May 28, 2020
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Contributed | BDN
Contributed | BDN

OLD TOWN – Richard R. Cote, 73, died Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, in Auburn, after a valiant, seven-year battle with cancer. He was born Jan. 13, 1937, at Ma Bean’s Boarding House and Midwifery, to Elda (Pineau) Cote and Joseph Roland Cote of Livemore Falls. He contracted polio as an infant. He was the eldest of 9 children, and attended Livemore Falls schools. In 1950 and 1951 he attended and was junior counselor at Pine Tree Camp, North Pond, Rome, which nurtured his lifelong love of the outdoors. His time at Pine Tree Camp left a lasting impact, as he enjoyed fishing, canoeing, swimming and exploring the natural beauty of Maine for the rest of his life. He graduated from Livermore Falls High School in 1955 as president of his graduating class. He went on to attend the University of Maine at Farmington, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1959. While at UMF he was a member of the Kappa Delta Phi fraternity. On June 27, 1959, he married Lila (Fournier) Cote, formerly of Jay, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Jay. The couple divorced in 1998. Early in his career he taught elementary school in North Jay and served as teacher and vice principal at Myrtle Street Grammar School, Waterville. Inspired by the Johnson Administration’s “Great Society” reform program, he returned to school in the mid-1960s to earn a master’s degree in social work from Boston College in 1966. While in graduate school his family grew to include four children. While pursuing his master’s degree in social work, the family lived in Boston’s largely minority Roxbury neighborhood during the early days of school bussing unrest. After graduation in 1966, the family moved to Owl’s Head, and later to Rockland. He took a position as social worker with Knox County, where he worked from 1966 to 1970. In 1970 the family moved to Waterville, where they settled for more than 30 years. He was a social worker with Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers adoption agency from 1970 to 1973 before taking a position as a licensed clinical social worker with Kennebec Valley Mental Health Center, where he was director of consultation and education. He provided clinical mental health counseling to families and individuals from the Waterville/Central Maine area until his retirement in 2001. He was a member of Maine Elks Association, Lodge No. 905 for 20 years. In addition to being an avid fisherman, which took him to remote water bodies throughout the state, he loved to explore Maine, from the wilderness of Baxter State Park to the rocky coastline from Eastport to Reid State Park. Despite his disability, he climbed Mount Katahdin and many other mountains in Baxter State Park and western Maine, canoed the Allagash, whitewater rafted and explored Acadia National Park. He was active in cycling and swimming until his illness. For many years he made an annual pilgrimage to Kidney Pond in Baxter State Park, where he would camp at Lone Pine No. 1 with a view of “The Greatest Mountain” from the front porch. He revered nature and the natural beauty of Maine. He delighted striking off to places unknown, his Maine Atlas at hand, and in introducing friends, children and grandchildren to out-of-the-way gems. He was an engaging conversationalist who charmed friends and strangers alike with stories, advice on physical, cultural and historical splendors of Maine, books and more – all with a wry smile and a sparkle in his eye. After retirement he reconnected with his teenage sweetheart from Pine Tree Camp, Janice Fournier and moved to Old Town in 2002. While in Old Town he formed many new friendships, and enjoyed touring, exploring and introducing Janice to his favorite places in Maine. He had a great interest in the history of Maine and eastern Canada: the Native American culture, French-Canadian culture and heritage, and the Acadian history. He was an avid reader of these and other subjects. He was an avid – and cut-throat – cribbage player. He is survived by his partner of eight years, Janice Fournier of Old Town; six children, Laura Watson of Lewiston, Rick and Kate Cote of Portland, Ore., Lynne and Jeffrey Bragg of Mount Vernon, Lisa Cote of North Berwick, Robert and Bethany Cote of China and Brooke “Leslie” and John Kehoe of Rockport. He leaves 10 grandchildren, Emily Quandt of Winslow, Annie Quandt of Lewiston, Ryan, Owen and Camille Cote of Portland, Ore., Elise and Lily Bragg of Mount Vernon, Samantha and Emma Cote of China and Aedan Kehoe of Rockport. He is also survived by seven siblings, Patty Punch of Livermore Falls, Sandra and Brian Doughty of Greenville, Carol and Maurice Perreault of Jay, Suzanne Bowen of South Paris, Thomas and Mary Cote of Livermore Falls, Victoria and Paul Cyr of Lexington, S.C., and Geoffrey and Bernice Cote of Wilton; and scores of nieces, nephews and cousins and their children. He leaves behind many dear and lifelong friends. A Mass will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Indian Island, Old Town. A luncheon reception will be held after the Mass in the parish hall at Holy Family Church, Old Town. Interment at Mount Hope Cemetery, Bangor, will be at a later date. Family and friends may call 8:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Birmingham Funeral Home, 438 Main St., Old Town. For those who would like to remember Richard in a special way, donations in his honor may be made to Pine Tree Camp, 114 Pine Tree Camp Road, Rome, ME 04693 or Shriners Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114 or at <>

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