"I liked Barney a lot," said Frank Carey, a Lynn baseball legend whose park league softball team was the same kind of powerhouse Coyne's Buckingham squad was. "He was a classy guy. Even as an umpire he was hard not to like. It's an adversarial relationship sometimes, but you always respected him and his calls because you know what a good guy he was."
Bernard T. "Barney" Coyne died last Wednesday at the age of 86 after a brief illness.
Coyne attended Lynn public schools and Lynn Trade, and served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He was a member of the Connery Post 6 American Legion.
He was a machinist for 25 years at Microwave Research in North Andover. But his true love, after his family and friends, was Lynn softball and the people he played the game with.
"He did a lot, for a lot of people," said Lynn's John Hoffman, who broadcasts youth sports for Lynn cable TV. "I pitched for him, and he was a great guy to work with."
Both Carey and Hoffman remember Coyne as an easy-going man who couldn't do enough for his friends and his players.
"He was an outstanding gentleman," said Hoffman. "He was a friendly guy who got along with everyone."
"When he was an umpire, it was hard to get mad at him," said Carey. "He was never on an ego trip.
"He always had good softball players on his teams, and his teams were always formidable."
He was also charitable, Hoffman said.
"He was one of those old-time guys who put his family and his friends first," he said. "And he went to bat for kids, too. In a big way. A lot of the kids who played on his teams weren't always in the best shape, financially, and he would help them out. If you needed some money, he would lend it to you — or even give it to you. He was that kind of guy."
Hoffman said that Coyne helped him through a tough stretch.
"He did quite a bit for me," Hoffman said. "At one point in my life, I needed some help. I had a few issues, and he was right there. And he was like that for anyone.
Coyne put his heart and soul into the Lynn Softball Association, service as president and on the board of governors of the organization.
And, said Carey, he was quite a competitor.
"But in a good way," Carey said. "He was a good competitor."
"He wanted to win, but he could accept losing. He didn't get mad and he wasn't a poor sport."
"He was definitely one of the good guys," he said.