The many friends of Pat Couture will be saddened to learn that she passed away yesterday. She suffered from pancreatic cancer. Pat was a mother, professional singer, genealogist, ham radio operator, member of Mensa, an expert on African violets, and many other things. She was well known as a French-Canadian genealogist and, in recent years, became active in a couple of Jewish genealogy societies as well. She was a frequent public speaker, usually speaking about French-Canadian topics.
In a Facebook posting early today, Pat’s daughter, Amy, wrote: “To all who knew my mother and have been sending warm wishes, Mom passed away yesterday after her year long battle with cancer. She made a big impact on everyone that knew her. She was a mother, professional singer, genealogist, member of Mensa, and many other things. I miss her already! Thank you all for your nice words in the end. They made her happy.”
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
While I have written many obituary articles in this newsletter over the years, none have been as difficult to write as this one about Pat Couture. I first met Pat and her husband Paul about 35 years ago at a local ham radio club. That was before she became involved in genealogy. In fact, I got Pat started in genealogy a year or so later when I asked her to accompany me on a visit to the American-Canadian Genealogical Society in Manchester, New Hampshire.
I asked Pat to help me translate some of the documents I had found. Being raised in a French-speaking home and attending Catholic parochial schools run by French-speaking nuns, Pat could speak, read, and write French fluently, as easily as she did English. She also was an expert in the history of French-speaking Canada. Pat not only helped me on that one visit, she also became intrigued with the entire concept of family history research. She returned again and again to that library and to other archives for years and soon became an expert in French-Canadian genealogy.
Pat rarely appeared anywhere without her husband Paul at her side. Pat once told me the story of their first meeting. It was love at first sight. They were rarely separated after that first day and their marriage was a true lifelong romance.
Pat probably will best be remembered by the constant smile on her face and her gung-ho attitude towards anything she faced: “Let’s do it.” She devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to her family, friends, and to her many personal interests.
I’ll miss you Pat.
UPDATE: The obituary for Pat Couture has now been published at http://goo.gl/6ZPSL4.