It's goodbye to all my friends
It's time to leave again
Here's to all the poetry
And the pickin' down the line
  • 50 years old
  • Born on November 28, 1968 in Buffalo, New York, United States.
  • Passed away on August 21, 2019 in Pompano Beach, Florida, United States.
Colleen loved and was loved. She was exuberant in life and persevered through many challenges. She loved her parents Dianne and Terry, and brothers and sister, Kevin, Tim and Erin. She was a wonderful mother to Jack and Emma. She and Dan married in 1990 and loved each other and grew so much together. 

Her caring attitude extended beyond people to animals. She raised her Rhodesian Ridgebacks from puppies and--today--when we say the word "Mommy?" to them, they cock their heads, whine and look to the front door. There wasn't a stray dog on the highway she didn't want to take home and one instance she did (Sugar). 

Colleen had so many friends who helped her through the most-difficult times of her life. She was constantly grateful for that. Emma, Jack and Dan are also so thankful for the kindness and support.

When you walked in the room, you knew she was there. Her personality was magnetic and infectious. A smile and hug from her lasted the entire day.   

Celebration/services are planned for:
  • Thanks to all who attended the services in Lauderdale by the Sea on September 7th.
  • Sunday, September 15th, 1:00 PM at St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Social Hall), 1066 Washington Road (Route 19), Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228. The Social Hall is in the rear of the church off of Mayfair Drive. Attire is respectful, casual. We will have open remembrances so please come prepared.
  • Saturday, October 12th, Noon Funeral Mass. Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, 43 Argyle Place, Orchard Park, NY 14127. This will be followed by a celebration of Colleen's life at Mangia’s restaurant 4264 North Buffalo St, Orchard Park, NY 14127 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Saturday following the funeral Mass.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, please consider a donation to Wayside House, 378 NE 6th Ave, Delray Beach FL 33483, They are a small, local organization providing quality services to women in need. We'll be donating some of Colleen's clothes and other personal belongings to them as well.

[9/11/19 update - Together we have raised over $2,000 for Wayside House...thank you!]
Posted by Maureen Garlock on September 11, 2019
Dan, Jackson, Emma, Uncle T, Aunt Diane, Kevin, Timmy, and Erin praying for comfort and healing. With love, Maureen (Col's cousin form Maryland)
Posted by Jessica Loeb on September 9, 2019
I feel grateful that I crossed paths with Colleen in her last two years of life. Although I know those years were often not easy, her struggle was beautiful. She was truly making progress against internal odds that I can only fathom, for that and more she has my lifelong respect. Although many never reach the top of Mount Everest, no one can take away the views seen along the way. I am grateful that Colleen had moments of healing and connection in these last years. I hope they were transcendent.

Colleen ate from the buffet of life and truly embodied the word gifted. From academics, athletics, tennis, running, reading, knitting, cooking, baking, drawing, journaling, poetry, entertaining, traveling, shopping, enjoying movies and TV, music, dancing, caring for animals, socializing, you name it! While her time on earth was cut too short, she truly packed it in in the years that she had. Her life was like the dense fantasy novels she read and loved, full of adventure, daring, twists, turns, ups and downs, mysteries, many interesting characters, and divine lessons learned.

The way she lived and especially the way she brought other people in to her life will stick with me and continue to inspire me for the rest of mine. Although Colleen was masterful at all that she did, it is really so true: "People will forget what you said, will forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel." Although she is gone physically, her memory is here spiritually and emotionally, continuing to inspire, especially through her amazing children, family members, and friends. Her vulnerability bred intimacy.

