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/.