Martial J. Cote

Martial J. Cote

Martial J. Cote, 98, known as “Chouette” to friends and family, of Wrentham Manor, died on August 27, 2018.

Born in Woonsocket, he was a son of the late Joseph E. and Alphonsine (Boudreau) Cote. Martial was a lifelong area resident.

He was the father of three children, the late Normand J. Cote, Claire M. Chubka and her husband, Roger, of Bellingham, Mass., and Gerard H. Cote and his wife, Molly Kay, of Ivins, Utah; grandfather of Normand Cote of Woonsocket, Jacob T. Cote of Henderson, Nev., Nicholas T. Cote of Alexandria, Va., and Jaime (Chubka) Murray and her husband, Brian, of Bellingham; and three great-grandchildren, Phoebe and Amelia Murray and Dominic Cote. He was the former husband of Jeannette Rheaume.

One of fourteen children, he is survived by his sisters Mary Jane Gagnon and Leonie Lacroix both of Woonsocket, and Suzanne Houle of Calif., and predeceased by siblings Noel, Lucien, Andre, Prosper, Joseph, Laval, Montcalm, and Dollard Cote, Anita Lafontaine, and Gloria Roberge.

Martial was a U.S. Army Veteran of WWII. He served from April 1941 through the end of the conflict and was discharged in September 1945. He spent nearly three years in the Pacific Theater in the infantry with the 43rd Division also known as the Yankee or Winged Division. He was with the 172nd Regimental Combat Team on the troop transport SS Calvin Coolidge headed to Guadalcanal when the ship struck mines and had to be abandoned. All but two soldiers survived, the surviving soldiers had to leave equipment and personal gear on board when abandoning ship. The Regiment had to stay on the island of Espiritu Santo until eventually reunited with the 43rd Division on Guadalcanal. The 43rd Division saw combat on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, Munda Poit and the New Georgia Islands, Aitape on New Guinea and Luzon on the Philippine Islands.

Martial and seven of his brothers all served in WWII. Their mother, Alphonsine Cote, proudly displayed eight stars in the window of the Cote residence on 628 Diamond Hill Road. On June 1, 1946, the eight brothers and a brother-in-law (Roland Lacroix) became members of the American Legion Belhumeur Duhamel Post 62.

In his youth, Martial was an outstanding hockey and baseball player, playing on many Woonsocket area teams. At the age of 17, he won the New England AAU weightlifting championship for his weight class and placed fourth in the National AAU tournament. After returning from the armed service, Martial played fast pitch softball until the age of 40. He continued to ice skate during the winter months until his mid-80s, always with his hockey stick. Martial was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, and New England Patriots.

He was polite, kind, and reserved, and a man with seemingly boundless energy. Shoveling snow, splitting wood, mowing the lawn, and raking leaves were the tasks he enjoyed doing. He loved playing with Snickers and Peanut, his two canine friends. His greatest joy was playing with his great-granddaughter Phoebe and holding Amelia his youngest great-granddaughter. The most important things in Martial’s life was spending time with family and friends, and remembering in thought and conversation family and friends from past times.

Martial J. Cote was a good man from the Greatest Generation.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, September 28, 2018, at 10 a.m., in All Saints Church, Rathbun St., Woonsocket. The family will begin receiving guests at 9:30 a.m. in the church. Burial will follow in Precious Blood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to VA Medical Center 135, 830 Chalkstone Ave., Providence, RI 02908, would be appreciated.

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