Editor’s Note: The following was written by George LaCroix and published by Legacy Remembers on Dec. 22, 2023. George was the husband of Dr. Maureen LaCroix, who served as the Assistant Superintendent of Bedford Public Schools from July 1997 to July 2001 and then as Superintendent of Bedford Public Schools from July 2001 to June 2012.
On Dec. 21, 2023, George LaCroix, Jr., 76, a resident of Plymouth, who roamed the mean streets of Dodgeville and resided in a 30-room house with six bathrooms – the “Big Block” tenement on the corner of South Main Street and Henshaw Avenue, “shrugged off the surly bonds of Earth.”
Knowing that his remaining time was short, and quietly enduring incessant physical pain; George gratefully embraced the ecstasy of death with open arms.
The oldest child of George LaCroix, Sr. and Lucienne (Pinel) LaCroix is survived by his wife, Maureen, their son Patrick, his wife Tracy (Smith) LaCroix, and their three miracles: Max, Abe and Tess LaCroix all residents of Westborough; plus siblings Richard LaCroix, Marie LaCroix, and Suzanne LaCroix – all of Attleboro.
Educated in the Attleboro public schools, he graduated from Attleboro High School in 1965, whereupon he toiled in an assortment of dead end, soul-crushing, local businesses; a hodgepodge of mills, stores, gas stations, and factories.
Eventually, all of his former employers permanently closed their doors. In time, he enrolled at Bridgewater State College. But after several semesters, it was evident that his adolescent self clashed with the traditional pedagogy of the Bridgewater administration; then both parties agreed it would be better if George pursued other opportunities. That was an agreeable solution because at that point George was in full pursuit of Maureen Lennon of Randolph, who thanks to the magic of alphabetical order, had sat next to him in English Comp 101. He successfully wooed Maureen and they married on July 17, 1971.
However, George’s lack of academic success at BSC had a silver lining beyond acquiring his partner for life; he discovered he was an autodidact, a person who enjoyed learning without the aid of a teacher or a formal education, a self-taught person. George realized he valued knowledge more than a diploma. His interests included philosophy, the arts, mythology, poetry, and early childhood education. Miraculously, he found uses for all that subject matter down through the years.
He also became an adventurous home cook and turned this hobby into a career in the food service industry as a chef for Epicurean Feast – a corporate dining provider. The Monday through Friday, breakfast/lunch work schedule, freed him to spend afternoons and weekends with his young son, Patrick, and they immersed themselves in the youth sports culture of Holden.
A benefit to working in the food service industry was having unlimited access to red-netted bags that once contained 50 pounds of onions. George hung them from clotheslines strung around the perimeter of his backyard to create a more realistic environment for their epic Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby battles.
Later, George became the food service director for several school systems, but it was his time working at The New England Center for Children, a residential school for autistic children, that was the most personally rewarding.
As a devoted spouse to wife Maureen, he served behind the scenes as her personal assistant/male consort as she advanced from teacher to high school principal, to the superintendent of the Bedford public schools. To assist Maureen’s professional progress, he planned, shopped for, and prepared all the family meals almost immediately after marriage, and would explain to anyone who would listen that the only meals Maureen had ever prepared for son, Patrick, occurred while she was breastfeeding him. Invariably, she failed to see the humor in that pithy observation. However, her grace in granting George absolution despite his infrequent verbal gaffes and occasional irascibility sustained them when his attempts at humor fell flat or hurt the feelings of His Most Precious Jewel.
In time, Maureen became renowned for the apple and pecan pies she gave to her staff, school committee members, and local politicians and officials to celebrate the holidays. George created those holiday pies; peeling fresh apples by hand, making mountains of pie dough, and beginning in early October baking at least 90 pies; sometimes more, which were highly coveted by the happy recipients.
To Max, Abe, and Tess he was known as Pepe, a devoted “season ticket holder,” who enthusiastically made the trek from Plymouth to Westborough to attend their academic, artistic, and athletic endeavors. Pepe believed that attendance at their events was better than winning Powerball, and anticipated cheering them on from the sideline like a four-year-old waiting for Santa to slide down the chimney. In his desire to leave his grandchildren tangible artifacts of remembrance, he taught himself the craft of quilt-making and created three full size memory quilts, customized to reflect their individual interests and the unique personal bond he shared with each of them.
George lived his life guided by the wisdom of two famous men: the first, Socrates who declared “that the unexamined life isn’t worth living;” the other Maurice Sendak, the children’s book author and illustrator, who wrote “There must be more to life than having everything.”
Finally, George insisted that after he bid adieu to this life his departure should be marked by laughter, singing along with lots of “oldies”, soul, and Zydeco classics; and one last Wiffle Ball Home Run Derby. To honor this final request, the family will select a time and place to fire up the grills, to swap stories, and to hoist A Parting Glass or three. George, now observing everything from his penthouse suite in Hotel Eternity, invites everyone to swing for the fences. Invitations will provide the specifics. George indicated that in lieu of cards or flowers to consider instead making a memorial contribution to The New England Center for Children, 33 Turnpike Rd., Southborough, MA 01772, or to The Keith Rooks Memorial Scholarship Fund, 20 Handy Street, Attleboro, MA 02703.
Editor’s Note: every word above authored and written by George. We will miss and cherish him forever – Patrick and Maureen.
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