Central Falls Fire Department
Central Falls Fire Department

In Memoriam

Chief René Coutu

Chief_CoutuChief René  R. Coutu, 60, passed peacefully December 7th, 2010 surrounded by his loving family. He was the beloved husband of Denise (Godin) Coutu. They have been married for 33 years.

Chief Coutu was a 40-year member of the Central Falls Fire Department and Chief for the past 25 years. With grace and dedication René was also an Assistant Deputy State Fire Marshall; Chairman of the Fire Safety Board of Appeal and Review; past Secretary, Treasurer and Vice President of the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs;  member of the New England Association of Fire Chiefs and International Association of Fire Chiefs and member of the International Fire Marshals Association. The Chief was also a member of the National Association of Fire Investigators as well as a Rhode Island Fire Academy Senior Instructor.

A second passion in René’s life was his love for running.  As a student at Sacred Heart Academy (formerly in Central Falls), René was a cross country star, earning him the award for “Outstanding Athlete in Cross Country” in 1966, 67, and 68.  He was selected to the “all Blackstone Valley” Cross Country Team in these same years.

René has participated in the Ocean State Marathon on two occasions, as well as the “Classic” road races and Slater Park “Jingle Bell Run”.  One of his proudest achievements was placing as First Firefighter in the Phantom Farms Run in 1992, earning him the “Robert A. Coutu Memorial Trophy” in memory of his father.

Possibly René’s most important role was that of father.  Rene’s dedication and love for his family was an obvious attribute.  Spanning the years from 1989-1999, he served as a softball coach for his two daughters in both Pawtucket and Lincoln.  He soon became a beloved coach to his players and was named NYSCA Volunteer Coach of the Year for the City of Pawtucket in 1993.  Rene’s love for children was also evident through his participation as a reader and speaker for elementary school students in the City of Central Falls.

Born in Pawtucket, a son of Lucille Coutu of Central Falls and the late Chief Robert A. Coutu, CFFD. Besides his wife and mother he is survived by two daughters, Lisanne Landi and her husband Chris of Warwick, Laura Young and her husband Stephen of Smithfield, a brother Denis Coutu, three sisters, Paulette Larocque, Michelle Lavergne and Lisa Williams.