EAST WINTHROP, MAINE--With his family by his side, Russell Charles Cotnoir, Sr., 77 of East Winthrop, Maine, passed away October 24, 2010 at Maine General Medical Center in Augusta after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born in Woonsocket, RI, son of Emile and Anna (Marks) Cotnoir.
Russell married Sylvia Edna Ricard of Woonsocket, RI on September 3, 1955 and they recently celebrated their 55th anniversary. They moved to Kents Hill, ME in 1968 and settled in East Winthrop in 2003.
After graduating high school in 1950, Russell enlisted in the US Navy and served on the Light Cruiser, USS Roanoke. In 1959, while an insurance salesman, he was in a serious and life-changing automobile accident. Brightened by the confidence and complete faith of his wife, Sylvia, Russell graduated second in his class with a bachelors degree from Bryant College in 1966. In 1968, following his graduation with a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island, he accepted a job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine in Augusta, eventually becoming Chair of the Business and Governmental Sciences Division until his retirement.
Russell simply adored his wife Sylvia, or Pea-Soup as he would call her. They raised ten children together, growing to an extended family of more than 66 today. Russell was a loving husband, father, pepere, big-pepere, brother and uncle. He loved to spend time with his family and friends and celebrated many special times with them over the years. He was so very proud of his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, who all loved him very much. A wonderful family tradition, he and Sylvia prepared Sunday lunch every week so the family could visit and share stories.
Russell was a devout Catholic and attended church with Sylvia every Sunday. During his retirement years, he and Sylvia attended church daily. He was a communicant of St. Francis Xavier Church in Winthrop, part of St. Michaels Parish, for more than 40 years. His advice was, God first, family second and the rest will fall into place.
Russell and Sylvia were inseparable, whether touring the United States or simply going shopping, always holding hands.
Russell also came from a family of ten children. He had innumerable stories of his childhood, his military service and raising ten kids. He had a great sense of humor and was the kind of man that enjoyed having a conversation over coffee with anyone he met. Those lucky enough to have had the opportunity to meet him will remember his generous and fun-loving spirit.
His family united for a head-shaving experience to show support and solidarity in his fight against cancer. He was excited and proud to share pictures from that day with his church family and the incredible staff at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care.
He was predeceased by his parents and his brothers Earl, Raymond, Donald and Emile.
He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, his brothers Robert (wife Theresa), Vincent, Leonard and Paul (wife Pauline), his sister Anna Mae (Cotnoir) Viens (husband Raymond), and lifelong friend and adopted brother William Kerrigan (wife Claudette). He is also survived by ten children: his son Russell, Jr. and wife Denise of Fayette; his son Christopher and wife Julie of Gardiner; his son Jeffrey and wife Linda of Augusta; his son Thaddeus of East Winthrop, with whom he and Sylvia lived; his son Douglas and wife Sarah of Chelsea; his daughter Ann and husband Donald Ellis, Sr., of Winthrop; his son Scott and wife Leigh of West Gardiner; his son Timothy and wife Jennifer of Alexandria, VA; his son Thomas and wife Valerie of Waterville; and his son John of Augusta. He is also survived by 28 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the doctors and staff at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care and Maine General Medical Center for the kind care and assistance over the past few months.
Visiting hours will be held Thursday, Oct. 28 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Roberts Funeral Home, 62 Bowdoin Street, Winthrop, Maine. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Route 133, Winthrop, Maine. As it was his wish to be cremated, a private committal service will be held at St. Peters Cemetery in Lewiston at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, PO Box 828, Waterville, Maine 04903.
Condolences may be expressed to the family via