ST. ALBANS – Joseph Isreal Henri “Leo” Deslauriers, age 97, passed peacefully on Sunday, November 8, 2020 of vascular disease of the legs, and dementia.
He was born on the family farm in East Berkshire on March 24, 1923 to the late Michel and Mary Rose (Bernier) Deslauriers.
Leo overcame challenges early in his life. When he started school, it took him two years to learn English. He hand milked 25 cows on the farm when he was 8. During school vacations when he was older, he cut ice blocks 30 inches thick on the river in Enosburg Falls for the milk trucks going to Boston. At 17, he worked part time at Saints service station in Berkshire. He later drove city bus in St. Albans, taxi for Sid Boudreau, and Herb Blouin and he hauled wheelbarrows of cement for the new safe in the former Franklin Bank in St. Albans. He bought his first car – A 1931 model A for $31.00 in Gardner, Mass. At the age of 23, he enlisted into the Army where he earned Marksman and trained new recruits how to shoot. Six months after being honorably discharged, he married Cecile Rocheleau on August 10, 1948. He retired from Union Carbide after 30 years in 1981. He also did carpentry work including, building two houses, and also 18 garages on Sampson’s Point, and other places. He loved to grow vegetables, make birdhouses, play 500, and go dancing with Cecile. He was a member of the American Legion in Enosburg Falls for 59 years. He lived at the Ave Maria home in Richford for 15 wonderful years. He enjoyed the food, activities, and company. On the weekends he would go out for lunch with family at the Crossing. The staff were very nice to him, and helped make some of his Birthday’s special.
He is survived by his children David of Burlington, Michael of St. Albans, Donna of St. Albans, and Mark of Danvers, Mass., and; grandchildren, David Jr and his wife Hiromi, Daniel and his wife Justine, Jeffrey and his wife Amber Snow, Joseph, Marcel, and Nicole (Deslauriers) Arthurs, and her husband Howard; great-grandchildren, Jacques and Cecile, Angela and Georgina, Emmett, and Haley and Hanna Arthurs. He leaves a special niece Susan (Kerr) Doolittle of Bristol, Conn., and her family. Besides his parents, Leo was predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Cecile on April 28, 2001; great-grandchildren, Connor, Ethan, Nathalie and Hailey; brothers Armand, and George; sisters Noella Smith, and Mary Jane Kerr, and brother in-law Walter Kerr.
Family and friends are invited to visit on Friday, Nov 13, from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Goss Life Celebration Home, 89 Grand Ave., Swanton, VT 05488 and a Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Nov 14, at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Angels Catholic Church. Interment will follow in The Mt. Calvary Cemetery, St. Albans.
Please visit the Goss Life Celebration Homes website to share condolences, photos and favorite memories at www.gossfs.com.