Roger A. Coulombe

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  • "I am Paul Coulombe, also age 80 and a former biology..."
  • "Roger was a big influence on me. His intelligence,..."
    - Steve Kautz
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    - Richard Gnatek
  • "KathY, I was so sorry to read about Roger's passing. He was..."
    - Michael O'Brien
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Service Information
Ahearn Funeral Home
783 Bridge Road
Northampton, MA

SOUTH HADLEY – Retired Headmaster, Roger Archie Coulombe, 80, passed away Feb. 22, 2018 after a courageous four-year battle with sarcoma cancer.

A devoted husband to his wife of 48 years, Kathryn Nott Coulombe, and a remarkable, dedicated father and mentor to his two sons, Jason C. Coulombe and Jonathan A. Coulombe, both of whom followed their father into careers in independent school administration, teaching and coaching. He was father-in-law to Teri L. Freeman and Jessie Parker Coulombe and grandfather to Phoebe, Jasper and Griffin Coulombe.

Roger had a very distinguished career spanning 43 years as an educator, beginning his teaching career at his alma mater, Northampton High School, where he taught European history and coached baseball and basketball. He took a hiatus after two years to serve in the Peace Corps in Thailand coaching the Thai national basketball team.

Upon returning to the United States, he joined the faculty of Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, Connecticut before it merged with Choate. Several years later, he was offered the position of Dean of Students at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, California.

It was there that he met his wife, Kathy, at a mutual friend's backyard cookout in Long Beach, California and they were married in 1970. In 1972 they moved to Buffalo, New York when Roger became Senior Dean at Nichols School.

Returning to New England in 1976, Roger accepted the position as History Dept. Chairman at The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut. Three years later, he was named Associate Headmaster of Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois where the family lived on a 200-acre campus affording their sons wonderful athletic facilities.

In 1984 the family moved to Charlotte, NC where Roger became Head of the Upper School at Charlotte Country Day School, where both of his sons completed their secondary educations and each would have outstanding success in academics and athletics.

Moving to Richmond, Virginia, in 1994, Roger was first named Head of the Middle School at Steward School for a short stint before being named Headmaster in 1997. When he was named Headmaster, Steward School received a $15.9 million-dollar anonymous gift which transformed the school, bringing in matching gifts totaling $38 million. The school quadrupled in size on the 38-acre campus as well as the enrollment, faculty and school endowment. That transformative gift of nearly $16 million still stands today as the largest single donation ever given to a secondary school in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In 2004, Mr. Coulombe retired from Steward School and joined the faculty of Collegiate School in Richmond, enjoying one year of getting back into the classroom. Permanent retirement came in 2005 when the couple moved back to Mr. Coulombe's beloved New England (South Hadley) and enjoyed many trips domestically and abroad. Their favorite pastimes have been being with family as well as being involved in their three grandchildren's activities.

Roger was predeceased by his parents, Archie and Evalina Coulombe; his sister, Therese Coulombe Connor; and two brothers-in-law: James Connor and Steven W. Nott, and his nephew and godson Daniel W. Connor. In addition to his immediate family, he is survived by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Michael and Sharron Nott of Long Beach, California. He is also survived by four nieces and four nephews.

Calling hours are from 4-6 p.m. at Ahearn Funeral Home on Friday, July 27, 2018. A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018 at 11 a.m. at Annunciation Chapel of St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 78 Beacon St., Florence, MA 01062.

The Coulombe Family requests that in lieu of flowers, gifts in Roger's memory be made to Look Memorial Park,

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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on July 25, 2018
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