Lance C. Couturier, Ph.D., 70

April 04, 2019

Lance C. Couturier, Ph.D., 70, of Lititz, PA passed away on Thursday, April 4th, 2019, following an acute period of illness.

Lance was the caring and affectionate husband to the late Katherine Devlin Couturier for 39 years, up until her death in 2015. Lance and Kate were a dynamic duo: in addition to a shared love of travel, literature, and their three children, they shared a mutual desire to work for social justice, evidenced as much by their chosen professions as by their tandem service on the Lancaster County Youth Aid Panel (YAP). Lance was an incredibly proud, supportive, and loving father, brother, uncle, and grandpa. He is survived by his three children (Graham, Greg, and Anna), his son-in-law Tyler, his daughter-in-law Susana, five siblings (John, Michelle, Denise, Andy and Anna Lisa), and one exuberant granddaughter, Sofia. In addition, Lance is survived by Nancy Wieman, his partner and “dear companion,” with whom he shared a storybook romance over the past few years.

Born in Humboldt, Nebraska, Lance grew up in Evergreen, Colorado, before moving to Washington, DC with his siblings. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park and both a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master’s in Psychology from Temple University. Over the years, Lance lived in Hyattsville, MD; Oxford, England; Philadelphia, PA; Ardmore, PA; and finally, Lititz, PA for the past 26 years.

Lance had a fierce and persistent belief in the value and worth of those incarcerated members of our society whom most others have given up on or written off, and he fought for a more restorative criminal justice system throughout his entire career. After earning his Ph.D., Lance worked at the Juvenile Justice Center in Philadelphia from 1976-1980, eventually being promoted to Director of the Center’s Training Institute. From there, Lance went on to serve as Psychologist and Clinical Director at the Southeast Secure Treatment Unit (SESTU) in West Chester, PA, a position he held for over five years.

These early experiences propelled him into one of the defining roles of his life, serving as the Chief Psychologist at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, PA from 1985 to 1992. In this role, Lance directed the assessment and treatment services of inmates in PA’s largest maximum-security penitentiary. During his tenure, Lance earned the Governor’s Award for Management & Performance, as well as a Governor’s Commendation for serving as the primary negotiator in a hostage-taking crisis that he successfully mediated.

In 1992, Lance was promoted to Chief of Psychological Services for the PA Department of Corrections (DOC), a position he held for 15 years until his retirement in 2007. In this role, Lance traveled throughout the state as the chief mental health officer and directed treatment and assessment in 27 different prisons. He relished this role, as it gave him the opportunity to coordinate and reform psychological services across the entire system. Lance poured himself into his work, combining passion and oddball humor to bring light and hope to countless incarcerated individuals.

As Chief of Psychological Services, Lance received commendations from both the PA and Louisiana DOC Commissioners for leading a disaster work team following Hurricane Katrina, the Outstanding Public Service in Criminal Justice Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an Employee of the Year Award from the DOC, and the Forensic Rights and Treatment Award. Over his career, Lance published several articles and manuals, including the training manual: Suicide in Custody: Self Instructional Course for the American Correctional Association. One of the causes for which he worked tirelessly was the prevention of suicide among inmates, and the PA Suicide Prevention Policy he co-authored was selected as a national model by the National Institute of Corrections in 1995.

In addition to his work in PA’s prisons, Lance also taught at several colleges and universities: Forensic Psychology at Messiah College, Special Needs at Neumann College, Human Development at Temple University, and Child Psychology at Philadelphia Community College. Teaching and training were in his blood, and he relished the opportunity to design and implement curricula that were both light-hearted and meaningful for his students.

Following his retirement, Lance continued to work as a consultant for the DOC, most recently leading crisis intervention trainings for correctional officers and other DOC staff. He was a Senior Consultant/Trainer in Forensics for the Family Advocacy and Training Center for Serious Mental Illness in Philadelphia. He also served as a Psychologist and Hospital Staff Member for Philhaven Behavioral Healthcare Services in Mt. Gretna, PA, conducting therapy with clients in their Outpatient Clinic.

Lance’s life was centered around service. Beyond his professional work, he served in the U.S. Military’s Army Reserves from 1970-76, earning an Honorable Discharge at the rank of Sergeant E-5. Additionally, he volunteered extensively, serving as a Cub and Boy Scout leader in his son’s scout troops, on the board of the Lancaster-based Center for Community Peacemaking, as well as on Lancaster County’s Critical Incident Stress Management Team, Youth Aid Panel, and Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (a restorative justice program that brings offenders face-to-face with the victims of their crimes with the assistance of a trained mediator).

While his professional life was often serious, his manner was cheerful and droll. As a life-long artist, he filled his home, and the homes of many acquaintances, with beautiful watercolor paintings depicting not just the many Lancaster County farmland scenes that captured his creativity, but also the vistas, back roads, and harbors of the many other states and countries he visited. He loved to paint boats at anchor, the burnt umber and orange hues of fall, the deep greens and blues of summer days, and the way that sunlight dapples and drapes itself upon the world.

He was a truly exceptional man, and his death leaves a profound breach in the lives of those who loved him. Lance will be deeply missed, yet his memory will be celebrated—exuberantly—by the many people whose lives he touched.

A Memorial Service in his honor will be held on Saturday, April 13th at Charles F. Snyder, Jr. Funeral Home, 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA 17543. In lieu of a viewing, there will be two hours for visitation with the family from 1-3pm and a Memorial Service at 3pm.

