John taught the world how to be a genuinely good man and the importance of giving back to his community.  He showed us his undying love for the sport of figure skating.  John’s sense of humor and his ability to brighten the mood through comic relief was always perfect.  No one was more gracious and humble in victory or defeat.  John was the epitome of a good sportsman, he loved his family and friends more than anything and he was loyal to the end.  His true colors never changed from television to real life and his truest of friends knew this.  John was a beautiful soul, a gentle man, a faithful friend, a strong partner, a dedicated son, a loving brother, and a child of God.

He was born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised Catholic by his parents, Sergeant Michael Coughlin and Stacy Coughlin BSN RN., and his older sister Angela Laune.  He was a proud graduate of Center High School. He is survived by his father Michael, his sister Angela (Ryan) Laune; his grandmother Nancy Holmes; aunt Margaret (John) Cochran and uncle Tom Edmondson. John was preceded in death by his mother Stacy; grandfather Gary Holmes and grandparents Charles and Rosemary Coughlin.  He leaves many cousins, nieces, and nephews that he adored.

John always looked up to his Dad, a retired Kansas City police Sergeant, as the ideal man who was always was there for those he loved.  He enjoyed watching the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs, along with his Dad through, thick and thin. John and his Dad were lifelong hunters, fishing buddies and bonded through their love of Kansas City.

John and Angela shared the deeper understanding of each other.  They always supported each other.  John will be in every coincidence and everything that makes Angela nostalgic.  Ever since they were little, they enjoyed watching movies together and making each other laugh.  Angela introduced John to figure skating.  They loved sharing music together and both recognized that each of our lives has a soundtrack.

John began skating in 1989 when he was only four years old.  Some of his greatest achievements in figure skating were:

US Championships

Two-time US Pairs Champion

2011 Gold medal with Caitlin Yankowskas
2012 Gold medal with Caydee Denney
2014 Bronze medal with Caydee Denney

Four Continents

2010 – 4th with Caitlin Yankowskas
2011 – 4th with Caitlin Yankowskas
2012 – silver medal with Caydee Denney

ISU (International Skating Union) Skate America

2008 – 6th place with Caitlin Yankowskas
2011 – 4th place with Caydee Denney
2012 – Bronze medal with Caydee Denney
2013 – 4th place with Caydee Denney

Two-Time World Team member

2011 – 6th place with Caitlin Yankowskas
2012 – 8th place with Caydee Denney

Team USA international competitor (Russia, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Japan)

ISU Leadership

Elected in 2017 and then appointed as the first ever Chair of the ISU Athletes Commission

Served on the ISU Singles and Pairs Technical Committee

US Figure Skating Leadership:

Athletes Advisory Committee for ten seasons beginning in 2007 – 2008

Vice Chair in 2014-2015

Board of Directors 2015-2017: as x-officio 2017-2019

Selection Committee

Pairs Committee

Sports Science and Medicine Committee

Judging Committee

Coaching Committee

John was a mentor to many skaters and athletes. He was a strong voice at nine US Figure Skating governing councils. He helped improve the discipline of pairs. John lived at the Olympic Training Center where he worked at the front desk with a big smile and an eagerness to help anyone who walked through the doors. He was a popular “Ice Desk” analyst. John truly enjoyed being stopped by fans, for pictures and autographs. He always made time for everyone.

John’s final coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, whom he loved beyond measure, was, in his opinion, the very best mentor any skater could have wished for.

John retired from competitive figure skating July 29, 2015. He continued to coach and traveled with Gracie Gold where he helped her run the “Road to Gold” camps. He loved working with skaters ranging from grass roots through National skill levels.

John had a gentle soul and his strengths shined through his ability to keep his cool under extreme pressure.  He was a fierce advocate for those who could not stand up for themselves and he never hesitated to speak-up for what he believed. John was a “standup guy”.

John took his own life at his home in Kansas City Missouri on January 18, 2019.

We are at a loss.  The world is at a complete loss. John will live on in the hearts, hopes and dreams of all the skaters that truly knew him. He took pride in being an ambassador of his sport and of his home town Kansas City, MO.

The visitation service will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church, 425 W. 85th Street, Kansas City Missouri 64114 on Monday January 28, 2019.  There will be a rosary at 5:30pm with the visitation to follow from 5:45-8:00 p.m.

The Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday afternoon, January 29, 2019, at 1:30pm. at the church.  Burial to follow at Mt. Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made, in John’s name, to Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation by visiting or Parkinson’s Foundation at  Assistance by Funeral Advocates, LLC.

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