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Mary J. (Rebella) CoteDecember 31, 1920 ~ August 10, 2017 (age 96)
Mary J. (Rebella) Cote left this earth on August 10 of her 97th year under the benevolent care of Alpine Nursing Home and Beacon Hospice. Her life was filled with dear friends, a large and loving family, and absolute faith. She was married to the late Joseph H. Cote for 57 years and loved to tell stories of their lifelong romance and adventures during WWII, on the golf course, and in Dunedin, FL. Every family member has been treated to the tale of their first date: Joe asked Mary to go skating with him. She said she could not because she did not know how and had no skates. The next day he presented her a pair of new skates and a fashionable white toque. He asked the same question. She said yes. And so it began.
Daughter of Frank D. Rebella and Rose A. (Leonard) Rebella, Mary is also predeceased by her sons Gerard J. Cote and Joseph H. Cote, Jr. and siblings Palmira “Polly” Carroll and Anthony “Reb” Rebella. She is survived by three daughters and sons-in-law: Rosemary “Lolly” and J. Clinton Wardle of West Greenwich, MaryLou and Bruce Langevin of Kents Store, VA, and Joanne and Neil Galenski of West Greenwich. She also leaves daughters-in-law Eleanor Ricci of North Kingstown and Karen Cote of Cranston, sister Helen Doeg of Warwick, sister-in-law Lillian Rebella of West Warwick, and devoted “honorary daughters”/ caregivers Suzanne Nunes, Debra Iafrati, and Anna Skorski. Ten grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, eight nieces/nephews, three godchildren, many cousins and countless friends brightened her days and kept her forever young and optimistic.
The Cotes enrolled all five of their children in SS. Peter and Paul School where Mary served in the Mothers' Club and parish Rosary Altar Guild. She sang in three church choirs and fostered a love of music, art, reading, curiosity, and learning in her young family. Inordinately proud of her kids' accomplishments, Mary regularly shared stories of their academic, personal, and professional successes, much to their chagrin. Over time, her tales encompassed her grandchildren's antics and careers as well. And she vehemently denied any hint of exaggeration.
Mrs. Cote was a longtime active member of West Warwick Emblem Club #454 and held many offices, including President and, her favorite, Chairperson of the Americanism Committee. She lovingly crafted an award-winning album that showcased her patriotism and was presented at the national convention. Mary was dedicated to the many charitable causes of her club, especially its scholarship fund, and she loved her Emblem sisters.
In their retirement years, Joe and Mary Cote wintered at their home in Dunedin, FL where Mary learned to golf In order to spend more time with her husband. To her surprise, she truly enjoyed the game and was particularly good at putting. Together they cultivated new friendships and a Florida family. Mary modelled her belief in lifelong learning in many ways and astonished her children by finally learning to drive at age 56 because she wanted to become more independent and visit her children more often. The new yellow Dodge Dart her husband bought her sported one of RI’s first vanity plates, MJC5. In her sixties, Mrs. Cote began serious painting, crafts, and ceramics lessons, and her many works, most notably her fine nativity sets, today grace the homes of family and friends.
Mary J. Cote's heart was good, her mind sharp, and her faith firm. She was a lifelong Catholic who had a special devotion to Mary, surrounded herself with a collection of angels, and kept a set of rosary beads in every pocket, purse, and drawer. Surely all who knew her well heard her favorite story of how at birth she remained blue and had to be rushed to the local parish priest for immediate baptism because she was not expected to survive. Eyes twinkling with satisfaction, she would tell how she fooled them all and lived to tell you all about it. She witnessed the administrations of 18 presidents and was forward-thinking throughout, adapting readily to the myriad cultural, social, and technological changes that marked the 20th century. In 1966 she owned the first color TV in her neighborhood and invited everybody in to watch it. And, of course, she fed them all as well. Her home was a revolving door of friends, family, and a few strangers who heard the hospitality and food were good.
Through many serious illnesses and surgeries, losses and tragedies, Mary Joanne Cote remained strong and loving and kind and forgiving. She leaves those valuable lessons for all whose lives she touched.
Her funeral will be held Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 9:45 a.m. from the HENAULT-GALLOGLY Funeral Home, 5 Eddy Street, West Warwick. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. in SS. Peter and Paul Church, Highland Street, West Warwick. Burial will follow in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Brown Street, Coventry. Visitation Wednesday 5:00-7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to Beacon Hospice, West Warwick Emblem Club #454 Scholarship Fund, or a charity of your choice would be greatly appreciated.