Nancy Couture Dubner

Nancy Dubner - Rochester, NY - Rochester Cremation

Nancy Couture Dubner, age 87, passed away on February 14, 2021 in her home in Rochester, NY surrounded by her children.  She was born on October 29, 1933 in Ware, MA and grew up in East Hartford, CT.  She lived in Minneapolis, MI; Fontainebleau, France (where she met her husband); Albany, NY; Clinton, NY; and Rochester, NY.

She had a career in public service, beginning as a history teacher in Minneapolis and later working in government for the NY State Lt. Governor, NYS DOT, and NY Power Authority.  She held a strong belief in democracy and fixing inequalities and injustices.  She was a trailblazer for women’s rights, equality, and empowerment.  Nancy authored and passed a federal bill for childcare tax deductions, helping working mothers. She also was a leader in the creation of two National Parks: Eleanor Roosevelt National Historical Site at Val Kill Cottage and Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY.  After her retirement, she refused to stop learning and founded the Mohawk Valley Institute of Learning in Retirement (MVILR) at SUNY Polytechnic Institute (Utica, NY) and was later named a Trustee.

Nancy loved history and culture.  In particular, she loved native American culture and travelled extensively to the American southwest.  She surrounded herself with native American crafts and collected baskets, jewelry, and weavings. She loved the indigenous people’s connection to the earth.  She travelled the world and always focused on the people and the culture in every place she visited.

She was vibrant and dramatic, she lived life to its fullest – travelling the world, challenging injustices, and making friends along the way.  The best way to describe Nancy is that she is a ‘People Person’.  She made friends everywhere she went and in her failing days made the comment, “I collect people”.  We are all grateful to be one of those people that Nancy collected.

Nancy was predeceased by her husband Hillel Dubner, daughter Jollene Dubner, sister Carol Zahnizer, and her parents Leo and Charlotte Ruth Couture.  Nancy is survived by her brother John Couture and her children Jonathan (Joni) Dubner, and Susan (Wayne) VanBenschoten as well as her grandchildren Nathan and Hannah VanBenschoten.

A private family burial is planned at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY where her husband and daughter are buried.  A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. Donations in her name can be made to Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust https://lowelllandtrust.org/  or WXXI Rochester Public News https://www.wxxinews.org/.

7 Condolences

  1. Barbara Bills Morrill on February 15, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    My heartfelt condolences to all of you. She was an amazing lady and has left behind a wonderful legacy.
    Sending prayers and thoughts 🙏

    • Sharon Hieber on February 22, 2021 at 1:26 pm

      My condolences to Nancy’s family. I worked with Nancy at NYPA’s Clark Energy Center in Marcy. We often share our travel adventures. She was such an inspiration to the woman she worked with at NYPA

  2. Luzl on February 15, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    My condolences to the family. Praying for God’s blessings and peace l

  3. Chelsea Welborn on February 16, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    Sharing in your sorrow as we remember Nancy: a beautiful soul and true inspiration. I will always miss her. She was assertive, sassy, and a supportive, loving friend. It was Nancy who inspired me to live in France. I’ll think of her every time I travel- and do my best to catch up to her 60+ countries. Nancy will always be in my heart.

  4. Charlie Dean on February 17, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Nancy was a wonderful person. I met her at OSHER. We enjoyed talking about current events. We also discussed France a lot since I lived there in St André en Barrois (near Verdun) in the mid 50’s while my Dad was stationed in Verdun.

  5. Michael J O’ Neal on February 17, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    Nancy was a great friend and truly a women for all seasons. She helped put on an Osher class at RIT on Estonia. Truly a life well lived. Mike O’ Neal

    • Beth Kosoff on February 20, 2021 at 7:16 pm

      I will always remember Nancy’s dynamic passion for justice and her interest in politics- we shared common views and had many profound discussions 😀 Her memory is a blessing 💙

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