Jean A. Sass, 84: Winner of 100 Senior Olympic medals, lived life with zest

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FREEPORT — Jean Amy (Crawford) Sass, 84, died June 11 at her home following a long struggle with heart failure.

Born Mary Margaret Andrews in Burlington, Vt., on Dec. 22, 1926, she was a daughter of Lema Frank Carter and Francis Edna Andrews.

After she was placed at the Alice Chapin Adoption Nursery of New York, she was taken in at age five months by Daisy G. Crawford, a traveling nurse from Longmeadow, Mass., who formally adopted her at 22 months old and changed her name to Jean Amy Crawford.

She travelled with her adoptive mother, and attended different schools in New England before graduating from Coney High School in Augusta in 1943.

In 1945 she graduated from Boston University’s Sargent School in the College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a degree in physical education. She met her first husband, Leonard P. Couture, at the university, and they were married in 1949.

They moved to Waterville in 1953, where they raised their family.

In 1958 she began her 28-year teaching career at Waterville Junior High School as a physical education teacher and later as a health science teacher, where she also coached softball and field hockey. Known for her enthusiasm for physical fitness and good sense of humor, she was loved by both her colleagues and her students.

She eventually received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Maine in 1966.

After retiring from teaching in 1986, she enjoyed traveling in the U.S. and abroad. For many years she wintered in Yuma, Ariz., and spent summers with her children in New Hampshire and Maine, with whom she enjoyed gardening, fishing and boating.

Aside from her teaching career, she enjoyed many hobbies, interests and talents, including a deep love and respect for nature and wildlife. She often took in wild animals, such as squirrels, raccoons, skunks, turtles and ducks that had been orphaned or injured. After nursing the animals back to health, she would release them to their natural habitat. Neighbors eventually dubbed her household, “The Couture Zoo.”

A fierce competitor and believer in physical fitness, she kept active into her 80s, winning more than 100 medals in the Senior Olympics, earning a place in the Senior Olympics 100 Medal Club.

Her competitive spirit extended to card-playing with friends and family. She was also very artistic, and created her own greeting cards that she would send to family and friends.

With a zest for life, she was known for saying “every day is a good one, if you know what to do with it.”

She is predeceased by her late husbands, Leonard P. Couture of Waterville, Maurice Cyr of Belgrade, and Russell Sass of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Additionally, she was predeceased by her son, Joseph Cyr of Plainville, Conn., and by her sister, Mary H. Carter of Pittsford, Vt.

Surviving are her siblings, brother Edward L. Carter, and step-sister H. Ellen “Barbara” Kingsley, both of Pittsford, Vt., and brother John P. Morrissey of Bennington, Vt.; her children, daughter Diane Paul and her husband Timothy of Palermo, daughter Dale Poulin and her husband Richard of Okmulgee, Okla., daughter Jean Aranson and her husband Robert of Freeport, and son L. Peter Couture of Northfield, N.H.; 18 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, July 9, at 11 a.m. at the Oakland-Sidney United Methodist Church, 14 West School St., Oakland.

Memorial donations can be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Arrangements are by Lindquist Funeral Home, One Mayberry Lane, Yarmouth.

Please visit for additional information and to sign her guestbook.