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Monique Yvonne Coyne

April 28, 1934 - January 23, 2021
Kalamazoo, MI


Monique Coyne Mass Live Stream

Friday, January 29, 2021
9:30 AM EST
Live Stream


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Foreign Language French Dept. at WMU
C/O Betzler Life Story - 6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

St. Thomas More Migrant Ministry Program
421 Monroe Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
Web Site

Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


The Spirit of a Woman

Monique Jako Coyne was a far more resilient woman and more loved than she ever gave herself credit for.

The only child of a Hungarian émigré engineer, Alexander Jako, and a French secretary, Yvonne Lecuyer, Monique was raised during her early years in a small Northern France mining town by cousins, “Mama Olga” and “Papa Georges” and their two daughters, Lucienne and Odette. Her parents had to work in big city, Lille, and babysitters were hard to come by in 1934 France.

At age six during World War II, after Alexander had been captured at Dunkerque and was in a German prisoner of war camp, Yvonne took Monique back to Lille to live with her and to be enrolled in elementary school. It was traumatic for Monique to be parted from the only “parents” she had really known. However, mother and daughter survived the hardships of the war years and welcomed Alexander home in 1942 after his release from the camp in a prisoner/worker exchange.

Following the war Alexander decided the future in Europe did not look good so he and his family emigrated in 1950 to the United States settling in Kalamazoo where an older brother now resided. Torn again from familiar surroundings, Monique adapted, attended college and shifted her plan to be an English teacher in France to becoming a French teacher in America.

Along the way she met college classmate, Tom Coyne, who had been captivated by her at first sight. Following graduation from Western Michigan College in 1955 they married. Monique taught high school French (and English) for one year in Holly, Michigan while Tom acquired an MA in History at the University of Michigan. Then it was off to Chicago with baby son, Tommy, in tow for six years. Monique shelved her teaching career as two more sons, Daniel and Mark arrived, days short of a year apart (Irish twins).

In 1962, the family returned to Kalamazoo and both Monique and Tom took positions at now, Western Michigan University, Tom in a series of administrative roles and Monique, with a new MA, as a French professor. In addition, the family welcomed a fourth son, Michael. The four sons produced seven well-loved grandchildren.

When a downturn in student enrollment denied Monique the opportunity to acquire tenure, she bounced back yet again with French teaching positions at Kalamazoo College and, for eight years, at Albion College.

Rather than retire, Monique then accepted an offer to start an elementary level French program at the newly established Gagie School which she conducted for the next eleven years.

Over the years, Monique and Tom traveled with their family in the United States, France and Ireland where Tom’s overseas relatives lived. As a couple the two spent their Spring Breaks, chiefly in the Caribbean and Mexico.

In her native land; in the classroom; traveling and in their long-time neighborhood on Spruce Drive, Monique’s warm and welcoming nature attracted friends who stayed friends. When the two moved to The Fountains ins 2018, Monique quickly acquired more.

Unfortunately, this period was short. Monique was diagnosed with a brain tumor which, once active, caused her death five months after being discovered. Her body allowed her soul to peacefully escape at 9:35 a.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2021 while son, Dan, and husband, Tom, were holding her hands.

Monique has been cremated. A Private Mass of Thanksgiving (which will be live streamed) will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, January 29 at St. Thomas More Student Parish, officiated by Fr. Paul Redmond, with internment of cremains immediately following at Mt. Ever Rest Memorial Park South on Westnedge Avenue. A Memorial Mass for extended family and friends will be celebrated at a later date, yet to be established, once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests those who wish make donations to the Foreign Language French Department at Western Michigan University, St. Tom’s Migrant Ministry Program, Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan or to their favorite charity.