GORHAM – From the time she met her husband and his three children, Dawn Rivard had one priority in life.

“All she cared about was the kids, her family and me. That was her whole priority in life,” said her husband, Scott Rivard. “Nothing else mattered.”

Even leading up to her death Monday, she wanted her husband, his children, Valen, Derek and Curtis, and the daughter they had together, Danielle, to be happy.

“She does not want people to be sad. She wants everyone to be happy and think happy thoughts,” Scott Rivard said of his wife, who was 39.

Mrs. Rivard’s desire for everyone to be happy reflects her personality. Danielle said her mother was always happy.

“She never had a dull moment in her life, ever,” she said.

Mrs. Rivard was introduced to her husband through his sister.

“The day I met her, we both knew, that was it,” he said. “We were the perfect couple. I’ve never seen any other couple like us.”

The day after they met, Mrs. Rivard met his children and decided at that moment that she wanted to be involved in raising them. When they married a year after they met, Mrs. Rivard became a full-time mom. She devoted her time to their interests, regardless of what that involved.

Her husband said both sons raced motocross for years.

“She was 100 percent in with them,” he said, as she helped to fix their bikes and attended their races. “She’d sit out in the mud all day in the rain, because that’s what they wanted to do.”

When Valen was old enough, Mrs. Rivard became her cheering coach, her husband said. Having been a cheerleader herself, she was willing and excited to help.

After being diagnosed with lung cancer and receiving chemotherapy, Mrs. Rivard was still dedicated to her children. She refused to miss Danielle’s ski races at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, even if it meant she had to climb to watch.

“She was my best friend,” her daughter said. “We did everything together.”

Having her mother at home all the time was always helpful, Danielle said. When she arrived home after school, her mother always asked how her day was.

“If it was a bad day, she’d hug us and tell us tomorrow was a new day,” she said.

Her daughter remembers cleaning the house while listening to music and singing along with her mom, and the “shopping therapy” trips they enjoyed together.

Every day after school, Mrs. Rivard would sit on the couch with Danielle and watch the “Gilmore Girls,” a television show featuring a mother and daughter who are more like best friends.

“We always thought that was our relationship,” her daughter said. “We’d sit there and watch, even if we’d seen the episode 10 times. That was our thing.”

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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