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PEABODY – Marie Marie A. (Cola…

PEABODY – Marie Marie A. (Colantuoni) Coyle, 87, resident of Peabody, retired President of Scleroderma Foundation New England passed away peacefully surrounded by family on April 13, after a brief illness. Marie was predeceased by her husband, Walter A. Coyle, with whom she shared very many happy years of marriage.
Born in 1932 in Malden, Marie was raised by her mother, the late Katherine Ventula, and several aunts who encouraged her independence and free spirit. She is predeceased by two brothers, Jenaro P. Colantuoni and Donald Ventula and a nephew Henry Colantuoni. She was educated to be a Dental Hygienist.
At the age of 12, Marie was diagnosed with the rare disease, scleroderma. At the time, little was known about the condition and Marie’s doctors advised her that she would not live to see twenty. This ignited a spark in Marie that carried her energetically through the next 75 years. Her circle of friends grew to include other diagnosed individuals who, like her, were focused on living the best life possible with a rare condition. The momentum of interest in mutual patient support and emerging treatment led her to build an organization, the Scleroderma Society of New England. This group grew under Marie’s leadership and evolved to include a network of others around the country, becoming the Scleroderma Federation. The Scleroderma Federation gave people with scleroderma a place to share their stories and to advocate for improved medical research and treatment.
Marie served as a full-time volunteer for the organization. Her continued leadership and influence led to the creation of the Scleroderma Foundation which is, today, the world’s largest patient organization focused on the disease. She recognized the need for regional chapters to carry specific services to targeted geographic areas and to build a medical presence with specific specialists in the field. Today, as a legacy to Marie and others, there are 20 national chapters and a remarkably efficient national presence for scleroderma diagnosed individuals and caregivers. One of her greatest contributions and legacies was the establishment of the Foundation’s peer review research program. For the estimated 300,000 people living with scleroderma in the United States, Marie Coyle’s influence is immeasurable. The New England Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation is the organization at which Marie volunteered full time until she was 83.
Locally, Marie is a much-loved neighbor, friend and philanthropist. Her friends at the Great Hill community in Topsfield became her late life inspiration as she gathered them together in a formidable team of community volunteers for her annual fund-raising events. Members of the support group she established in Topsfield will surely miss her passion, her wit and her relentless mission to encourage their optimism and hope for a better future.
Marie’s personal attributes were enjoyed in abundance. There was no topic on which she was not informed and held strong opinion. Her assertiveness was legendary as were her kindness and patience. Marie would amble into a room and had that rare gift of suddenly being the most influential person present. She would lead discussion, influence confidence and assure outcome in a way that magnetized success. Her weaknesses for children and dogs made her the best aunt possible and her comfort was assured in her later years by Buzzy, her adopted dog, who quickly learned that Marie’s indulgences made him a very lucky boy indeed.
Marie enjoyed the collaboration of many key partners in her efforts to bring improved health and wellness to people living with scleroderma. Foremost, her husband Walter A. Coyle, who was her anchor and support. Her fervent hope for a cure for scleroderma in her lifetime was perhaps not realized. Still, she was gratified to enjoy the remarkable successes in the laboratories of her friends in the research arena. For those living with scleroderma, be assured that Marie never wavered in her dedication to get you to your best possible outcome.
Marie had extensive family. Gerald Colantuoni, her nephew, was a constant caregiver and companion to Marie for many years. He graciously escorted Marie to the end of her life. Additionally, Marie leaves a sister-in-law Gloria Colantuoni, Gerald’s son, Jeffrey and daughter, Jenelle Rice and many cousins
A memorial gathering will be held at Conway, Cahill-Brodeau Funeral Home, 82 Lynn Street, Peabody, MA 01960 on Wednesday, April 24, 4 to 6 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 5:45 p.m. Marie’s wish was that any donations in her memory be sent to Scleroderma Foundation New England Fund for Research, 462 Boston Street, Topsfield, MA, 01983. Please visit www.ccbfuneral.com for online obituary or post condolences.

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