Denis K. Coughlan

May 20, 2020

Denis K. Coughlan

This service will be made available through ZOOM, on Tuesday at 10 a.m. 

Zoom ID: 745-456-9017

Denis K. Coughlan – of Woburn, May 20th, at the age of ninety-three. Beloved husband of sixty years to Margaret Nuala Coughlan. Devoted and loving father of Kevin Coughlan, his wife Maureen of North Chelmsford, Mary McCarthy of West Roxbury, Claire Iannazzi of Fairfield, CT, Gerard Coughlan, his wife Karen of Cincinnati, OH. Cherished grandfather of Meghan and Matthew Coughlan, Danny McCarthy, Annie, Emily, and Kate Iannazzi, Benjamin and Molly Coughlan. Predeceased by his parents John and Margaret (O’Brien) Coughlan of Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland, and his twelve siblings. Also survived by many beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Due to the current situation we are experiencing with the Corona Virus, arrangements are private and under the direction of the Lynch – Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn.

Denis K. Coughlan, 93, a long-time resident of Woburn, passed away peacefully with family by his side on the morning of May 20th after a brief illness, just 23 days shy of his 94th birthday. He was the beloved husband of Margaret Nuala (O’Donovan) Coughlan, of Woburn, with whom he would have celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on July 4th. Their life together was a true love story of devotion and support for each other.

Denis was born at home on the family farm in Bantry, County Cork, Ireland, in 1926, and grew up working on the farm with his brothers and sisters. He was the last surviving sibling of the thirteen. They would work their farm chores in the morning before walking to the Gurtycloona school, where Denis developed what would become a lifelong love of mathematics. Even then he was a quiet and determined young man. Unbeknownst to him, his future bride was also at the school several years behind him.

Upon arriving in Boston in 1949, Denis began working for the A&P, commencing a 32 year career. He was well-known in Woburn for years as the Meat Department manager at the A&P in the South End of town, where he was always ready with a welcoming smile and recommendation to help make a customer’s dinner table special. He served in the US Army Reserves from 1950-1956 attaining the rank of Sergeant First Class.

Denis attended the Bentley School of Accounting in Boston, and he was able to apply the skills he learned there in his duties managing for the A&P. After his career with the A&P he worked for a number of years at Kraft-General Foods (formerly Atlantic Gelatin) in Woburn.

Denis and Nuala met in the late fifties at an Irish dance in Boston, where a friend told Denis that there was a girl at the dance from his hometown. Although they did not know each other until then, they knew one another’s families, and they quickly fell for each other and married on July 4, 1959. They settled in the Central Square area of Woburn, where they lived for their entire marriage together. Through the years they enjoyed travel throughout the US and Europe, particularly their trips back home to visit Ireland, but above all Denis loved spending time in his backyard surrounded by his family and listening to the Red Sox on the radio.

Family was always of paramount importance to Denis. As he and Nuala started what would eventually become a family of four children, Denis took on the role he considered his most important one – that of loving and supportive husband and father. He joyfully shared in raising their children, and instilled in them his own love of math and music. He truly loved spending time with his children, and eventually his grandchildren, and especially enjoyed playing his accordion and singing Irish ballads and folk songs for them, often mixing up the words on purpose to get a rise out of them.

He was a man of deep and unwavering Catholic faith and was particularly devoted to the Virgin Mary. As a long-time communicant at St Anthony’s Church in North Woburn, he and Nuala contributed many years of service to the parish as Eucharistic ministers. During their times of happiness and celebration, this faith gave them an opportunity to give thanks, and during challenging times it provided them a source of great support and comfort.

Denis had a great sense of humor and dry wit. This would often take the form of telling (and retelling) some classic “Dad jokes” – of which he was the king before the term even became popular. He was always ready with a sincere smile and a lighthearted comment to lift someone’s spirits.

In his later years, Denis found great enjoyment in listening to the sounds of the neighborhood children laughing as they played in the street outside and was always ready with a wave and an occasional playful comment for them.

Denis and his wife developed many dear friends in Woburn — through their work, in their neighborhood, in meeting the parents of their children’s school friends, and later through their many social and volunteer engagements in and around Woburn. For many years, after they had both retired, they volunteered at Winchester Hospital, receiving cherished awards for their service.

The family would like to thank the many dear friends, neighbors, clinicians, and aides who provided such kind support and camaraderie to Denis, especially through his later years. He was a fine and gentle man, who showed immense patience and dignity in all situations, and was loved and respected by those in his life. We will miss him greatly.

In addition to his beloved wife Nuala of Woburn, Denis is survived by his adoring children Kevin Coughlan, his wife Maureen of North Chelmsford, Mary McCarthy of West Roxbury, Claire Iannazzi of Fairfield, CT, Gerard Coughlan, his wife Karen of Cincinnati, OH. Cherished grandfather of Meghan and Matthew Coughlan, Danny McCarthy, Annie, Emily, and Kate Iannazzi, Benjamin and Molly Coughlan. Predeceased by his parents John and Margaret (O’Brien) Coughlan of Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland, and his twelve siblings. Also survived by many beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Francis House, 39 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116.

