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Concord city attorney remembered as 'one of the good guys'

Concord city attorney remembered as 'one of the good guys'

By Lisa P. White lwhite@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted:   10/13/2015 07:41:20 AM PDT
2 Comments Updated:   66 min. ago

LAFAYETTE -- Concord City Attorney Mark Coon's funeral Monday at St. Perpetua Catholic Church drew a large crowd of family, friends and colleagues who recalled him as a kind, humble man who deeply loved his family.

Coon, 55, died last week in an apparent suicide. The shock of his sudden death reverberated far beyond Concord, touching the exclusive club of city attorneys and the larger Bay Area legal community.
The funeral Mass opened with a slideshow of snapshots of Coon as a youngster, on his wedding day, cradling his newborn children and with his family.

My meeting in 2012 with Mr. Coon covered suicides 

NYPD Undercover
Phone Numbers 
So much for a
good clean investigation 
Four Suicide Deaths
Fall Down Elevator (defendant)
Accidents
FAMILY CONNECTED
TO JOHN ASHCROFT
In his welcoming remarks, Albany City Attorney Craig Labadie recalled that Coon was unfailingly polite and courteous, possessed a keen intellect, and embodied the concept of public service by trying to do the best for his clients in city government and residents while maintaining high ethical standards. While he excelled in his job, Labadie said, "his real source of happiness was his family."

"I will always remember him as the intelligent, kindhearted, thoughtful person that he was," Labadie said.
Coon was born in New Zealand and spent his early childhood in England. He graduated from UCLA and earned a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law in 1986. Before joining Concord, Coon worked at the law firms Carroll, Burdick & McDonough and Archer McComas & Lageson in Walnut Creek, where he met his wife, June Bashant. The couple has two children, Nathan, 13, and Lauren, 11.


Coon was hired in 2002 as Concord deputy city attorney. He served as assistant city attorney and senior assistant city attorney before being promoted to city attorney in 2012, replacing Labadie.

The Rev. John Kater said there are two sides to being human -- rejoicing in the great adventure of life and being deeply moved by its hardships.

"Mark embraced the challenge of being human in all its complexity," Kater said.
Although several friends said Coon believed he was fortunate to have built a life with Bashant, she recalled a colleague telling her a few weeks earlier how lucky she was to be married to Coon.

"I was lucky," a tearful Bashant told the gathered mourners. "For 17 years, I had Mark by my side."
Coon was a voracious reader who loved the outdoors and recognized beauty in the small things in life -- from the turning leaves at their Walnut Creek home to the vibrant fish he watched while snorkeling to the breathtaking sunsets at the beach in Carmel, she said. His integrity and character were unimpeachable, Bashant said.

The couple's children were a source of great pride for her husband and are his wonderful legacy, Bashant said. Coon, she added, predicted that Nathan's intelligence would one day land him the top job at Apple and that Lauren would compete at the 2020 summer Olympics as a member of the U.S. gymnastics team.
"They were truly the bright stars in the sky, along with the UCLA Bruins," she said, drawing chuckles from an otherwise somber crowd.

Steve Welch was part of a group of young guys, including Coon, who took hiking and backpacking trips to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Welch said he will remember his friend of more than two decades as Coon appeared in a photo from one of those trips, flashing a wide grin at the top of Half Dome.

"He was honest, he was fair, he never bent the rules, he never cut corners," said Welch, an attorney. "He was one of the good guys." Kevin Wong, who developed a close friendship with Coon after their sons started kindergarten at Parkmead Elementary School in Walnut Creek, said he'll miss Coon's wisdom, dry sense of humor and smile that could light up a room.

"Thank you for making me part of your life," said Wong, his voice dissolving into tears. "It's been an honor to be your friend. Please rest in peace."

Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.
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