Kevin Francis Coughlin died in Roanoke, Va., on July 23 after a brief illness. He was 65.

The son of the late John and Frances Coughlin of Shrewsbury, Vt., Kevin was born in Colchester, Vt., on Jan. 18, 1948, and grew up in Ohio and Tennessee. He attended Xavier University on a football scholarship, where he excelled as fullback and linebacker (after turning down an offer to play for Bear Bryant at Alabama).

He moved to Martha’s Vineyard in the early 1970s, where he worked as a carpenter, teacher’s aide at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, and director of the CETA program. He administered the Martha’s Vineyard Housing Assistance Office and coordinated Island Elderly Housing for several years before becoming a special needs educator at the Edgartown School. He pursued a master’s in education in the late 1990s and moved to Salem, where he taught junior high in the Beverly school system.

Kevin was known for his sense of humor, kindhearted spirit, love of music and devotion to family. Much-loved stories in our family include a barely missed opportunity to play harmonica on a James Taylor album, and getting picked up hitchhiking by Joni Mitchell, both of which occurred in that magical world of the Vineyard in the 1970s.

Kevin retired several years ago to a secluded mountaintop in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. He leaves his daughter, Erin Lashnits Coughlin Herman, and her husband, Daniel Herman, of Berkeley, Calif.; his granddaughter, Ada Frances Herman, born August 10; as well as four brothers; former wife Carol Lashnits; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Steve Coughlin.