Father Tim Coughlan
Horizons of Friendship Founder
January 14, 1926 - June 07, 2018
Horizons of Friendship mourns the passing of Horizons Founder and friend, Father Tim Coughlan.
Father Tim Coughlan was born and raised in the village of Hastings beside the Trent river and was ordained as a priest at The Cathedral of Saint Peter-in-Chains, Peterborough on May 19, 1951. At the age of 25, Father Tim began his service as a parish priest at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Bracebridge, and in his vocation, served in many parishes in the Peterborough diocese. He played a significant role in the formation of faith of many children and youth in the Catholic school system. He was a loved priest and pastor by the many congregations that he served, and his quick wit and sense of humour were enjoyed by all. He was appointed parish priest of St. Michael's, Cobourg in 1970.
In 1972, he was granted a year's sabbatical and he joined his friends Christine and David Stewart, who were working as volunteers at an orphans' village in Honduras. Shortly after their return to Cobourg in 1973, Tim, Christine and David founded the Help Honduras Foundation. It was later renamed Horizons of Friendship after programs had expanded to neighboring countries.
In addition to his pastoral duties, Father Tim guided the growth of Horizons. He made numerous trips to Central America to oversee the many aspects of community development supported by the organization. His commitment was first and foremost to people and he developed lasting friendships with many people throughout Central America. Documentaries about his and Horizons' work were broadcast on national television, including on Take 30 with host Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General, on CTV with Michael McLear, and on Man Alive with producer Roy Bonistee.
Father Tim retired as Executive Director of Horizons of Friendship in 1990. He accepted a position to serve as president of the Catholic Missions In Canada (formerly The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada) from 1992 to 1997. This posting was in Canada's North, where he traveled to support missionary activity in small communities among First Nations peoples. He spoke of the beautiful land as well as of some challenges, including the extremely cold winters (reaching an almost record-breaking -52 C in 1997) in Resolute Bay and a few hair-raising flights in the small planes which often flew in inclement weather.
Father Tim remained active in Horizons of Friendship, as board member, President of the Board and as the Honorary President of the Board until about three months before his death. At that time, he was appointed Emeritus Board Member. His wise counsel, encouragement and boundless optimism and energy will be sorely missed.
Father Tim is survived by his sister, Jean (Coughlan) Major (Bill, deceased) of Calgary, who served as the Alberta Board Member for Horizons of Friendship for 25 years. Tim is predeceased by his father, Timothy A. Coughlan, his mother Olivia (O'Shea) Coughlan, and his other siblings: Gerard, Fr. John, Paul (Merilda, deceased), Helen, Olivia and Emmett (Shirley). He leaves many nieces and nephews and thousands of Horizons Friends in Canada, Central America and Mexico.
The family is most grateful to Fr. Peter Seabrooke, Fr. Bill Moloney, the staff at Empress Gardens and Dr. John Beamish who lovingly attended to Father Tim in his final days.