On December 14, 1925, Michael Shields and the former Doria Chartier of West Warwick, Rhode Island, named their newborn daughter Gertrude. She graduated top of her high school class at St Xavier’s Academy in Providence in 1943, then became a bookkeeper at Old Colony Bank before marrying Clarence J. Coutu, the oldest son of a prominent Rhode Island business-owning family - the C. J. Coutu Lumber Company. The couple were married just shy of 50 years, and together they raised seven children: Michael, Paul, Denise, Diane, Deborah, Carl, and Roland. The youngest child, Roland, a major in the West Warwick police department, predeceased her in 2017. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Tragically, she lost a grandson in Iraq.
Mrs. Coutu greatly enjoyed the Dunes Club in Narragansett, RI, barbequed bananas, the bandleader Lawrence Welk, and the Hindu wedding that she and her husband hosted at the family home, not necessarily in that order. She disliked clam cakes and stuffed shirts, not necessarily in that order. And while she didn’t particularly enjoy swimming, baking, or playing pool in the family recreation room, she raised children who worked hard to do well in life – and good. She prayed a lot for her family, and others, making a huge contribution to the lives of many. She was kind. A private person.
A devoted Catholic, Gertrude Marie Shields Coutu, aged 93, died on Holy Thursday, April 18, 2019. Many friends and relatives of her generation had already passed. “I’m ready,” were her last words to her daughter Deborah, whose immense love, commitment, and personal sacrifice over many years gave her mother a quality of life that she would otherwise never have had. Mrs. Coutu was much loved and will be much missed.
Her funeral will be held Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 9:00 am from the HENAULT-GALLOGLY Funeral Home, 5 Eddy Street, West Warwick followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am in SS. John and James Church, 20 Washington Street, West Warwick. Interment will be in RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter. Visiting Hours Wednesday 4:00-7:00 pm. In lieu of flowers contributions to the Catholic Charity Appeal, One Cathedral Square, Providence, RI 02903 in her memory would be appreciated. Information and condolences please visit: www.henault-gallogly.com
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Catholic Charity Appeal
One Cathedral Square, Providence RI 02903