Joseph Coulter

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Joseph Coulter, at his wedding in Edmonton in 1911

The Reverend Joseph Coulter (1 August 1871 - 16 March 1960) was a methodist minister for the United Church in Canada during the 20th century.

As of 2019 he has 55 descendants, all but five of which remain alive. Over 128 years after his birth, he still has two living children.

However, only one of these descendants has the power to carry on the Coulter name. That is, the Coulter name continues only if one man has a son: Dylan Coulter (born 1989, son of Laddie Coulter and grandson of Wes Coulter). This is due to the Galton-Watson process [1].

Early life

He was born in Milverton, Ontario on 1 August 1871 to Irish emigrants Samuel Coulter and Elizabeth Moss.

"Uncle Dick" (Richard Coulter) was Joseph Coulter’s brother (and therefore Ruth’s paternal uncle).

Marriage and family

He married Williamina Bessie McNaughton in Edmonton in 1911, a woman born 17 June 1890 and thus 18 years younger than him. At the time he was 40 and she was 22. They had seven children:

Most of [Joseph's] children were actively involved in the church. I know they were not allowed to play cards on Sunday. Apparently Ian had a deck of cards hidden in a drawer and would sneak off and play solitaire but one Sunday when he went to play solitaire the deck of cards was missing.

— Stephanie Luet, November 2018
Condolence letter from a fellow reverend, 3 April 1944

Three of Joseph's sons served overseas, all of them as navigators for bomber crews for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Two of the three did not return home; Joseph lost two of his sons, Hugh and Everett, in World War II.


Joseph had 14 grandchildren, all from four of his seven children, born between 1944 and 1967.

Hubert and Everett were both teachers before they went to war. They were both killed during the war and had no issue.

Ken had scarlet fever as a child, and so was deaf. In 1971, at age 58, he married 47-year-old Marie Wartman. They had no children.

Wes had four children with Betty Caswell:

Ruth had three children by Bruce Newman:

Sandra and Evelyn were named after Ruth's brothers Hugh and Everett, respectively, who had recently died in the war.

Elaine had four children by Phillip Luet:

Ian had three children with Phyllis Skitch:

Great Grandchildren

Joseph has 23 great-grandchildren.

From Elaine (6): Jennifer Benstead, Ann Benstead, Robert Gray, Laura Gray, Shawn Gray, Nick Gray

From Ruth (10): Megan Kenzie, Alex Atherton, Meredith Van Viegen, Vanessa Atherton, Andrew Atherton, Michael Currie, Laura Kenzie, Stephen Atherton, Carolyn Trottier, Patrick Kenzie

From Wes (3): Dylan Coulter, Brittany Coulter, Marlee Coulter (all from Laddie)

From Ian (4): Christoph Neuland, Lynnea Neuland, Ella Coulter, Brin Coulter

Great-Great Grandchildren

Joseph has 11 great-great grandchildren, since:

Ruth has 9 great-grandchildren: Charlotte Van Viegen, Aria Van Viegen, Brynn Ellis, Benjamin Atherton, Holly Atherton, Dominic Atherton, Bridget Atherton, Cole Trottier, Bentley Trottier

Elaine has 2 great-grandchildren: Carter Wesley, Cohen Wesley

Ian and Wes's grandchildren have no issue.

Total descendants = 7 + 14 + 23 + 11 = 55, 50 still living.

Ruth is responsible for 23. Elaine, for 13. Ian, and Wes, for 8 each. Hugh, Everett, and Ken, just one (themselves). This adds up to 55 also, of course.


1 January 2012 Coulter Family Reunion featuring 21 blood descendants. Back Row Leanne Baker & David Coulter, Dane Wesley (husband of Stephanie), Hugh Coulter, Brian Gray (husband of Karen), Stephen, Jonathan Van Viegen, Meredith Kenzie, Megan Kenzie, Jim Kenzie, Ian Coulter Middle Row Tim Luet, Jennifer Benstead (who is in between rows), Karen Gray, Michele Coulter (wife of Stephen), Stephanie Luet, Mary Ann, Elaine Luet, Ashley Wesley (husband of Jennifer), Lynn, Sandra Front Row Nick Gray (youngest son of Karen), Brin Coulter, Carter Wesley and Cohen Wesley (sons of Jennifer), Ella Coulter, Janis Coulter, Phyllis Coulter
1 January 2014 Coulter Family Reunion Back Row Tim Luet, Laddie Coulter, Barbra Coulter (Laddie’s wife), Lynnea Neuland (in turquoise), Dane Wesley, Leanne Baker & David Coulter, Jim Kenzie, Jon Vernon, Stephen, Phyllis Coulter, Tanya Henry (partner of Tim Luet) Middle Row Brin Coulter, Ella Coulter, Elaine Luet (holding photo in memory of Uncle Ken and Aunt Marie; Marie had recently passed away), Nick Gray, Megan Kenzie, Hugh Coulter, Janis Coulter Front Row Sandra Kenzie, Ian Coulter, Michele Coulter, dog whose name and owner Megan Kenzie forgets as of August 2019, Karen Gray

July 2017 Coulter Family Reunion (in Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario) Featuring 9 of Joseph's blood descendants. Back Row: Tim Luet, Tanya Henry, Stephen, Ian Coulter, Phyllis Coulter, Sandra Kenzie, Jon Vernon, Dane Wesley Front Row: Elaine Luet, Manny Kramer, Robin Kramer, Megan Kenzie, Janis Coulter, Stephanie Luet


He died on 16 March 1960.


Canada, WWII Service Files of War Dead, 1939-1947 25114-25213 25115: Coulombe, Joseph Rosari - Coulter, Hubert Vincent