Sturbridge...Lionel J. (Lenny) Beaupre, 97, formerly of Farmington, CT and Sturbridge, MA, died Thursday, May 2 in Auburn, MA. Lenny will be remembered fondly as a kind man who loved spending time with his family and many friends.
He was born on January 26, 1922 in Grand Isle, Maine, a small farming community on the St. John River in the northern tip of Maine. He was one of 17 children born to Ulric and Eugenie Beaupre. As a young boy, he was accustomed to hard work, as the family grew its own food, raised livestock, and harvested what Lenny would call “the best - Maine potatoes”. Lenny would always check a bag of potatoes to see that they had been grown in Maine.
He was 19 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The following summer, he was drafted into the Army, and sent to Ft. Jackson, SC for training. It was the farthest he had ever been from home, but it was nothing compared to what lay ahead. In November, 1943, he shipped out of Newport News, VA on a troop ship bound for Tunisia, where he joined the invasion landings at Anzio, Italy. On his 22nd birthday, he was part of the second wave to hit the beachhead at Anzio.
After a month of fighting around Anzio, he was captured by German forces and marched to a POW camp near Rome. He remained a POW, mostly working on farms in Germany, until the end of the war in May, 1945.
After the war, he met Simone Bergeron. They were married on August 2, 1947, and went on their honeymoon in Niagara Falls in his new Chevrolet coupe. That Chevy was the start of his long love affair with cars. He took great pride in his cars, and he loved to drive.
After retiring from the Post Office at 60, he and Simone moved to Florida. They also had a summer home in Sturbridge, MA, where they would spend half of the year closer to their many relatives in New England. In retirement, he and Simone lived simply, but their days were filled with trips to visit friends and family, gardening, church, and, for Lenny, making sure his car always looked great.
His children will remember him as a loving father who instilled in them the importance of education and living life to its greatest potential. He took great pride in their accomplishments and those of his grandchildren.
His devoted wife of 69 years, Simone, died in 2017. He is survived by a brother, Robert, of Manchester, CT, a daughter, Anne, of Great Falls, VA, two sons, Paul, of Newington, CT, and Joel, of Granby, CT, and five grandchildren.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 10 at Notre Dame Catholic Church, 446 Main St., Southbridge, MA. The family will receive friends and guests immediately after the mass at the La Salle Reception Center next to the church. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Lionel’s memory can be made to Disabled American Veterans (DAV) or American Red Cross.
Sansoucy Funeral Home, 40 Marcy Street, Southbridge, MA is directing the arrangements.