Colleen knew that I loved quotes, poetry, little bits of wisdom. She asked me to share with her what I came across, in hindsight, probably because she thought it would make me feel special and included. That was her way. A few months ago I shared a poem with her that I will paraphrase: "Life loves broken things. Life takes broken clouds to make rain, broken soil to make grain, broken grain to make bread, broken bread to give strength, broken people to heal the world." In our fix-it culture the word "broken" gets a bad rap, but I think broken is under-rated, it is one end of the spectrum and one side of the coin. Our muscles break and mend many times throughout our life to make us strong, as do our hearts. Colleen was nothing if not strong.
Posted by Lynn Klotz on September 7, 2019
So many have already said what I knew and loved about Colleen although its been awhile since we'd spoken; its wonderful to hear more recent news & stories. We had a lot of fun on the Point, enjoying music, watching our toddlers together in the sand & water. I'm just heartsick for Dan, Jackson, Emma, all of the McMahons and Coates. Godspeed Col. You are missed already and your light still shines.
Posted by Kathryn Guerke on September 7, 2019
Dear Dan, Emma and Jack,
I have been so distraught since I received the call from Dan on August 21.
Colleen was so loved by all of us. She loved us back unconditionally. Emma you were your Moms superstar! Jackson you were the apple in your Moms eyes..and Dan, the rock who kept all of you together.
We all believed in Colleen, I only wish she believed as much as we did in herself.

She was so talented whether it was athletics, or creativity. Never a project that was too much for her..and her passion for animals was over the top. A true love of all creatures big and small.

I think of her daily and it brings a smile to my face to picture her giddy giggle and her willingness to do anything, just to be together.

Please know that i am here for all of you if you want to reach out...
we loved her so much and will miss Colleen forever...
Posted by Jim McMahon on September 5, 2019
As I read the many stories of my cousin Colleen, I am deeply saddened and yet choosing to remember the precious slices of time spent with her as a gift. I will remember Colleen as I knew her- a very warm and genuine person who made you feel happy when you are around her. I remember most her smile and energy. The D.C. McMahon’s will always remember the summers, Easters, and Christmases with a smile on our faces. Colleen is a very important part of our families lives and will be missed greatly and remembered always.
Posted by Maureen Mcmahon on September 4, 2019
To the Coate and McMahon Families - Colleen was such a beautiful young woman - she will forever be missed and in our hearts.  My love and prayers go out to the family.  Aunt Maureen
Posted by Mark Werner on September 3, 2019
Dan, It is abundantly clear what a deeply loving, caring and passionate woman Colleen was. Her many gifts shine through you every day. While I never met Colleen, I know through you, your grace and compassion, that she was a wonderful wife, mother, friend and companion. May her beauty, grace and wisdom endure through all she has touched. With my prayers, Mark
Posted by Derek Michal on September 3, 2019
Derek and I are keeping you and your family in our hearts.

With Love- Michal Beiningen
Posted by Saad Chaudhry on September 1, 2019
Dan, this was such a sad and shocking news to hear. Our most heartfelt and deepest condolences to you and the rest of the Coate family. Wish Hina and I could be there in person for the services planned in Colleens remembrance. We're sending you our thoughts and love from the other side of the world. Love, Saad and Hina.
Posted by Donna Lunn on September 1, 2019
Dan, my dear friend, I am so sorry to hear the news. As many have already expressed Colleen was an amazing women with a unique style and energy. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Emma, Jack, and Colleen's family. May she rest in peace.
Donna and Steve Lunn
Posted by Melissa Prorok on August 31, 2019
My beautiful niece Colleen, she had an infectious smile and laugh that lit up the room. Colleen made people feel important and special. We are all better people for having known her loved her and had her in our lives. My niece my hero!
Posted by Anne (Clough) Kidney on August 30, 2019
Sending all my love to Colleen’s wonderful family. My heart is broken for all of you. I know the absence of someone so beautiful and loved so completely is unbearable. Growing up, and I’m sure still today, the McMahon’s home was our collective home too... and by “our” I mean Nativity’s Class of ‘82! It remains to this day the ONLY home I was ever allowed to sleep over... for Colleen’s Bday party. Years go by in a blink... seems like yesterday we played with Barbies in the front yard (got caught by Kevin w/ the Barbies smooching), ski bus & chasing cute EA boys, HS proms... and then life got so “busy.” Col’s “started” so many years before mine did with marriage and kids... and I’ll always regret not keeping in touch in our later years. Still - and I think this is true of our entire class - we share a bond that will never be broken. We laugh the same, have the same loves, priorities, work ethics, senses of humor, even mannerisms. We were SO blessed with the gift of Nativity that our parents gave us. Colleen will always be in our hearts and part of who we are - as will the entire McMahon clan. I believe Heaven is all around us, and she surely will be guiding us through our days and showing us the beauty in the world and the joy that can still be found.
 All my love and hugs. -Anne
Posted by William Dorfman on August 29, 2019
Let her memory be a blessing. Rest in peace Colleen
Posted by Kristine Miller on August 28, 2019
Is there anything like when Colleen saw you and her face opened into this sincere million dollar smile, and you could feel how much she loved you? Like the sun came right out of her. And when Col listened to you talk about something that was bothering you it was like she was trying to hear your feelings in your words and she looked at you like she wanted to read your face so she could understand how you felt. She experienced everything so intensely.

