Anita Elizabeth Couture, 80, went to her Lord on November 10, 2013 at St. Peters Providence Hospital in Olympia. Anita was born September 27, 1933, in Taholah, Wash., to Rachel Brignone Whitish and Vernon (John Doe) Shipman.
Anita grew up in Georgetown (Shoalwater Bay) and Taholah with her 10 siblings; seven whom have walked on: Raleigh Frank, Lorraine Anderson, Gordon Shipman, Joan Shipman, Verna Shipman, and Herb (Ike) Whitish. Her surviving siblings are Elizabeth (Libby) Shipman, George Shipman, Leatta (Lee) Shipman and Frank Shipman. Vernon (Pete) Shipman’s whereabouts are unknown.
She quit school after eight grade to work in the crab cannery in Tokeland. She made nine cents per pound and stated that it was the worst job she ever had. It was always cold and her hands and arms ached every day from the grueling work.
She married Harry Blair on her 18th birthday in her parents home in Georgetown. Together they had three children, Leah (married Bill Thomas, their children; Shane and Iris ‘Risa’), Anita ‘Lulu’ (married Mark Blake), and Harry ‘Butch’ (married Connie Caldwell, their children; Cody and Amanda). They lived in Everett and later, divorced. Anita worked as a bartender for many years until moving back to the beach area. There, she met and married the love of her life Robert ‘Bob’ Couture. He preceded her in death.
Anita was proud of her native heritage and was firm in her beliefs. She was active in many tribal committees, activities and the elders cook for a few years while living on the reservation. Anita loved to do bead work and a love of stuffed bears as you could see throughout her home. One of the things she was proud of was her stories in “Summertime in Georgetown”, a collection of short stories by the women and girls of Shoalwater Bay tribal community.
Anita spent her last few years at Alder House Assisted Living in South Bend, where she did beading for friends and family. She entered her bead work at the Menlo fair in 2011 and won a blue ribbon for it.
Anita had three great grandchildren; many nieces; nephews; several grandnieces; and grandnephews that were very special to her. All of the young ones on the reservation called her Nana. Each one had a very special place in her heart.
Anita’s celebration of life will be held at the Shoalwater Bay Tribal Center at 1 p.m. on January 11, 2014.