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Cynthia Bettencourt

Image by Nick Andréka


May 10, 1984 – May 20, 2024

It is with great sadness that the family of Cynthia Melo Bettencourt announces her sudden passing on Monday May 20, 2024 at the age of 40.

Cynthia is survived by her loving partner, Sara, her parents John and Maria, her sisters Ashley (Tyler), Alyssa, her brother Nelson (Marvin), and her nephews Aidan and Tanner and many aunts, uncles, cousins on the Melo and Bettencourt sides.

Cynthia was born in Winnipeg on May 10th, 1984. She was the first child and grandchild in the family of Portuguese immigrants.

Initially she lived in the West End of Winnipeg with her grandparents living across a back lane from each other. At four years old, the family grew as her mother Maria found out “surprise you are having twins” and the move was made to Garden City, to what would become their family home to this day. Cynthia would often accompany her dad as he oversaw the construction of their new home and this started a close, deep bond with her dad. A few years later her brother Nelson was born and now the family was complete.

Growing up in a Portuguese household meant soccer was everything. Of course, Cynthia would attend her dad’s soccer games and as per Bettencourt tradition she also played soccer and was naturally coached by her dad. She played in net just like her dad and it ignited a lifelong passion for the sport. Cynthia loved Portugal’s national team and would follow them closely in the Euro and World Cup. She would often organize family and friends to watch games together and was even so excited for our own national women’s team.

Another aspect of being raised Portuguese means big, loud, family gatherings with an overabundance of food. Such as weddings late into the night, Sunday dinners at her Avo Germana’s (grandma) where their close relationship was forged, and outings to the Portuguese cultural centre where Cynthia danced with the Portuguese dancing group when she was 10.

Summertime meant outdoor trips – to the beaches and cottages to spend more time with family. It was here that her photographic eye was developed to see the beauty in landscapes that she often used as her backdrop for her photography. Cynthia also attended Luther Village with her family and went on to be a counselor there one summer.

As a teen, Cynthia attended and graduated from MBCI. It was during these years that she taught herself to play the guitar and on those rare occasions when she would sing, she had such a lovely voice – Cynthia had so much talent! With her gift for creating art, the next thing she tried was photography – she asked to borrow an old SLR camera from one of her aunts – and there her passion for photography really began. It was also through these years that she came out as a lesbian and found the LGBTQ+ community and acceptance for herself. During this time, Cynthia developed really close friendships that she maintained to this day.

Initially Cynthia had to lay her creative talent aside and concentrate on getting a job that would pay the bills. She worked in radio as a producer for 3 years, in Dauphin and Swan River, and came back to Winnipeg and worked at CKJS. She even worked for the Portuguese multicultural station in production. After radio, she became a bus driver during the years 2011 -2014. Some days she would have her dad’s route and was thrilled to be able to “drive” him to work. These regular jobs made it possible for her to buy her present-day condo and now that she had her own space she adopted “Beau” her beloved pug. It was in March of 2012 that she drove with her mom to Weyburn, Saskatchewan during a snowstorm to rescue Beau and he always was a source of joy for her.

Then in 2014 Cynthia would really follow her talents and dreams and decided to start her own business in Photography. For her this was not a job, but a passion that she deeply loved. She took what we see everyday and made it into art and a cherished memory. She had a skill for putting people at ease and was always ready with creative solutions. She knew when to capture an important moment. What we couldn’t say with words, Cynthia said in her photographs – photographs that would convey emotion to the point that when you looked at the photograph, you could “feel the moment” as her partner Sara described. Cynthia’s work also took her to beautiful destinations and part of her life’s dream was to continue traveling.

In 2018, Cynthia met Sara, who was also a photographer and unbeknownst to her, had been following Cynthia on social media. They quickly bonded over shared love of photography and sports and their first date was an NHL hockey game… Jets vs the Bruins. After this they quickly became a couple and were deeply committed to one another.

Cynthia had the greatest laugh, she found joy in so much, she had passion, she lived out her art and she loved much…. Now she is gone, and we miss her terribly, but she will stay in our hearts, and she is going to continue to be a part of our lives as we share stories and remember her and how much we love her.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Cynthia’s memory to the Boston Terrier & Pug Rescue of Southern Manitoba.

A celebration of Cynthia’s life will be held at 6:30pm on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 603 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, MB.

Cynthia’s family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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