Thomas Couture passed away on January 7, 2021, at home, surrounded by family. He was born in Gilbertville, MA, son of the late Roland & Phyllis (Gondek) Couture. He was a loving husband and dedicated father and grandfather. Tom will be dearly missed by his loving wife, Carolyn (Shea) Couture, his sons, Darren and wife Erin, Dean and wife Kate, and daughter Candice. He also leaves two step-children, Bryan Barsalou and wife Elizabeth and Kara and husband Martin Rodgers. He also leaves his much loved grandchildren, Brandon, Gabriel, Ryan, Samantha, Isabelle, Nicole, Jake, Emily, Nora and Nolan.
Tom obtained his BS in Civil Engineering from Norwich University where he enjoyed the cadet leadership training programs and was a member of the Skull and Swords Society and the Corps Honor Committee. He played on the varsity football team and was All-State all four years. He then went on to graduate studies at the University of New Mexico and received his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering, which became his true passion and led him to a most noteworthy career.
In 1970, following graduate school, Tom joined the engineering firm of Tighe & Bond, located in Holyoke, MA at the time. As it would turn out, Tighe & Bond was the only company he ever worked for, and he enjoyed a stellar 48-year career there, until his recent retirement in 2019.
Tom’s early engineering assignments involved the planning and design of water and wastewater infrastructure projects. One of Tom’s early projects was developing a water supply for the King Khalid Military City in Saudi Arabia for 65,000 military troops. Finding and constructing a suitable water supply in the desert was no easy task, but Tom was ever the optimist and the project was successfully completed. He also worked on other projects in Saudi Arabia including the design of water treatment facilities for the King Khalid International Airport and Riyadh University.
Later Tom started a practice to assist private venture capital clients by performing pre-acquisition environmental services at manufacturing facilities around the world. It was not unusual to find Tom taking an early morning flight to California or Florida to meet a client and visit a facility, and then taking a red-eye flight home, so that he could be back in the office first thing in the morning. He trained others to assist with this work, and it became a running joke that one was “Cooched” when Tom tapped them on the shoulder and asked them to fly somewhere across the country the next day.
Tom’s career, founded on his strong leadership training and academic credentials, progressed him through the management ranks at Tighe & Bond. Tom held a variety of senior leadership positions at the firm, including serving as Laboratory Director, Assistant Chief Engineer, firm Principal for nearly 30 years, and Business Unit Leader for the environmental business line. He served on Tighe & Bond’s Board of Directors for 20 years. In addition to his technical knowledge and leadership skills, Tom was known for his company enthusiasm and kindness in helping to mentor and support junior staff.
Although Tom was a keen scientist, he was a child at heart whose greatest pleasure was gathering the extended family for holiday events. Tom’s famous hayrides through his forest went on despite rain, sleet or snow. One year with heavy rains predicted, he even constructed a roof for his hay wagon! He’d plan the entire year for his Halloween pranks—always enjoying the thrills & fears he would bring to both children and adults. Tom planted surprises along the darkened winding paths and could be heard always laughing the loudest! At Christmas time, the plans began again. Bundled under hay and blankets, his riders would sing Christmas Carols, hear the sound of bells and imagine Santa’s elves. Suddenly a bright light shone on the house rooftop where Santa would wave to the squeals and screams of delight.
At his beautiful Cape home with Carolyn, Tom switched hats to become our Captain. With Darren, his ever co-captain, and grandchildren, Tom maneuvered the waters with skill & ease. Always filling his coolers with the catch of the day, catching a great tuna was one of Tom’s biggest thrills. All of his plans had to include as many people as possible. Away from work his purpose was to bring fun and lots of laughter to others. He was a prankster, an entertainer, a farmer—a maker of fun!
Tom was a most humble man devoted to his wife, Carolyn, his family and friends. A talented engineer, he taught us all to work hard, find the solution, & embrace all that life has to offer. He was fearless and relentless to the end. We’ll love you forever, Tom.
All services are private. A celebration of Toms life will be held at a later date. The Barry J Farrell Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Children’s Hospital, Springfield, MA or Hospice Life Care, Holyoke, MA,
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