Obituary of Maria Adelaide Coutinho
Maria Adelaide Coutinho
March 20, 1928 - November 22, 2021
Died peacefully in her own home, surrounded by family. Maria Adelaide Coutinho was a proud worker, mother, grandmother, and so much more. Her work life began very young as her mother’s helpmate, the eldest daughter of seven children in the small village of Samuel, Portugal. Reliability, conscientiousness and a tireless spirit were what she packed in her bags when she emigrated to London in 1960 and what she instilled by example in her children. She never lacked for employment and was especially proud of her last 20 working years at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Maria learned to embroider and crochet as a young girl and even as a working mother found time for her passion. She made things beautifully and to perfection, which we admired even as children. She came late to knitting, but was soon making complex sweaters which she gifted to many. When someone complimented her on her “golden fingers”, we couldn’t have agreed more!
When she retired, she threw herself into her hobbies and embraced travelling, which delighted her and fed her curiosity about the world. At home she loved to bake, trying new recipes and sharing all with family and friends. It’s a point of family pride that her date squares sold out immediately at the annual St. Patrick’s Parish Bazaar and that they became a much-anticipated item each year.
Always a walker, new hips in her retirement were Maria's excuse to explore. She would walk several kilometres each day, occasionally stopping to admire gardens and chat with neighbours along the way. Many of her East London neighbours came to know her as the lady who walks.
Maria was an avid gardener with a special fondness for roses and a tough love approach to her many houseplants. (“If you don’t smarten up, you know where you’re going - the compost!”)
Maria loved to sing and had a lovely soprano voice which deepened to a rich alto in her later years. As a young woman in Portugal, she and her coworkers would sing in harmony as they worked. She sang at home, work and church, and singing became a huge source of connection with Maria in the last few years of her life.
Maria's Catholic faith was a very important part of her life and supported her immensely through life's challenges. She attended mass weekly for over 50 years at St. Patrick's Church and prayed daily at home. Her Christian values and her desire to help others were expressed through donations she made annually to many different organizations, perhaps the most meaningful of which were her "families in India."
Above all, Maria loved her family. She liked to visit us and help us as often and in whatever ways she could. Maria is beloved by her daughters Grace, Ana, Tereza and Paula, and her grandchildren Mavis and Leo; Tia Lai-Lai will be missed by her Canadian nephews and nieces, as well as those in Portugal. She is predeceased by her precious son Tony, and her six siblings, most recently Olga and Ilidio, who had followed her to Canada.
Although Alzheimer's Disease affected Maria's mind and body, it could not extinguish her spirit. She drew love out of those around her, an enduring gift to those privileged to assist and spend time with her in her final years of life.
We wish to thank the staff and residents of Glendale Crossing who became extended family during her 3 years of residence prior to returning to her home in 2020.
In lieu of flowers the family welcomes donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, Save a Family Plan, or a charity of your choice. We also invite you to share your favourite memories of Maria for everyone to enjoy. (donohuefuneralhome.ca)
Visitors will be received at John T. Donohue Funeral Home, 362 Waterloo Street at King Street, on Friday, November 26 from 3-5 pm. To register for the visitation and Funeral Mass, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, phone number and time preference.
Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick's Church, 1251 Dundas Street, at 11:00 am on Saturday, November 27. Interment at St. Peter's Cemetery following the mass. To view the live stream of Maria’s Funeral Mass please visit www.stpatrick.dol.ca Please note the Mass will be streamed in real-time only. A recording will not be made available to watch at a later time.