Vera (Adamcova) Couture, 92, a longtime resident of Shrewsbury, died peacefully after a brief illness at UMASS Memorial Medical Center on Monday February 3, 2020.
Vera was born in 1927 and grew up in a village near Pilsen in what is now the Czech Republic. She met her future husband, Gerard J. Couture, a Worcester resident then serving in the U.S. Third Army, while he was on leave in Pilsen in 1945. After a four-year long-distance courtship while she recovered in Czechoslovakia from war-time tuberculosis and he was treated in the United States for frostbite suffered during the Battle of the Bulge, she emigrated and married him in 1949. At the time, she spoke only Czech and German; he spoke only English and French. The marriage would last 65 years until his death in 2015.
In the mid-1950s, the Couture’s bought a parcel of land in the Fairlawn neighborhood of Shrewsbury, moved into a used trailer in the back of the property, and spent several years building a permanent house, largely with their own hands. They moved into the house in 1959. Vera would live there until 2019.
In 1964, Vera, an avid reader, decided to get a job at the Shrewsbury Public Library. Undaunted by her lack of a formal college education, she offered to serve as a volunteer. The library promoted her to a paid employee soon after she started. Vera spent most of her time at the main circulation desk. On her own initiative, she made a practice of learning the names and reading habits of library patrons and setting aside new books for them. After retiring from the library in December 1987, she served a three-year term on its board of trustees. She later wrote that reading was her “unending delight”; her “involvement with the Shrewsbury patrons was always special”; and “it is for that part that [I] would like to be remembered.”
Vera also wrote book reviews, travel reports and op ed pieces for several local community newspapers. She researched and wrote a book on the historic mansions of Shrewsbury and, with a friend, David Levy, a companion volume on the Worcester-area industries whose founders and heirs built the mansions. The books are in the collections of the Shrewsbury Public Library, the Shrewsbury Historical Society, and the Shrewsbury High School library.
The Couture's traveled widely throughout the United States in retirement. They also returned several times to Pilsen, sometimes as guests at celebrations commemorating the liberation of the city by the U.S. Army in 1945.
Vera leaves a sister-in-law, Majella Tauras, of Worcester, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Vacek Adamec and Maruska Adamcova; her brother, Daniel Adams; and her husband.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 am on Wednesday February 19, 2020, at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, 130 Boston Turnpike, Shrewsbury. Public interment in Mountain View Cemetery in Shrewsbury and a reception at St. Anne’s will follow immediately afterwards. The BRITTON-SHREWSBURY FUNERAL HOME, 648 Main Street, Shrewsbury, is assisting with arrangements.