Life is unpredictable, great joy giving way to great sorrow. The Gerald Augusto family certainly experienced both. Now departed, their story lives on through Yolande Augusto’s personal generosity and thoughtful estate planning.
Yolande Arsenault was born April 1, 1929, in Charlton, Ma. Graduating from Worcester State College in 1951, she took her first teaching position in Southbridge, Ma.
A Southbridge native, Gerald Augusto, born January 25, 1926, served in the Merchant Marine during World War II. It is unclear how he met and courted Yolande but the couple married in 1953, eventually moving to Chautauqua County to begin their new lives together.
Gerald owned and operated a dairy farm in the Mayville area for 13 years. During that time, his wife taught in two nearby school districts. They were extremely proud parents of one son, Daniel, whom niece, Patricia Augusto Welch, remembers as “…a really good boy. He would go on Saturdays and mow the grass for the church he attended. His parents adored him.”
Patricia went on to say, “Daniel, much like Yolande, was quiet and more reserved. He must have been intimidated by all of us when we descended on the farm for a visit!”
Patricia recalls her Uncle Gerald made a wonderful life for his family in the country and says fondly, “When he was with the whole family, he and my father, Uncle Bill, and Uncle George would all get the kids to laugh! We had a great time with all the cousins, aunts, and uncles together.”
One fateful summer day, Daniel went fishing with his friend in a small boat at a neighboring pond. As he leaned over the railing to retrieve a bobber, the vessel tipped sideways, and he fell out into deep water. All efforts to revive him were tragically unsuccessful and he drowned at age 18 on June 4, 1972.
Daniel’s loss was incomprehensible to his parents. According to Patricia, “They were devastated at the loss of their only child at such a young age.” Seeking relief from constant reminders, they sold the farm, did some travelling, and ultimately moved to Frewsburg to make a fresh start.
Yolande took a position in the Frewsburg Central School system where she taught for many years. Gerald owned and oversaw rental properties in the Jamestown area. The couple were active church members and participated in numerous community clubs and organizations.
Gerald passed away at home on July 28, 1993, leaving Yolande alone. Unfortunately, having lost contact with much of her extended family, she began thinking ahead about what was to become of her remaining estate. With legal assistance, she began pre-planning for its dispersal.
Yolande kept Gerald’s and Daniel’s passions and interests in mind when taking into consideration on-going community needs to form several funds and scholarships for a variety of organizations, including:
The Daniel Augusto Memorial Scholarship Fund, established at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, assists a graduating Frewsburg High School senior planning to pursue the fields of education or environmental/conservation.
The Gerald Augusto Audubon Natural Science Scholarship Fund, administered by the Foundation, provides an annual grant award to the Audubon Community Nature Center to help high school students in the southern Chautauqua region study natural sciences there during summer months.
When Yolande, herself, passed away, her careful estate planning was set into motion in 2017. The funds she established now ensure memories of her beloved husband and son will live forever.
Patricia and others in the Augusto family, separated by time and space, now have a unique opportunity to see firsthand the wonderful gifts Yolande created for future generations.