Silverman and his wife Elise Heiss and Christopher Silverman and his wife Donna; Sean, Kyle and Rachel Gillis; and Molly and the late Sarah Rose Coyne. She was great grandmother to Jackson Coyne; Abigail, Anthony and Nathan Connor; and Zachary Silverman.

A visitation will be held at the Edward V. Sullivan Funeral Home, 43 Winn St., Burlington (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Friday, Sept. 6 from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. Funeral from the Sullivan Funeral Home on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 8 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Barbara Church, 138 Cambridge Road, Woburn at 9 a.m. Services will conclude with a burial in Calvary Cemetery, Winchester. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Rita’s name may be made to one of her favorite charities, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 or via www.dana-farber.org/gift. For more information, go to sullivanfuneralhome.net.