We Honor & Remember
The Veterans we honor on this Tribute Page were residents of the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke who died during the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 at the Soldiers' Home in 2020. The Veterans died either after testing positive from COVID-19 or from complications from the coronavirus or from a related illness as a result of the outbreak.
Think not only upon their passing; remember the glory of their spirit.
Roy M. Benson, 88, served his country in the Army during the Korean War. Upon his return, he met and married his adored wife Marlene (Wipple) and lived in West Suffield, Conn., for 22 years. They moved to Southwick in 1977 and, in many ways, Roy made Southwick his hometown. He served on the Board of Appeals, Cemetery Commission, and Council on Aging as a board member. Roy was very proud of his family and they meant the world to him. Roy had a great sense of humor, he whistled his way through life, and we thank him for all the memories.
Robert E. Blais, 90 was passionate in life where he was always helping others and seen with a smile on his face. He graduated from Cathedral High School and enlisted in the Korean War as a Tin Can Sailor. From 1948 to 1952 he served our country and was awarded a commendation for heroism. Robert worked as a heavy equipment operator in the local union. He loved his family, friends, fishing and cherished his time spent in Florida with his beloved wife of 68 years.
Arnold, 100, was a World War II Navy Veteran and served from 1939 to1946. During the war, he served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Arnold entered the service as a basic seaman and achieved the rank of chief warrant officer 1. After the war, along with his brother and father, Arnold co-owned and operated Boido Construction Company of West Springfield where they built a multitude of housing and apartment projects. He was a communicant of St. Ann in West Springfield and an active member of the Holy Name and the St. Vincent de Paul Societies. Upon his death, he was the oldest continuous member of UNICO International in the country. Arnold was an avid reader of non-fiction and loved history.
Joseph Patrick Bryant, 93, of East Longmeadow served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict; he was assigned to the USS Braine DD630, operating a fire fighting gun. He also had the proud distinction of being the onboard, undefeated, boxing champion.Joseph worked for American Bosch, then retired, after 40-plus years, from the U.S. Postal Service. He was a communicant of St. Michael’s Parish in East Longmeadow. Joe loved his family, and, throughout his life, enjoyed time spent at the Groton Long Point, Conn., shore. He also enjoyed golf and his favorite teams, the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots.
Donald A. Bushey, 85, of Springfield, was a retired pressman for Westvaco. He was a communicant of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Springfield. Donald was a 14-year Air Force veteran serving his country in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars from 1954 to 1968 as a staff sergeant. He was the recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal for outstanding professional skill, knowledge and personal endeavors under adverse conditions. He later served as an officer of VFW Post 90. He had a passion for hunting, fishing and capturing nature in drawings that he entered in various local competitions.
Joseph P. Catallozzi, 65, served in the Navy for 12 years. Joe was born in Springfield to the late Edmund and Florence Catallozzi. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 1973. After his military service, Joe worked as an IT Business Consultant Supervisor at The Hartford for 19 years before retiring. His passion was writing poetry, and he published two books of poetry, Simply Sweet and Sometimes Sour and The Sands of Time. He is survived by his two sisters, Dolores and Lori, and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.
John Francis Chaput, 88, of Holyoke, proudly served in the Navy with a rank of E4 during the Korean War and was a longtime member of American Legion Post #351. Jack was a retired electrician and worked for both Uniroyal and the Mount Tom Power Plant. He was an avid sports fan and loved to golf.
George V. Coppez, 98, was a graduate of Malden High School. George was a World War II Army Air Corps Veteran. He was stationed in Hawaii and Westover AFB. George worked for Philip Hano and retired from Curtis Business Forms as a lithographer. He loved all the Boston sports teams, especially the Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. He was an assistant football coach for Holyoke High School for many years. He was a talented musician and drummer playing with the Jimmy Dorsey Band in N.Y. for a period of time. He played numerous shows at the Mountain Park Playhouse during the summer months and he also played many years with the Gerry Lamothe Band.
John F. Costello, 89, graduated from St. Jerome High School in Holyoke and was a veteran of the Air Force. He worked for many years at Rexam and retired in 1996. He was a gold card member of the Knights of Columbus 4044 in Chicopee, the John Boyle O’Reilly Club in Springfield, and had previously served as the chaplin at the American Legion Post 266 in Granby. John loved Irish music and sports, especially the New York Giants and the New York Yankees. He enjoyed playing softball and basketball in his younger years.
