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John Richard Coon

Date of Death: August 22, 2022

Date of Birth: April 24, 1955


It is with the heaviest of hearts that we share the passing of John Richard Coon, 67, on Monday, August 22, at his home in Brunswick, Maine ,with his wife and daughters by his side.

Born to Reatha and John J. Coon, John was the youngest of three children. He was raised primarily in St. Joseph, Michigan and attended schools there, graduating from St. Joseph High School in 1973 before enrolling at Michigan State University and earning a law degree from Wayne State Law School in 1980. His work for the EEOC after school landed him in St. Croix, USVI where he soon began his own legal practice working on local and national environmental and labor cases, quickly making a name for himself for legal skills as well as his wit, charisma and calm approach.

It was in St. Croix that his future wife would venture into his law office looking for a job after finishing a recent sailing delivery across the Atlantic. Fortuitously for John it brought Helen to his door and began a romance spanning almost 4 decades. Their first daughter, Hannah was born in 1989 just in time for Hurricane Hugo to ravage the island. Their second daughter, Aryn, was born in 1991 on the cusp of Hurricane Andrew. The aftermath of the storms finally convinced he and Helen that they should move to safer waters. So, after 11 years in the Caribbean, they settled in Brunswick, Maine where they bought a farm. In 1995, they welcomed a third daughter, Hallie. With an eclectic mix of animals, and three homeschooled girls their life became a mix of mayhem and adventure. While managing his legal work John enjoyed in his spare time producing local pasture raised beef and mixed crops.

He was also an avid fly fisherman, sailer, scuba diver and golfer. He was happy traveling with his wife and family to Latin America and Europe on adventures - but riotously happy turning himself into characters such as Mrs. Doubtfire for birthday parties as well.
In 2001, John set his sights on a Ph.D in Earth Systems Science after years of feeling frustrated by what he saw as the legal world’s ineffectiveness to “actually help solve environmental issues” rather than slapping a legal bandaid on them. He graduated the same year as his daughter Hannah from UNH (he with a Ph.D, the other with an Undergraduate degree) and began “the Law Firm of John R. Coon”. For the next eleven years, he tackled some of the nation’s most intricate environmental cases. He was drawn to evolving connections between social and environmental injustices. He built a name for himself in small and large circles as someone who could communicate effectively with everyone involved. In 2020, he and two other friends became partners in the formation of Archipelago Law in Portland, Maine to continue addressing vital environmental issues holistically.

Rarely, do we encounter a person in life who has such an ability to bring people together, stand up for what is right, empathize with and work on behalf of those who could not alone pursue the justice they deserve, and with such humility. He helped everyone he could and treated clients through work the same as those closest to him, consistently offering advice and help to friends and family in times of need. He will be remembered with much love and admiration and for the idea he passed on of “help those who need you, if you can, whenever you can.”

John is survived by his wife of 34 years, Helen Coon, three daughters, Hannah Coon of So. Freeport, Maine, Aryn Coon of Brunswick, Maine and Hallie Coon of Ocala, Florida. He is also survived by his two sisters, Sara Andrews and Shirley Abraham, both of St. Joseph, MI.

Information concerning the memorial and celebration of life are forthcoming.

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Offices in Lewiston, Brunswick, and Augusta Maine.
Serving Androscoggin County, Cumberland County, Kennebec County, and surrounding areas.

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