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American Patriotic 11


Merle Joseph Deslaurier

July 3, 1925 ~ July 17, 2018 (age 93)

Merle Joseph DesLaurier, 93, beloved husband of 65 years to Louise (Peterson) DesLaurier, died peacefully in the care of his nurses and his beloved wife at the Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow on Tuesday, July17, at the age of 93. Merle was born in Springfield on July 3, 1925, a beloved son of Henry and Nellie (Sedlow) DesLaurier, he was raised and educated in Springfield and has resided in East Longmeadow since 1963. Merle served his country honorably in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a PFC with the 180 Infantry Regiment. After his service in the Army, he enjoyed a long career as a truck driver with Carolina Motor Freight, before retiring in 1987 and was a 33 year member of Teamsters Local # 671. Upon his retirement, Merle helped with the welfare of his brother veterans’. He personally suffered from PTSD and he was a champion for the cause. Along with his fellow veterans’ he made sure they received their due benefits from the VA. He was beneficial with parking rights for disabled veterans’, which earned him the term, the tenacious GI Joe. He was a longtime and at one time very active member of the Christian Life Center in Springfield. Merle was very athletic in his younger years and served as a coach and mentor to the youth softball and hockey teams within the church. He is survived by his loving wife, Louise, of East Longmeadow; and daughter, Denise Rickelhoff, of Gloucester, MA; two cherished grandchildren, Erika Fogerty and Jacobis N. Rickelhoff and two great grandchildren, Kayla May and Emily Fogerty; his devoted sister, Marian Carranza, of Springfield, and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was also predeceased by his brothers, Walter and Leonard Eddings, and Ernest DesLaurier; and sister, Eleanor McMullin. Family and friends are invited to gather on Tuesday, July 24, for a period of visitation from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Hafey Funeral Home, 494 Belmont Ave., Springfield, followed by a service at 12 noon in the funeral home. Committal prayers with military honors will follow immediately after the service at St. Aloysius Cemetery in Indian Orchard. In lieu of flowers, donations in Merle’s memory may be made to Disabled Veterans National Foundation, 4601 Forbes Blvd., Suite #130, Lanham, MD 20706 or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1942.

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