Service arrangements pending, please check back soon.


22 Entries

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  1. Andrew (Inka) Riley

    I am saddened by the news of the loss of your Father. Growing up in our neighborhood it was easy to get to know each of our friends parents. U remember your Dad being a very nice, helpful, patient man. My sincere condolences.????

  2. Glenn Stirling

    I am so sorry to learn of Mr. Coughlan’s passing. He was always so nice to me in the years that Gerard was a member of the Boys & Girls Club. Condolences to the entire Coughlan Family … RIP …

  3. Sandra Capriulo Strong

    My deepest sympathies to all the Coughlan family, Especially Noula. Denis was a very gentle, kind man with always a nice word to say. May your memories bring you peace. I will miss greeting him at church.

  4. Sincere sympathy to Nuala, Kevin, Mary, Claire, Gerard and extended families on the death of Denis. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, who always made life much better for all who met him. One always came away smiling from an encounter with this “gentle giant.” He was a great friend. We all mourn his passing. We will miss him so much. At the same time we give thanks for his long life, and for the privilege of having him with us for so long. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the family as you take him gently to his place of rest. We are all poorer at his passing. He is now at rest in the warm embrace of his Anam Cara.

  5. Jp o Sullivan

    Deepest sympathy to all the coughlan family with love from Christy Nora and family who were lucky enough to know Denis are dheis De go raibh a anam

  6. Pat O'Donovan

    Auntie Nuala, Kevin, Mary, Claire & Gerard. I’m deeply saddened at Uncle Denis passing and feel bad that I am unable to say goodbye in person. A true gentleman. He will be missed by us all. My thoughts & prayers are with you at this difficult time

  7. My dearest friend Margaret (Nuala)…please know that you & your Family continue to be in my heartfelt thoughts & prayers as you lay your loving Denis to rest in peace. God bless you.

  8. Michael Coughlan

    To Nuala and family,
    Our sincere condolences on Uncle Denis’ passing.
    May he rest in peace.
    Michael and Mary Coughlan, Scart

  9. Eileen Keohane

    Sincere Sympathy to you Nuala and Family It’s with sadness we learned of Uncle Denis’s death. We loved his visits to us in Gortdromaugh when he came to Ireland. He was such a kind caring man.May his gentle soul rest in peace.

    Eileen & Mike Keohane
    Gortdromaugh Caheragh

    Brendan & Alan O Mahony

  10. Sharon & Vinny O’Sullivan

    Our deepest sympathies to Nuala, Kevin, Mary, Claire and Gerard, so sorry for your loss, Denis was a true gentleman xx

  11. Bernadette Clinton

    Fond memories of our lovely Uncle Denis. Always enjoyed our chats and times together. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word. RIP. Ber Richard Kate Mark & John

  12. Patricia Scott Roque

    Heartfelt condolences to Nuala and family from the Ellen Road Scotts. Denis was always a kind gentleman and a good friend to our parents. May he Rest In Peace.

  13. Caroline Jorgensen

    Sincere sympathies to Nuala and the Coughlan family. May he rest is peace. Theis, Caroline & David Jorgensen Westborough MA

  14. Dear Kevin, Maureen and all of the Coughlan family, We are so sorry for your loss. We are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.
    Love from the Pike family

  15. Michael O' Donovan

    Very sorry to hear of Uncle Denis passing. Our sympathy and condolences to Aunt Nuala and all the Family. Michael, Breda, and Family

  16. Sabrina Tinkler

    Dear Gerard, Karen, and The Coughlan Family,

    Our sincere condolences for your loss.

    May you always remember you do not walk alone ..

    Sabrina and Martin Tinkler

  17. Peter & Yvonne O'Donovan

    Sincere sympathies to Aunt Nuala and the Coughlan family at this sad time. Denis was a gentleman

  18. Marcia and Brian Kean

    We are so very sorry for your loss. He was such a good man. You’re in our prayers.

  19. Ger O' Donovan

    Very sorry for the loss of Denis. Deepest condolences to Aunt Nuala and all the family. Ger.


    Dearest Kevin and Coughlan family, Please accept deepest sympathies from our family on the passing of your beloved father. It is comforting to know that you were able to see him and spend time with him in his last days. May the sweet memories help sustain you in your time of sorrow. We wish we could give you a hug and be there for you in person. Love from us all.

  21. Dr Bob Ferullo

    My deepest sympathies and prayers to the Denis Coughlan family. Denis was one of the kindness and thoughtful persons I’ve ever known. Will miss him greatly at the 11:15 Mass each week.

  22. Ellen (Dowd) Miller

    Dear Coughlan Family,
    I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Mr Coughlan was a very dear friend to my parents and he and your mom have raised an amazing family. You are his legacy & he is your angel. My sincerest condolences and prayers to you all.

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