AUGUSTA — O’Neil Gerard Lajoie, of Mount Vernon Avenue, died on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009, at the age of 88, at the Hospice Unit at the Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office Center at Togus. He was surrounded by his extensive family and the caring hospice staff.
Born in Van Buren on June 30, 1921, to Christopher and Alma (Dube) Lajoie, O’Neil then relocated with his family to the Augusta area in the early 1930s.
He married Lorette (Bernier) in 1949. They celebrated their 60th anniversary in June of this year.
O’Neil started his construction career at Wyman and Simpson in Augusta. He established his own company in 1960, initially with his brother, then bringing in his sons Kenneth, Steve and John, who took over the reins when he retired. Lajoie Brothers Construction continues today and employs several generations of Lajoie children along with many other employees. O’Neil felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment whenever he saw a Lajoie Brothers’ truck, employee or project in operation.
O’Neil served in the Marine Corps from 1940 to 1945, carrying out the majority of his duties in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He ended his military career with honor as a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps Raiders. He was twice wounded in battle and awarded two Purple Hearts. O’Neil was recently awarded the State of Maine Silver Star for his service and valor. He was extremely proud of his association with the Marine Corps Raiders and his service to his country.
O’Neil was a communicant of St. Augustine Catholic Church and was devoted to his faith in God and the church. He was a lifetime member of Le Club Calumet, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks and the Disabled American Veterans.
Our father will be lovingly remembered for his commitment to his family, his strength, work ethic and his honesty and integrity. We will also fondly remember his ability to tell a story, share a laugh and have a good time with family and friends. Many will remember the regular outings in O’Neil’s backyard as “the best of times.”
The Lajoie family would like to express our sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the doctors, nurses and staff in the palliative care and hospice unit at Togus. Our father was able to live his final days with dignity, respect and love and, for that, we will be forever grateful.
O’Neil was predeceased by his son, Robert “Bobby” Lajoie in 1983; his grandson, Jason Stoddard, in 2000; and his brothers Raymond, Armand and Joseph Lajoie.
He is survived by his wife, Lorette; four sons, Kenneth and his wife, Lois (Hibbert), Stephen and his wife, Cheryl (Stoddard), John and his wife, Debbie (Marshall), all of Augusta, and Jeffrey and his wife, Kristine (Beverly), of La Vista, Neb.; five daughters, Barbara and her husband, Carl Fenwick, of Sidney, Elaine and her husband, Michael Barden, of Augusta, Jeanne Lajoie, of Portland, Christine Lajoie-Cameron and her husband, Jack Cameron, of Manchester, and Gail Lajoie, of Falmouth; two sisters, Aurora Hook of Silver Spring, Md., and Arline Hawkins, of Augusta; 17 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
At the family’s request, there will be no visiting hours. A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. A private committal ceremony with military honors will take place at the Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Civic Center Drive, Augusta.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make a donation in O’Neil’s memory to Veterans’ Affairs, Togus Hospice Unit, Togus, VAMC, 1 VA Center, Augusta, ME 04330.
Arrangements are under the care of Plummer Funeral Home, 16 Pleasant St., Augusta.