Patrick Coyle, Sr. remembered for his laugh, compassion and love for music
February 4, 2013By Carrie Hagen for NewsWorks
The event took place on Saturday at St. John the Baptist Church in Manayunk.
Patrick Coyle, Sr. always kept an eye on his friends and family.
His 24-year-old niece, Samantha Coyle, said he never let her walk home alone from the family's former business, Coyle's Cafe, late at night.
"Even though I only lived three blocks away," she said, "he would still walk me home."
Theresa Coyle, one of Patrick's eight siblings, said her brother didn't own a car, so he walked everywhere and never let others walk home alone.
In the early morning of New Year's Day, a car struck Patrick Coyle, 50, on City Avenue as he walked home alone from a friend's New Year's Eve party. The driver fled the scene, leaving Coyle to die within minutes.
As NewsWorks reported last week, the Coyle family and the Citizens Crime Commission partnered to offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the car and driver.
On Saturday night, the Coyle family held a fundraiser in his memory at St. John the Baptist Church in Manayunk. Patrick Coyle, Jr., 25, told NewsWorks that the $14,000 raised would help cover funeral expenses and increase the reward amount.
Of the more than 400 people who attended the memorial event, many grew up in Roxborough alongside different generations of the large Coyle family.
"Around Roxborough," said attendee Beth Berry, "You say the name 'Coyle' and everyone knows who you're talking about."
'He was the life of the party'
Five generations of Coyles have grown up in Roxborough after the family emigrated from Ireland. Patrick Coyle, Sr. lived in the neighborhood for most of his life and graduated from Roxborough High School. He left behind two children and two stepchildren, the youngest of whom is 13. His oldest child, Patrick, Jr., summarized his father in one sentence. "He was a fun-loving guy who always wanted to see a smile on your face." Samantha Coyle agreed. "He was the life of the party, even in a bad situation."
Jerry Chicchi, 25, grew up surrounded by the family and said he was shocked to hear the news of Coyle's death on New Year's morning. When Chicci's cousin died two years ago, it was Coyle, his best friend's father, who helped him grieve.
"He was the friendliest guy I ever met," said Chicchi. "He was always out there to do something for everyone."
To help with the benefit, Chicchi and his girlfriend Kristen Monaghan wrote letters to local businesses soliciting donations. They collected and packaged over 25 raffle baskets.
To raise awareness of Coyle's death, Samantha and Theresa Coyle started a Facebook page in his honor. The family spent two weeks mourning, said Samantha, before they became determined to spread the story of her uncle's death.
"It's not about prosecuting someone as much as it's about finding closure," she continued.
When asked for memories about her brother, Theresa Coyle smiled. "Our whole family is known for our laugh," she said. "But he had the best laugh out of all of us. It was like Woody Woodpecker laughing."
Patrick also loved music. He had a habit of writing down the titles of songs he liked so that he could download them later. Patrick would be thrilled, Theresa said, if he knew they were throwing him a benefit.
"My brother would look at this and say, 'Wow, this is for me? Let's get this party started!'"
Patrick Coyle Sr. carried his love of music with him when he died. After the hit and run driver fled the scene, investigators searched Patrick's clothes for identification, where they found a list of song titles in his pocket.