The Late Judge Coughlin, ‘a Judge’s Judge’

by Hannah Garcia

After his unexpected death Feb. 9, those mourning the loss of Judge John Coughlin spoke mostly of a man in possession of vast amounts of dignity and depth.

Coughlin, a longtime district judge in Denver, died in his home after a heart attack at age 70, leaving behind two sons and a daughter, a brother, his wife and six grandchildren. Coughlin served as a Denver County Court judge from 1980 to 1985, then for two decades as a district court judge after he was appointed in 1985. He then went on to work with the Judicial Arbiter Group.

A crowd packed the Christ the King Catholic Church on Elm Street to say farewell Feb. 15. Family spoke of a man who affected many and asked for little in return.

“I’m so impressed all of you came here today, because John in some way made your life better,” his brother, Dennis Coughlin, said. “ … And it is with a broken heart that I say to John today, thanks for being my brother. I’m so proud of you. I love you. Goodbye, Johnny.”

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the February 20, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.