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Obituary (FL): Donald Thomas Coughlin '62

Posted on 01/13/2020

Don Coughlin, an early computer science innovator, died of cancer on January 10, 2020 in Palm Harbor, FL. He was 78. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1962, Don took a commission in the Air Force, where he worked on the first automated tactical intelligence systems. He then studied under famed computer pioneer Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. at the University of North Carolina, where Don earned one of the institution's first master's degrees in computer science. He went on to a 30 year career at professional services firms KPMG and IBM. As a partner at KPMG, Don developed and led the firm's national information systems development practice, then led the IT practice in the New York region. While Don enjoyed a successful career in technology, his true passion was his family. He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 53 years, Patricia; his children, Erica, Shannon, Stephen and Jonathan; his sister, Pamela; his brother, Daniel; and 11 grandchildren. The family, who will celebrate Don's life in a private ceremony, has been heartened by the outpouring of tributes from Don's friends and former colleagues. They remember him as a singularly kind, generous and compassionate man with a sharp wit and strong intellect. Many mention what a history buff he was, exemplified in the novel he wrote about the JKF assassination. Others talk about his lifelong interest in golf, politics and community service. His USNA classmates point out that Don, a Navy football fan extraordinaire, attended 62 consecutive Army-Navy football games, an alumni record.

Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 12, 2020