Col was truly the tenderest of vittles, so open hearted. I remember when Snooper went missing the night before her wedding (was it right before?), calling his name out and searching in ditches with flashlights. Col loved that little dog. She was so worried. (Thank god we found him or the wedding may have had to have been postponed and it was the most fun wedding ever). Or the night she accidentally hit a rabbit on a dark road on the way to the Point and it was like the end of the world - she felt so bad for that damn rabbit. It took a while to convince her we shouldn’t go back for it.

When Col was excited or happy you knew it. She had lots of different laughs, including an outburst laugh (HA!), a giggly-conspiratorial-should-we-really-be-laughing-about-this-laugh (with a demure tuck of her chin). Even her voice -- so many modulations, really high or low or whispers or shouts (usually with a smack on your arm and a NO!) and all in the space of a 1 minute conversation. Or if you told her something really outrageous she would hit you and say no and walk away and walk back, “Are you Serious!” Col’s handwriting was epic. She was left handed but even for a lefty it was completely bonkers. Like it matched the cascade of her thoughts or something. It was all bubbly and catty-wompus.

Col was drop dead gorgeous but never believed it. The woman who did her hair on her wedding day said something like, “Colleen we could shave you bald and you would still look beautiful.” She looked like a princess bride and danced like a fiend that night. I remember lessons at Jack Greenen’s dance studio in high school but Col’s moves were all her. Unteachable. Unmatchable. They defied all dance-move naming conventions.

I wish we were dancing. Or getting ready to go dancing (with Emma again to SXSW!). Or that we were little kids playing Barbies in Col’s front yard under the big pine trees. Or laughing in the Nativity girls’ bathroom. Or ice-skating on Freemans Pond or at the Y. Col could do a sort of an axel jump, I think she taught herself? It was like a piston firing - an energy burst. Like when she kicked ass at whatever sport she happened to be playing on any given day. She would crush it. Or I wish we were on the dock while she lifeguarded, talking about whatever. Lying on some old beat-up towels. A warped paperback copy of one of her Tolkien books by her side. She would probably waitressing later that day at the Sword. One of us was probably heartbroken or in love.

I try and imagine Col now with the dogs -- all of them including Snooper, and the birds (Merlin on one shoulder and Mr. T on the other), and the cat, and probably that damn bunny. And she’s started a vet clinic in animal heaven and is getting ready to go dancing with everyone she loves that’s up there with her. I love you Col and miss you. I love you, too, McMahons and Dan, Jack and Emma. Thank you for sharing Colleen with all of us and surrounding her with love and care, her whole life.
Posted by Tim McMahon on August 28, 2019
Note from the chief development officer of Wayside House...(Brooke, thanks for recommending them)

Hi Daniel,

What a beautiful tribute to your wife; I feel as if I know her through all the remembrances and photos shared. She was obviously very special and these gifts in her memory will help so much. There is such a strong history here at Wayside House and we are happy that Colleen and her family & friends will now be a part of that.

