Richard Thomas Coburn, PhD, 82, of Langhorne, Penn., formerly of Newtown, died peacefully February 27. He was born October 25, 1935, in Bridgeport, the son of the late Florence (Whelan) and Victor Coburn.
He participated in many town activities during his residency in Newtown, including chairman of the Newtown Board of Ethics, Democratic Town Committee, leader of the Indian Princesses father/daughter club, coach for the Newtown Parks and Recreation’s girls’ softball teams, and a member of St Rose theatrical group.
He was also member of St Rose of Lima Parish in Newtown and later a member of St Bede the Venerable Parish in Holland, Penn.
Dr Coburn was the beloved husband of Jeanette A. (Boscaini) Coburn for 60 years and the loving father of Laura Lee Swope and Angela May Evagash. He will be deeply missed by his family including three grandchildren, Natalie Swope, Ryan Swope, and T.J. Evagash; sister, Jacqueline (Whelan) Denton and her husband Frank; sons-in-law, Guy Swope and Tom Evagash; sister-in-law, Elaine Edgerton; brother-in-law, Secondo Gori; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins who survive him.
His sister-in-law, Dolores Gori, and brother-in-law, George Edgerton, predeceased him.
Dr Coburn graduated in 1954 from Bassick High School in Bridgeport and was a member of the National Honor Society. He did his undergraduate study at the University of Connecticut, was a member of the Educational Honor Society, and graduated cum laude in 1958. He received a Master of Science degree in education from the University of Bridgeport in 1959 and attended Fairfield University’s Graduate School to study secondary school administration. With inspiration from reading literature pertaining to the American Civil War, he completed a doctoral dissertation on John William DeForest, an authentic American Regionalist, and earned a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in English from the University of Connecticut in 1975.
Both Dr Coburn and Jeanette grew up in Bridgeport; after getting married, they built their home in Newtown, residing there for 44 years.
Dr Coburn, often referred to as “Doc,” taught English at Harding and Trumbull High Schools. He enjoyed teaching at the high school level, sharing a good outlook on life with his students. He was a professor at Sacred Heart University instructing English composition, American literature, and history of the English language. Dr Coburn was also a qualified educator in Latin and history. He served as a representative for the Trumbull Teacher’s Association and as an adviser for the National Honor Society, Yearbook, and Chess clubs.
Dr Coburn and his wife moved to the Villages of Flowers Mill retirement community in Langhorne three years ago.
He enjoyed spending time with his family, making friends through conversation, collecting model soldiers, traveling, saying a special toast at family gatherings, and relaxing with a good book or classic movie.
Mr Coburn’s loved ones say he had a special gift for enriching the lives he touched and enhancing the lives of those he educated. His eternal optimism will always be remembered with a favorite quote of theirs, from an unknown author, “As you travel through life, whatever your goal, keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.” Always positive, caring, and supportive; he will be forever in their hearts.
Relatives, friends, colleagues, and former students are invited to attend his funeral mass at 11 am on Saturday, March 24, in St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, 46 Church Hill Road, Newtown.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation, PO Box 871847, Kansas City MO 64187-1847.