Niles woman’s ‘love of life’ remembered

Published 8:13 am Friday, May 2, 2014

Around Niles, Lindsey Cloutier was known for her contagious smile, boisterous laugh and her effortless ability to make friends.

Those who knew her best say these characteristics were a product of an overflowing love of life — a love amplified by a battle with cancer that lasted more than half her 31 years.

She truly cherished each moment, knowing the next wasn’t guaranteed.

Lindsey Cloutier

Lindsey Cloutier

“She had a true zest for life,” said Cloutier’s cousin, Nick Shelton. “She definitely got the most out of it while she was here.”

Cloutier, died from leukemia late Wednesday night at a Chicago hospital.

Shelton said she went peacefully, surrounded by her husband, Dan, family and friends.

Although they are cousins, Shelton said he and Cloutier acted more like brother and sister. They loved each other, terrorized each other, but mostly had fun together.

“I was extremely close to her — she was a best friend. We just had a lot of great memories together,” he said. “There are so many things she will be remembered for. We will all really miss her.”

A Niles native, Cloutier lived most of her life there and graduated from Niles High School in 2001.

She battled leukemia three times, including at ages 16 and 19. She celebrated 10 years of remission on Aug. 27, 2013, but the cancer returned a couple weeks later.

The Niles community rallied in support of Cloutier, holding several benefits, bone marrow drives and even a 5K in her name.

“She is someone you cannot and wouldn’t want to forget,” said friend Lacey Peters. “Her free spirit, her high energy and her love for life, family and friends were greater than anything else. I will miss her terribly, but will keep her spirit alive by living life to the fullest and trying to keep a smile on my face through all circumstances.”

Cloutier thrived as an outside sales person for Leader Publications in Niles, where she worked the past four years.

Olfactory Hue Bistro owner Daysha Amster, one of Cloutier’s clients, described herself as a hard sell. Amster said she was won over by Cloutier’s personality, charm and confidence.

“That girl came in with a true smile on her face and you could tell she genuinely wanted to help your business,” Amster said. “Personality wise she would be so confident that you couldn’t help but be inspired.”

Fellow Leader Publications employee Sherina Gonzalez met Cloutier in 2010, and the two quickly became good friends. Gonzalez said Cloutier would joke about her ability to connect with people by saying, “I make insta-friends.”

Both shared a love of music and going to festivals.

“She had a vibrant personality, the type where she was always smiling and always laughing — who wouldn’t want that type of person in their lives?” Gonzalez said. “Every experience with her was like innocent childhood fun.”

Gonzalez said Cloutier’s favorite color was tie dye and she loved flashing peace signs. The only type of movies she enjoyed watching were comedies or ones made by Disney.

“It always had to be fun, positive and happy — no drama, no scary, nothing else,” Gonzalez said. “The only thing I want to remember about her is the laughter.”

A Zumba party will be held from 9-11 p.m. Saturday at the YMCA in honor of Cloutier.