William Coyne, former congressman from Oakland, dies
Rep. William Coyne didn't have legislation that he bragged of, federal facilities with his name on them or monuments in Oakland to more than two decades of service in representing Pittsburgh in Washington.
Instead, friends say, he had a reputation for being a proud, quiet and tireless advocate, getting things done for his city.
“The word that is often used to describe him is ‘quiet,' ” said his nephew, Dan Coyne of Highland Park. “But that gave a little bit of a false impression of how passionate he was.”
William Coyne, a former Democratic state representative, Pittsburgh councilman and 22-year member of Congress, died Sunday morning in UPMC Mercy of complications from a fall this summer. He was 77.
Raised on Halket Street in Oakland, Coyne graduated from Central Catholic High School and Robert Morris University, served in the Army, and was stationed in Korea from 1955-57, his nephew said.
He was a state representative from 1971-73 and served on City Council from 1974-80 before being elected to Congress.
“Back in Pittsburgh, everybody knew Billy Coyne, but he wasn't a media hound,” said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, who served his first eight years in Congress alongside Coyne before their districts were combined.
“Bill was a classic Pittsburgher who grew up and lived in the same house all of his life” said former Mayor Tom Murphy.
“He never adopted that Washington disconnect that sometimes happens to elected officials. He remained humble and kept the values that he grew up with,” said Murphy.
On the House Ways and Means Committee, Coyne secured funding for the East Busway, initiated tax credits for cleaning up brownfields and promoted the creation of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, while supporting bills promoting civil rights, workers rights and Internal Revenue Service reform, said Coleman Conroy, Coyne's chief of staff for his entire time in Congress.
The Software Engineering Institute in Oakland was the result of cooperation between Coyne and the late Republican Sen. John Heinz, but he wouldn't claim credit for legislation or big projects in his district, Doyle said.
Coyne spent his retirement under the radar.
He traveled back and forth several times to Ireland, where the family had relatives and an old farm, Dan Coyne said.
“He took great pride in showing us around, showing us the small town the Coynes came from,” he said of a trip the family took together about five years ago.
Coyne was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings Jim, Sara, Rita, Mary and Margaret. He is survived by his brother, Phil Coyne of Oakland, and many nieces and nephews. Funeral arrangements with John A. Freyvogel & Sons are pending.
Staff writer Salena Zito contributed to this report. Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers defensive end Tuitt shifts into high gear
- Rossi: Pirates foolish to bet on Burnett return
- Rain postpones Pirates-Cubs game
- Steelers notebook: No decision on surgery for rookie CB Golson
- Steelers’ Mitchell taking cautious approach about dealing with injuries
- Authorities identify 2 men killed in fiery crash in Pittsburgh
- Thirsty pit bull turned on Arnold neighbors
- Pirates notebook: Trade movement confidence booster for Morse
- Inside the Steelers: Wide array of receiving options shine
- Storms knock out power to thousands of customers in Western Pa.
- Bridge project forces closing of Route 30