Richard C. Cowden served in the Army. He was a communications expert in the Army and in his life after his military service. He was the first west coast correspondent for “All Things Considered” and he also had an extensive television career as both a producer and an on-air personality.
Ronald L. “Ronnie” Cyr, 86, of Wilbraham, grew up in Portland, Maine, and joined the service after high school, serving with honor in the Air Force during the Korean War for four years. He was later employed for many years as a salesman for Pioneer Tool Supply and American Tool. Ronnie was very involved with his children’s school activities including being an assistant Boy Scout leader. He also worked as a volunteer for many years at Our Lady of Sacred Heart weekly bingo nights and served as Vice President of the Cathedral High School Booster Club. Ronald loved summers and boating at the family cottage in Holland, Mass. He also loved to ride his motorcycles.
Norman J. Deshaies, 88 and a long-time resident of South Hadley, served in the Army. He later worked as a Union carpenter for Local 108 in Springfield. He was a communicant of St. Theresa's in South Hadley and enjoyed spending time with his friends from church and his family. Norman also loved playing cards.
Emilio Joseph, “Leo,” DiPalma grew up in Springfield. Leo was a staff sergeant in the Army during World War II. Toward the end of the war, he served as Sergeant of the Guard at the Nuremberg trials. He is memorialized as a wax figure at the Holocaust Museum in Richmond, Va. Leo was a kind, humble, family man. His top priority was caring for, protecting and providing for his wife and four daughters.
Roland V. Drapeau, 81, lived most of his life in Holyoke and was educated at Immaculate Conception School and Holyoke Trade School. Roland served his country by serving three years in the Air Force. He worked for many years at Hamilton Standard in Connecticut. After he retired from there he worked for the Council on Aging in Holyoke. He was a Red Sox and N.Y. Giants fan, but his first love in sports was the hockey teams in Springfield. He started going to their games when they were the Indians.
Margaret P. "Peg" (Huddle) Dudley, 86, proudly served her country in the Navy during the Korean War. Known for her wit and wisdom, Margaret loved spending time with her family and friends, traveling, reading, taking long walks, and playing cards with her "Georgia Girls."
Robert L. “Bob” Duval Sr., was an Army Veteran who served during the Korean War and received his bachelor’s degree from American International College. Bob was a longtime Ludlow resident and worked for several years at Flexon in Spencer from where he retired. He was a devoted member of the former St. Mary of the Assumption Parish where he served as deacon from his ordination in 1984 until its closing in January of 2010, and upon its closing, he became a member of St. Elizabeth Parish. He took pride in his work within the community while doing ministry work at the Ludlow Correctional Facility as well as with the sick and elderly.
Evan R. Enders, 93, served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946 and the Air Force from 1947 to 1967. He retired with the rank of major having served his country honorably in countless nations throughout the world. Evan flew many aircraft, among them B-52’s and B-47’s and proudly flew during the Korean War, transporting the wounded. He was a corporate pilot for Textron for many years along with previously working at Tobey, Inc., New England Propeller, Westover Air Force Base, and Central Airport Flying Service, Inc. Along with flying, Evan's greatest love was for the outdoors.
Robert L. Furlani, 83, of Southwick, served in the US Navy, aboard the USS Yosemite. He then became a lineman; he spent several years at South Hadley Electric. “Ranger” worked at Northeast Utilities for most of his career; especially the “trouble job.” He also enjoyed hunting, skiing, and walks in the forest.
Ralph T. Gamelli, 86, was born and raised in Springfield, and served in the Army and overseas in 1953-1954.After graduating from Technical High School in 1951, he studied TV repair and became a co-owner andoperator, along with his Uncle Tom, of Gamelli TV & Appliance for over 40 years. He lived in Agawam with his wife of 51 years, Joanne, and three children. Both he and Joanne were avid golfers and longtime members of Shaker Farms Country Club in Westfield. He also loved playing cards, bowling, andfollowing the Red Sox and Patriots.
