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Mary Constance Coughlan
January 2, 1950 ~ November 29, 2023 (age 73) 73 Years Old
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Mary Constance Coughlan passed away on Wednesday, the 29th of November at the age of 73. She went by Constance for her whole life.
Constance was born in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan 2, 1950. She was the oldest of three siblings, and grew up in Des Moines. Her father Daniel Coughlan was a surgeon, and they lived a comfortable middle class lifestyle. The family, her brothers John and Jim Coughlan in particular, were outdoors lovers. Constance spent summers at camps or at their Minnesota lake house, canoeing, sailing, fishing, doing archery, etc. Her mother Jeanne, and the family as a whole, had a culture of penmanship, writing long letters to each other, a practice that continued well into Constance’s adulthood.
After attending Andover boarding high school, Constance met Steve Blechman at Lake Forest College. The two dated for many years; they later wed and relocated to Sonoma County, CA. They were opposites in many ways, and the marriage was not meant for the long term, but they did have happy, loving, and fun years together, and from their union was born Benjamin Jasper Blechman in 1976 and Nicholas Kermit Blechman in 1979.
After divorce, Constance was in the unenviable position of being a shared custody single mother. She completed a degree in accounting, and immediately started making her way in the world while also doing her best to raise her children. She took on the world, and succeeded. Her determination and fiery personality enabled her to push through adversity. She launched her children, both of whom are successful, having good careers and loving families. She was a successful businesswoman and real estate investor for over 40 years in California, Oregon, and Hawaii.
Constance had a lifelong love of learning. She held a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Iowa, a Masters of Arts from Sonoma State University, a law degree from Empire School of Law, CPA and CMA certificates in multiple states, a Real Estate License, a black belt in Aikido, etc. This amounted to an impressive wall of diplomas and certificates that she displayed proudly, and resulted in a cross discipline level of expertise that few attain. She could be consulted for a wide range of inquiry across business, financial, real estate, protocol, etiquette, and entrepreneurship.
Constance had a strong creative streak that ran throughout her life. She played the violin as a youth. She wrote poetry throughout her life. She did pottery and sculpture in early adulthood. She dabbled in painting and other artforms. She was never content, and always ambitious. Her creativity also came out in her approach to business and investing.
Constance was a dedicated small business owner, and a proud member of the Sonoma and Napa county business communities. For the last couple decades she was president of the Coughlan Napa CPA Company, Inc, and served over 200 tax, audit, and peer review clients. She was also active in the California, Oregon, and Hawaiian real estate markets. It was hard for others to keep up, she always had some new idea or deals in the works.
Constance was a member and officer at the Rotary Club of Napa, and other organizations such as Rotary and Elks clubs wherever she lived throughout her adult life. She took pride in serving her community. She always actively engaged with community organizations such as homeowners associations. She liked to contribute to and have a say in the communities she lived in.
Constance loved Napa’s rich vintner culture, as well as catching live music at local establishments. She thoroughly enjoyed the culinary delights of Northern California. When family would visit, she always hosted elaborate dinners at local establishments, and had a strong desire to support local businesses.
When not at home in Napa, Constance enjoyed spending time in Hawaii, a place that she considered to be her second home. She would often say “Hawaii is a state of mind”. She was most at peace there, and would return to California from her long trips ready to take on the world anew.
Constance is survived by her two sons; Benjamin and Nicholas Blechman, as well as two grandsons: Asher and Caetano Blechman. She was the last of her generation, being preceded in death by her father Daniel Coughlan, mother Jeanne Coughlan, and brothers John Coughlan and Jim Coughlan. Constance lives on in the hearts of her loved ones.
A memorial will be held at the Napa Elks Lodge, 2840 Soscol Ave, Napa, CA 94558 on Friday January 12 at 2PM.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Constance can be made via checks written to:
Napa Rotary Endowment, c/o Rotary Club of Napa, P.O. Box 3069, Napa CA 94558
This is a non-profit endowment, tax ID: 68-0005112, that Constance worked on getting established.