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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 23, 2009

Helen T. Goyette

BERNE — Helen T. Goyette, whose joy carried her through life’s hard bargains, died on July 18, 2009. She was 92.

Born in Schenectady on April 26, 1917, Mrs. Goyette was the daughter of Josephine and Frank Hesner, who worked with his father on a farm and later for American Locomotive.

“She was a character,” said Mrs. Goyette’s granddaughter, Micky Gruber. “She was so much fun.”

For thirty-five years, she was married to the late Arthur J. Mackintosh, and, said Ms. Gruber, “As a matter of fact, they went on a double date.” The foursome went out together and ended up switching dates, she said. Her grandparents got married and the other two dated for a while.

Mr. Mackintosh was the mailroom director at General Electric, Ms. Gruber said, and the couple moved from Schenectady to Berne in 1960.

Soon after her husband died unexpectedly in 1974, Mrs. Goyette sold their big old farmhouse in favor of a little place on Pinnacle and spent increasing amounts of time visiting friends in Florida.

“She liked it hot,” Ms. Gruber said of her grandmother, who made a life for herself in the South. Her family described her as “the bright light of Port Charlotte.”

Mrs. Goyette played the kazoo in the Harbor Heights Kitchen Band and tap-danced in a yellow dress with an umbrella, her granddaughter said. Having learned to read tea leaves from her own grandmother, Mrs. Goyette would get in her garb and do readings at the cultural center as Madam Teresa, Ms. Gruber said, adding that her grandmother would not read leaves for family members.

Mrs. Goyette was also a member of the Irish American Club, the New York State Club, Life Goes On, the Charlotte County Republican Club, the Grandmothers’ Club, the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Berne Volunteer Fire Company, and she was also an avid bowler. She was pictured in one newspaper article with a bowling ball in one hand and a cane in the other at the age of 86, Ms. Gruber said.

“The most impressive part of my grandmother was her perseverance,” she said. When her husband died, Mrs. Goyette didn’t know how to keep track of a checkbook and not only did she learn how to cope, but she thrived.

She went on to marry the late Nelson F. Goyette. “They had so much fun,” said Ms. Gruber. “There was a lot of dancing.”

And, when she was widowed for a second time, “she picked up and kept going again,” Ms. Gruber said.

“The word that comes to mind is joy,” she said of her grandmother. “She sure was fun and she loved to laugh.”


Helen T. Goyette is survived by her sister, Frances Unverhau, of Voorheesville; her daughters, Sandra Dumas, and her husband André, of Ballston Spa, and Suzanne Lendrum, and her husband Steve, of Berne; six grandchildren, Michelle Gruber of Port Charlotte, Fl., Suzanne Staulters, and her husband Harold, of Ballston Spa, Jeffrey Dumas of Clark-Summit, Pa., James Dumas of Clifton Park, Ronald Lendrum, and his wife Donna, of Huntersland, and Cheryl Spada and her husband, Mike, of Marcellus; and, nine great-granddaughters — Katherine and Christine Staulters, Alyse Gruber, Heidi Kruse, Heather Lendrum, Samantha, Cassandra, and Teresa Dumas, and Lily Spada.

Her husband, Arthur J. Mackintosh, died before her, as did her second husband, Nelson F. Goyette.

A mass will be held at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 2500 Easy St., Port Charlotte, Fl., today at 2 p.m. A second service will be held in Berne at a later date. Arrangements are made by Kays-Ponger & Uselton Funeral Homes, in Punta Gorda, Fl.

Memorial contributions may be made to Tidewell Hospice, 5955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, Fl., 34238, or the Berne Volunteer Fire Company, P.O. Box 41, Berne, NY, 12023.

To leave condolences with the family, visit www.kays-ponger.com.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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