Edward Michael Glista, 88, was raised in Springfield with his three brothers, and after high school he entered into the Air Force during the Korean War. He worked at Hamilton Standard as an Aerospace Engineer his entire career, working on space suits and guidance systems for the space shuttle and satellite systems. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed bringing his grandchildren to breakfast and teaching them to play golf. He loved to play the stock market as well. As an engineer, he was pretty much able to fix anything with resourceful methodology, and his home in East Longmeadow is a tribute to his home-grown ingenuity.
Julius “Jules” Green, 92, was loved by all who knew him for his infectious grin, outgoing personality, sense of humor and love of life. He was the dad, brother, uncle and friend you could call anytime for anything, even in the middle of the night. He especially enjoyed visits with his family in the Berkshires, vacations with his children and grandchildren in Cape Cod, and winters in Florida with friends. He graduated from Technical High School and then served in the Navy in World War ll. He was stationed in Guam with a Naval Construction Battalion known as the “Seabees.” He was a Master Mason, Shriner and Melha Mariner. A member of Pioneer Valley Yacht Club, he got great pleasure floating down the river on his pontoon boat.
Alfred Healy, 91, loved corny jokes and adored his family. He listened to audiobooks constantly and closely followed the news. He devoured history and was quick with facts on U.S. presidents. He was humble. He earned a Bronze Star serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, but his family only found out how decorated a soldier he was when he was gone. He was a longtime U.S. Postal Service employee who rose to become a town postmaster. He was sharp as a tack and liked to deem things “snazzy” or “classy.”
Theodore A. (Ted) Kapinos, 91, of Hadley retired with the rank of captain from the Massachusetts State Police. He also served as Director of Security at the Springfield Library and Museums Association for more than 15 years. Ted served in the Military Police in the Army during the Korean Conflict. Ted held degrees in Criminal Justice from American International College, Western New England University (College), and Holyoke Community College. He graduated from Chicopee High School in 1946. He was a member of the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Hadley and a life member of the American Legion, Post 275.
Anthony E. King, 102, was a lifelong resident of West Springfield. Tony was a 1935 graduate of Cathedral High School where he played baseball and basketball, and he was honored in its Sports Hall of Fame. He worked 45 years at American Bosch, where he also played baseball and basketball in the Triple A Industrial League. During World War II, he served for three years as a radioman in the Navy. Tony was the captain of the 1934 American Legion Post 21 baseball team, whose players took a courageous stand against racism to support their African-American friend and teammate, Ernest “Bunny” Taliaferro. The documentary is archived in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Stephen S. Kulig, 92, of Chicopee, died on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at the Soldier’s Home in Holyoke from COVID 19. He retired in 1990 from Monsanto Chemical Co. in Springfield after 40 years of service as an Instrument Mechanic. Stephen was born on March 9, 1928 in Chicopee. He was the son of the late William and Barbara (Kowalek) Kulig. Stephen was a communicant of the former St. Patrick’s Church, and then began attending mass at St. Anne’s and St. Stanislaus Church before moving to the Solider’s Home. He was a 1946 graduate of Chicopee High School and U. S. Navy veteran serving from 1946 to 1950 on the USS Valley Forge.
Harvey J. Lafleche, Sr., served his country in the Army during World War II. He married the love of his life, Gertrude M. (Fournier) Lafleche in 1948 and they had five children. His family was the source of his pride and joy. A longtime resident of Granby, he worked at the National Blank Book in Holyoke also serving as VP of the local union, then at the Granby Post Office also serving as union steward of the local chapter of the letter carriers association and as a Granby auxiliary police officer. Turning trash to “treasures” was his favorite hobby. Harvey was a teller of tall tales and bad jokes that his loving wife of 70 years patiently endured.
Edward P. Lang Jr., 91, was raised in East Boston, graduated from East Boston High School, attended Boston University and later received a bachelor’s degree while in the service in Omaha, Neb., and his master’s degree in Business Administration from Western New England College in Springfield. He served his country during World War II in the Navy and received the World War II Victory Medal. He reenlisted in the Air Force during the Korean War and also served during Vietnam and retired in 1970 after 20 years of service with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Ed loved to dance, laugh and especially enjoyed ballroom dancing.
