M. Gilda Couto

M. Gilda Couto, 92, of New Bedford, Mass. and Londonderry, N.H., passed away Monday, April 26, 2010 at Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H.

Gilda was born May 12, 1917, in New Bedford, Mass. to the late Manuel Duarte de Mello and Angelina A. P. Vasconcellos. She was also predeceased by her step mother Alexandrina Teresa d'Almeida. From the ages of 5 and 17, she lived and was educated in the Salga, St. Michael, Azores where she completed her high school education before returning to New Bedford to live with her aunt Maria Souza.

During World War II, she was employed at the Goodyear Rubber Company where she supervised the manufacturing of rubber rafts and dirigibles. Following the war, she was employed as a seamstress for a number of well-known dress manufacturing companies in New Bedford, including the M&S, and the Bonney Sportswear. She was actively involved as a volunteer with Boy Scout Troop 11 at Mt. Carmel Church, and several church organizations.

A gentle, kind and compassionate woman, she had a unique love and passion for the downtrodden and raised her children to respect the dignity and sanctity of every human person. Never afraid of hard work, she would tailor and repair clothing for several families in need. She loved life and enjoyed knitting, crochet, sewing, cooking and word-search puzzles, and enjoyed the companionship of kittens and feeding the birds during the winter months. She loved children and will always be remembered as a gentle woman with a great sense of humor who was a positive role model and inspiration to her children.

Gilda was predeceased by her husband, Manuel P. Couto in 1994, and leaves her beloved children: Marlene Russell and son-in-law Michael of Brockton, Mass., Rev. Robert Couto, pastor of St. Jude Parish, Londonderry, N.H.; her three grandchildren, of whom she was so proud: Monica Russell of New York City, Melissa Herschman and her husband Noah of Seattle, Washington and Michele Harrington and her husband Ryan of Easton, Mass.; and her five great-grandchildren, Morgan, Jake and Emma Harrington and Tess and Max Hershman. In addition, she leaves behind a number of half siblings residing in Canada and St. Michael, Azores; as well as numerous cousins in the Greater New Bedford area.

ARRANGEMENTS: The family will receive friends on Friday, April 30, 2010 from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium, 290 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, with a Mass of Christian burial at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church, 435 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, on Saturday at 10 a.m. Additional calling hours will be held on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Perry Funeral Home, 111 Dartmouth St., New Bedford, with a graveside service at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 3, 2010 at the Immaculate Conception section of St. John Cemetery in New Bedford, Mass. In lieu of flowers, mourners may wish to consider donations in Gilda's name to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or the St. Jude Building Fund, 435 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, NH 03053. To send a condolence or for more information, please visit

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