I will send thank you notes to all of the people who donate and will send you a list of names and addresses so you can know that as well. We are also grateful for the donations of some of her personal items and look forward to meeting you.
Posted by Tim McMahon on August 27, 2019
From Heather Richardson...."Hi Tim - I wish I could say something to make you feel better, but I know I can't.  I am so so sad about Colleen. All I can think of is when we were in a tent on the canoe trip ('89) planning how our life would go. I can see her beautiful eyes and big smile anytime I think of her. Colleen had a charm that made you feel like you were the only one in the room. I also know she was such a rock and best friend to my sister. Sending you and your family all my love.  She was an amazing person, and I know how hard she battled. ððð Heather (Austin) Richardson "
Posted by Mary Anne Behring Kennedy on August 27, 2019
To the mcmahon family, the few times we were in Colleen's company, our memory will be of her sweet smile. Maryanne and Patrick kennedy
Posted by Victoria Wienke on August 27, 2019
Colleen was a free spirit who enjoyed life and people. She had a smile that could melt the sternest heart and a bubbly personality that made people instantly feel attracted to her.  She grew up playing with our girls and although we didn’t see much of her when she married and moved to Florida, she always had a big hug for us when we did see her. 
God must have needed another angel and decided Colleen was the one He needed. She is now welcoming others with her big smile and making them feel at home. Colleen, you will be missed but live on in our hearts. Our love to the entire McMahon/Coate family. Harris & Vicky Wienke
Posted by Tim McMahon on August 27, 2019
From Steve Higgins........
What a beautiful woman. I'm just absolutely heartbroken. She was a gift from God to us all. An amazing, caring and energetic person.
I love you so much
Posted by Otis Boersma on August 27, 2019
I am so sorry to hear this news. When I think of Colleen, I always think of her big smile and infectious laugh. Uncle T, Aunt Diane, Kev, Tim, Erin - my heartfelt condolences during this very trying time.
Posted by Tim McMahon on August 27, 2019
We spent an incredible hour with Colleen yesterday in Florida. She looked so beautiful and at peace. We wet the floor around her with tears of sorrow. We spoke of her preciousness, her fighting spirit and strength, and her absolute beauty both inside and out. She was a special presence and will continue to be. We are all better for having been touched by her.
Posted by Linda Owen on August 26, 2019
Colleen sat in the first row, first seat in my AP English class. That was right where she belonged! I loved her because she was a brilliant student, and I loved her because she was such an interesting, warm, and wonderful young woman. We got to know each other, and I will never forget her:

My husband died young, at 48. T, her father, helped me through that time. Thank you! Not sure how I can help you now. 
Let me know. I owe you!!!

Love, Linda
Posted by Patrick Long on August 26, 2019
Aunt Dianne, Uncle T, Kevin, Tim & Erin,

I am really sorry to hear about Colleen. My mom always kept us up to speed on all the McMahon's and I will keep you, Dan and the kids in my thoughts and prayers. I'll remember Colleen fondly. With love, Patrick Long
Posted by Dan Martich on August 26, 2019
Dan, my longtime friend, I never had the pleasure of meeting your wonderful Colleen. However, the remembrance of dinner with you and Emma in Pittsburgh when Emma was just starting her college career at the University of Pittsburgh keeps flooding back. Through your beautiful, articulate, intelligent and thoughtful daughter, I could see the amazing combination of you and your wife. As we Orthodox Christians say, may the memory of Colleen be eternal.
Posted by Alice Sharp on August 26, 2019
Our hearts ache. Met many people in our lives, but no one more warm and gracious than Colleen, who was always willing to extend a helping hand. The world is worse off without her big and uplifting smile which is how we will remember her. The Sharp Family
Posted by Christopher McMahon on August 26, 2019
To all of the Coates and all the "Buffalo McMahons": Debra and I have no words that can comfort you, just our love and gratitude for Colleen and her life. I cannot imagine your grief right now. But as I read Tim's stories I almost envy the joy of your memories with her. Prayers for all of you and for your "badass" wife, mother, daughter, sister, Colleen. 
Posted by Monica Klaver on August 26, 2019
Colleen was part of our team and family at Stevens Animal Hospital and she touched each one of us deeply, leaving her legacy and love with us forever. We will miss her deeply. Dan, our hearts go out to you and your family in this time of loss. Please let us know if you need anything now and in the future. 
Posted by Ashley Pederson on August 26, 2019
Dan, my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to you and your family during this sad time. I am happy to have gotten the chance to meet Colleen, and will remember her kind and upbeat spirit. I know how much she meant to you and I wish you lots of love and support during your time of healing.

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