Robert W. "Bob" Lapinski, 75, of Montague, was educated in Montague Public Schools and graduated from Turners Falls High School in the Class of 1961. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Navy and serving during the Vietnam Conflict aboard the USS Sandoval (APA-194) as a radioman second class and was honorably discharged on April 23, 1965. Upon his return to civilian life, Bob accepted a position with N & B Express Company as a professional truck driver, a position he held for 37 years until his retirement in 1995. An avid train enthusiast and "rail fan", he was a member of the Amherst Railway Society.
Chester LaPlante, 78, of Westfield, attended schools in Westfield and graduated from Westfield Trade High School. An Army veteran who was stationed in Germany, he served from 1963 to 1965. Chester worked as a machinist throughout his life. His most recent place of employment was Roselli’s Machine & Manufacturing Co., in Westfield, from which he retired in 2016. A jack-of-all-trades, he enjoyed tackling any and all home improvement projects. He was especially skilled at carpentry. In his earlier years, he restored cars. He was an avid fisherman throughout his life.
Michael J. Laviolette, 67, was raised in Springfield and was a graduate of Cathedral High School Class of 1970. He went on to attain his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Western New England University in 1975. He served as a medic in the Army National Guard. Michael was a resident of Hampden and worked as a sales manager for Sysmex Corporation of America where he retired in 2014 before moving to West Springfield. He was a member of the Wilbraham Country Club and the Knights of Columbus. Michael was fascinated by history, he enjoyed traveling and he loved music and photography. His favorite vacations were his annual trips to Maine with his family. When Michael’s children were younger, he enjoyed coaching them in baseball and basketball.
Samuel Joseph Lococo, 96, of Northampton, fondly called Poppy by his family, was the second youngest of eight children. He graduated St. Michael's High School serving as class president for all four years and was a member of the winning basketball team. He graduated from Northampton Commercial College. He worked for Fleury Lumber as a bookkeeper and Probrush in Florence before enlisting in the Navy in 1943. He served in the South Pacific as a radio operator. His ship received eight battle stars for service. Sam worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a well-loved mail carrier and later vehicle operations manager. He enjoyed playing silly made up games with his grandchildren.
Weldon Marion Long, 82, served in the Army and overseas in Korea from 1957 to 1959. After his military service, he settled in Denver. He worked as a carpenter, truck driver, auto mechanic, along with being an apartment manager until his retirement in 2002. Being a member of the very non-exclusive "Colfax coffee club" in Denver from the late 1960s to 2015 was a large part of Weldon's life. He always was considerate and never dismissed another person or their beliefs. While his speech and communication skills were progressively hampered by Alzheimer's disease in his later years, Weldon never failed to brighten up a room or make someone's day better.
Charles L. “Charlie” Lowell, 78, of Hardwick, worked as an Operations Manager for IBM for 27 years, and then as an Office Manager at Hardwick Kilns for 14 years before retiring in 2010. Charlie was very active in the Hardwick Community. He was a long-time member of the Eden Lodge of Masons in Ware where he served as Master of the Lodge twice. He was a Selectman in the Town of Hardwick for nine years, a member of the Fire Department for over 50 years, an EMT for the Hardwick Ambulance Squad and the Town of Ware Ambulance. Charlie was an Air Force Veteran of the Vietnam War era.
Ronald Albert Mader graduated from Medford High School in 1950 and worked briefly in the printing pressman union with his father. He enlisted in the Navy in 1951 and proudly served submarine duty on the USS Sablefish (SS-303) during the Korean War. After the war, he graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in English. While his initial dream was to become an English teacher, he found a new direction when he was offered a sales career with Kellogg’s Cereal Company, where he happily worked until his retirement. He was a shy, kind, gentle, and happy soul, who appreciated everyone who cared for him. The highlights of his day included cruising through the halls in his wheelchair with his therapy dog, Turtle, in his arms.
Harry P. Malandrinos served in the Navy from 1951 to 1955. He was a yeoman second class radio operator and knew Morse code. A longtime resident of Chicopee, Harry was a member of Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church and later Living Gate Community Church. He was a graduate of American International College. Harry and his wife owned and operated The Pyramid Luncheonette in Springfield, and then he worked for over 40 years as a teacher for Chicopee Public Schools and retired from Chicopee Comprehensive High School. An accomplished drummer, Harry traveled throughout the United States with George Kent Orchestras.