Watch the tribute video

Leave a condolence on this Memorial Page

Be sure to include your name

Please note that your condolence will not appear on this page until it is reviewed. Condolences usually appear within 24 hours of being submitted.

Condolences to the Family

May 21, 2019

Dear Couturier Family — I just learned of Lance’s passing and wanted to express along my condolences.  I worked with Lance on the LAVORP board and was always impressed by his intellect, thoughtfulness and insights.  Most importantly though, as others have expressed, Lance was a kind and caring soul.  His kind spirit was a testament to the goodness of our society and a true inspiration.  I am truly sorry for your loss.  Kind regards, Pat Zaepfel  

April 13, 2019

Lance was a kind person with the most gentle of souls.   We can all be thankful that he was with us and certainly did his part to make the world a better place. 

April 13, 2019

My condolences go out to Lance’s family and many friends. I knew Lance primarily through our time together on the LAVORP/CCP/Advoz board, and our participation in Lancaster County Youth Aid Panels. He brought a distinctive skill set and perspective to these organizations, and will be missed by all who knew him. 
David Sperry

April 13, 2019

I am heartbroken by reading about the loss of Lance. I had the honor of working with him while volunteering on the Youth Aid Panel.  I sat next to him at every meeting, and was always quick to ask about my week or my son.
An eloquent  man with such a quiet strength. It was a privilege to know him.
Gail Horrocks

April 12, 2019

Lance was truly the definition of a mentor and a friend.  When faced with a difficult circumstance it wouldn’t be uncommon to say “Let’s call Lance!”.  I am so thankful for the time he spent with me.  I will miss him.  Lance would often say when giving feedback to someone about the job they were doing, “That was righteous work.”. Well I don’t think it would be wrong to say, “Lance, what you have done and the lives you have touched was really righteous work!!”

April 10, 2019

Our deepest sympathy to the family- Lance’s death was so unexpected and is such a hard loss. We only knew him a short while but very much enjoyed the times we spent with him, getting to know him. He and Nancy were a great pair- he made her very happy. His was a life well spent. He leaves quite a legacy with the many people he touched, those who benefited from knowing him and with his family. He treasured his family and was very proud of his kids. 
Debbie and Pierre Ravacon

April 08, 2019

To The Entire Couturier Family –
I am so sorry for your loss.  After reading the wonderful tribute to this amazing man, I can only think about the positive imapct he had on so many lives.  How blessed you all are to have had him as part of your family.
With Sincerest Sympathy,
Sandy Brenner

April 08, 2019

Dear Couturier family: I volunteered alongside Lance on the LAVORP executive board several years back, and got to know him well enough to really enjoy working with him.
I was very sad to learn of his passing, and know that he will be missed by all who knew him.
Although I knew he was deeply involved in prisoner rehabilitation, I was unaware of the extensive other work that Lance’s obituary indicated he was part of. It’s a credit to his modesty.
My voice is another that will let you know he had friends you may not know, that those friends appreciated who he was and what he said and did, and that his passing will be noted.
Lee Dmitzak

April 08, 2019

Although I did not know Lance, it is obvious that he was an amazingly intelligent, kind, and socially conscious man.  My heart goes out to all his family and friends.  May the memories of the time you had with Lance sustain you through the pain of the loss. 
Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan

April 07, 2019

Sincerest condolences to family.  Lance was a true renaissance man: loved his family, was a dedicated professional, a great, caring colleague and passionate advovate for the incacerated. He had a unique sense of humor. We are left with many “Lancisms” to cherish the memories of our esteemed colleague.  Rest in Peace!
Rich E

April 07, 2019

MY heart aches on the death of Lance.  He was a super man, kind, funny, had a great laugh  and a great human being.  He will be truly missed.  Our prayers are for the family.
I would attend the Memorial Service but my knee is being replaced on Wednesday.
Betty Ann Fetter

April 07, 2019

Very sorry to see that Lance passed. Unfortnately, I have not seen him in several years. As a previous neighbor of his, Lance was always so kind and seemed like he never had a bad day. God bless your family.
Kevin Kelly

April 07, 2019

I am very sorry for your loss.  Lance was one of the truly positive figures for me when I began directing the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board- positve in his support for those persons who offended and positive for me trying to understand the department he worked for.  I’m not sure he’ll ever be gone in my mind- he will remain a presence for me.  I hope the same for you.  Diane

Saturday, April 13, 2019
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory
3110 Lititz Pike
Lititz, PA 17543
Map and Directions

Get Maps and Directions >
Saturday, April 13, 2019
3:00 PM
Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory
3110 Lititz Pike
Lititz, PA 17543
Map and Directions

Get Maps and Directions >
Send Flowers Online

Offering Lancaster, PA funeral services for over 70 years.

Our four funeral homes in Lancaster County makes it easy and convenient to make arrangements and host services close to home.

  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Downtown Lancaster
  • 414 East King St.
  • 717-393-9661
  • Charles F. (Chip) Snyder, Jr. Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Lititz Pike
  • 3110 Lititz Pike
  • 717-560-5100
  • Charles F. (Chad) Snyder, III Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Millersville
  • 441 North George St.
  • 717-872-5041
  • Mark D. Burkholder Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Spacht-Snyder Family Funeral Home Lititz, PA
  • 127 South Broad St.
  • 717-626-2317
  • Jacqueline Adamson Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info