GLOUCESTER: Richard L. Legendre, Sr., 71, died Christmas Eve at his residence surrounded by his beloved wife Jayne (Steele) Legendre of 48 years, his children and grandchildren.
Born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, on August 17, 1936, he was the son of the late Frank L. and Doris (Kelsey) Legendre. The family moved to Gloucester when he was four years old.
Dick graduated from Gloucester High School in 1955 and enlisted in the United States Air Force. Qualifying with the highest security rank, he was assigned to (SAC) Strategic Air Command under General Curtis E. LeMay and was responsible for the protection of General LeMay’s plane. He went on many TDY assignments in countries that were integral in trying to keep peace during the Cold War with Russia. He was also in the Hungarian conflict in the late 1950's for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.
At the end of his tour in 1959, General LeMay asked "Frenchie" as he called Dick, to reenlist and stay with him, whereupon Dick told him no, he had to get home to find his "Jayne", the girl he grew up with, loved and wanted to marry before she got away again. And---that is exactly what he did. He found her, and literally swept her off her feet, and married her in 1959.
He was employed with Sears & Roebuck in Gloucester doing household appliance repairs, and then became employed with the former Lattof Oil Company, later known as Bursaw Oil Company. He worked there for years until he decided to start his own company, the Shoreline Heating Specialist Company. He loved being self-employed and quickly had many devoted customers. Dick was the kind of man that gave 120% of himself to his "friends" as he referred to them. No matter what time of day or night you called Dick for help, he would be there, and his customers liked and respected him for that.
Unfortunately, Dick was afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis in 1986-which turned his world upside down. He had hoped so much that he would be able to go back to work that his truck sat vigilantly outside, loaded and ready to go at any moment for two years.
Every cloud has its silver lining, and his was time, for the first time in years Dick could enjoy his wife, children, grandchildren and his home. He loved his home. He became a nurturer. His whole aim in life was taking care of "Jayne" and his dog, Petey. This big strong man who tossed water heaters and boilers around became a nurturer. A new and wonderful journey began. And it worked for 21 years. Dick fought MS, but unfortunately he came up against another foe, cancer, and lost.
In addition to his beloved wife, Jayne, he is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Richard L., Jr. and Kathleen (Rose) Legendre of Gloucester, two daughters and a son-in-law, Deborah A. Legendre, and her companion, Shirley Witt all of Gloucester, Nicole E. and Timothy Sampson of Fremont, NH, five grandchildren, Danielle Rose Legendre and Erik Legendre both of Gloucester, Micaela Elise, Hannah Mae, and Jessica Anne Sampson all of Fremont, NH, two brothers, James and his wife, Donna (Newman) Legendre of Alton Bay, NH and Barry and his wife, Donna (Garafalo) Legendre of Gloucester, five sisters-in-law, Judith (Steele) and her husband, Gordon Goetemann of Gloucester, Norma (Steele) and her husband, Salvatore Parisi of Beverly, Dawn (Steele) and her husband, Stephen Dexter of Hamilton, Elizabeth Steele of Haverhill and Anna Steele of Cape Coral, FL and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends. He was also predeceased by a sister and two brothers-in-law, Barbara (Legendre) and James Eason and Owen E. Steele, Jr., a nephew, David Eason and a niece, Julie Parisi.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday morning in the Our Lady of Good Voyage Church at 9:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are cordially invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held on Friday evening in the Pike-Grondin Funeral Home, 61 Middle Street, Gloucester from 4 – 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to the Multiple Sclerosis National Society, 101 First Ave., Suite #6, Waltham, MA 02451-1115. Interment will be held in the Calvary Cemetery.