Appreciation: Patrick Gecoya

Teacher, coach, guidance counselor, Lynn Journal photographer, 77

In every position he held, in every endeavor he undertook, Patrick Gecoya brought a level of excellence, enthusiasm, and energy that people admired and respected.

And he was a perfect gentleman, said Lynn English Athletic Director Dick Newton.

Newton witnessed Patrick’s multitude of talents on a professional and personal basis.

“Patrick was the justice of peace at my wedding and he was also the official photographer that day – and he was wonderful at both,” recalled Newton. “His words were so eloquently and kindly delivered. He was just an outstanding person.”

Patrick Gecoya, a teacher and guidance counselor at Lynn Tech, a legendary softball coach at Lynn English, and the face of the Lynn Journal as its brilliant photographer, died June 22, 2024. He was 77 years old.

Mr. Gecoya was the husband and companion for 31 years to Linda Lange. They met at a dance in Boston and began a special relationship, a journey of love and friendship that took them on extraordinary trips around the world and to their residence in Marblehead.

An inspiring softball coach

Kelly Curtin LaPierre was a freshman softball player on the JV team at Lynn English when she learned that one confidence-lifting gesture by your coach could inspire you onward to an All-Star career.

In the Bulldogs’ 1990 NEC championship varsity season, Kathy Kiley was pitching a perfect game.

“Coach Gecoya put me in at second base in the top of the seventh,” recalled LaPierre, who is married to Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre. “It’s funny because in the bottom of the sixth he held up the runner at third so I could get an at-bat, which was nice. If we had scored, it would have been the 10-run rule.”

As it turned out, Kelly Curtin fielded a testing groundball in the seventh to help preserve Kiley’s seven-inning masterpiece.

“It was an unforgettable moment,” said Kelly. “I said to myself, ‘Kathy’s pitching a perfect game, why is he putting me in the game?’’

LaPierre said Gecoya’s decision to place her in the lineup inspired her.

“I guess he got my career going,” said Kelly, who became an NEC and Agganis All-Star. “From that little experience, I felt more comfortable my sophomore year and after that. He was just a great person. We reconnected when Brian was running for office, and we shared some of our memories from softball. Patrick Gecoya was one of our kind. It’s a big loss.”

A respected teacher and

Former Lynn Tech Principal Bart Conlon was a teaching colleague with Patrick Gecoya at the vocational school.

“I can’t say enough about Pat,” said Conlon. “I taught with him at Lynn Tech for many, many years. He was a great guidance counselor there and helped so many students over the years. He was very professional and did a fantastic job.”

Their relationship extended to the Shoe City Golf League at Gannon.

“He was our treasurer, and I was the president,” related Conlon. “He was very efficient in his position. Everybody in the group loved him. He enjoyed golfing with us from May to October. This is a big loss for our golf league. He was a great guy to be around. When I played golf with him, I would walk the course because it was fun to chat with him all the way through nine holes.”

Patrick Gecoya was also the head softball coach when Mr. Conlon’s daughter, Melissa Conlon, played for the Lynn English High School Bulldogs.

“My wife [Diane] and I went to all the games,” said Conlon. “The players loved him. He ran nice, well-organized practices. They just enjoyed playing softball for him.”

A wonderful tribute from

the Friendly Knights of St. Patrick

William McDonald and Patrick Gecoya were friends for 40 years. They were members of the Friendly Knights of Patrick together for 20 years.

McDonald, who is the Chairman of the Friendly Knights of St. Patrick, also noted that his father, Joe McDonald (the former principal at Pickering Junior High and Patrick’s father, Guy “Chick” Gecoya were friends.

“Patrick was ever-present with the Friendly Knights,” said McDonald. “We have volumes of memories thanks to his expertise in photography, and we owe it all to him. He always provided the Irishman of the Year with a nice disc of the evening.”

McDonald also remembered fondly how meticulous and professionaly assertive Patrick was in setting up his group photographer.

“Pat wanted to get you in line for a picture in a certain way,” said McDonald. “But I started to treasure it after we started losing members. Their families used Pat’s photos for the memorial observances.”

Patrick Gecoya also had a treasure trove of memories of The Brickyard neighborhood. “We shared a lot of laughter in a great friendship,” said McDonald. “His efforts directly made an impact on the students of Lynn, because that’s what we do at the Friendly Knights. We give all the money that we raise to scholarships for the students. And Patrick particularly liked that aspect of the Friendly Knights. We’re simply not going to be the same without him.”

The Friendly Knights will hold a gathering Friday at the Italian Club in memory of Patrick Gecoya. There will be an honor guard at the church on Saturday.

A beautiful relationship

in every sense

It was Linda Lange who brought out the best and shared the greatest moments with her beloved husband, Patrick Gecoya.

“We met 31 years ago at a dance in Boston,” said Lange, who was living in Brookline at the time. “We both just happened to see an ad for this most particularly interesting event that was about theater and music.”

Together they traveled the world, making extraordinary trips, the most recent to Portugal in late February and early March.

“Patrick walked The Camino Spain – which is a pilgrimage type of walk – with our travel group,” said Lange. “He was happy.”

“It was in April when Patrick began to feel not like himself,” said Linda. “He decided he had to go to the doctor and find out. That’s when this whole spiral of sadness began.”

Linda said that Patrick – who was so strong and health-oriented throughout his life – battled hard and courageously against the cancer that had invaded his body.

“He was a trooper though the whole thing,” said Linda. “He really did everything that was suggested for him to do. He tried very hard – it just got him.”

Linda Lange and her sister, Joan, will deliver the eulogy at Patrick’s funeral on Saturday. 

They will speak about how proud he was to coach Lynn English softball to a championship, how he dedicated himself to the students of Lynn as a teacher and guidance counselor, and how much he ultimately enjoyed his professional experience as a newspaper photographer.

“The passion was there. The job was made for him. He loved being around people and taking photos and writing stories that would appear in the newspaper. When he went out the door on an assignment, he was just so happy,” said Linda.

“He did everything with his heart and soul as I always say. If he didn’t know it, he learned it. He was always creating projects for himself, teaching himself about the camera. He was never idle. He was always learning.

“I’m just so glad I knew him and had him by side,” said Linda.

And that’s how appreciatively we will remember Patrick Gecoya at the Lynn Journal. We’re so glad we knew him and had him on our team.

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