James Mandeville, 83, had a playfulness to him that never seemed to fade. With his grandchildren, he’d swim and wrestle and play basketball, even after he started using a wheelchair. He’d play cards with his daughter Laurie Mandeville Beaudette and, if she left the table, she’d return to find the deck had been stacked. She took to calling him “Cheater Beater.” He found joy in babies and dogs and for all his fun-lovingness, he imparted something deep in those who were close to him. “He always made me feel like I was the most important person in the world,” she says. “We were best friends.”
Donald Charles Manley, 70, of West Springfield proudly served our country in the Army as a flame thrower in Vietnam. As heroic as he was in serving in Vietnam, he also adopted two children. Don and his wife provided the boys with a solid foundation which included dirt biking, quading, music and working on engines. Don was a master mechanic for Bassett Boats.
James L. Miller, 96, was a man of great faith and a consummate gentleman. He was a remarkable role model for his family. Jim proudly served his country in the Army during World War II from 1943-1945 and attained the rank of technician fifth class. He served in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe and received the European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal. Upon returning from service he worked as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for five years, and for Pratt and Whitney working on airplane engines. Jim was a West Springfield Fire Fighter for 32 years, retiring in 1986 as lieutenant.
Frank V. Olbrych, 96, was educated in Chicopee schools and was a communicant of the Basilica of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr. Frank served in the Civil Conservation Corps in East Hartland, Conn. A World War II Army veteran, Frank served in the 3rd Army, 299 Ordnance Maintenance Company, seeing service in Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe. He was awarded the European Theatre of Operations Ribbon, Five Campaign Stars, Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal & Letter of Gratitude for Services from the French Government.
Alphonse M. Piela, 92, of Chicopee, worked at Eastern Etching Co. in Chicopee, where he retired. Al also worked at the American Bosch, and H. L. Handy. Al was a communicant of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Council 69, the Marine Corps League in Westfield and a former member of the Chicopee Lodge of Elks 1849. At the basilica, Al, was a pierogi pincher and Bingo worker. He enjoyed playing cards and cribbage at the Chicopee Senior Center. Al was a Marine Corps Veteran serving during the Korean War.
Francis E. “Mike” Rousseau Sr., 96, a longtime resident of Asinof Street in Chicopee, was raised in Holyoke. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II He attained the rank of aviation machinist’s mate third class and received the American Area Ribbon and the World War II Victory Medal. He was employed as a machine operator at General Electric in Holyoke and Springfield, where he worked for 23 years until the closing of the plants. He was last employed for 14 years in the machine shop at Digital Equipment Company in Westfield until his retirement in 1986. He loved his many Cape Cod vacations with his wife and family where they spent a great deal of time in Dennisport.
Albert J. St. Peter, 86, served in the Army as a private first class, and he was a longtime resident of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.
Frank A. Seamans, 89, of Leeds, grew up in Newton. He served in the Army Security Agency during the Korean War. He worked for AT&T until his retirement in 1978. He then fulfilled a longtime passion for printing and opened his own printshop, Leedstamps, Inc. in Florence. He fully retired in 1986. Frank became an active member of both the VFW, of which he was a lifetime member, and the American Legion. He served as a volunteer for many veterans’ services, including many volunteer hours at the Soldier’s Home. He enjoyed watching football and tennis and loved family reunions.
Daniel M. Szczur, 72, was a graduate of Chicopee High School and Holyoke Community College. While stationed at Ft. Lee, Virginia, he volunteered as a rifleman on the burial squad and was very proud of that duty. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam Era and served 13 months in Korea. He worked as a steel worker at Harmann Steel and Deardon Ironworks. Daniel was a longtime member of the Chicopee Tigers Club and one of the original members of PV Ridge Runners 4-Wheel Drive Club. He was a longtime racing fan and an avid golfer.
Dennis Thresher, was a 90-year-old Korean War veteran who grew up in Suffield, Conn., before moving to Massachusetts. He was a staff sergeant and a crew member on bomber aircraft in the Air Force, dropping supplies to troops and braving enemy combat. He served for five years. He later worked at Pratt & Whitney on aircraft engines for 35 years until he retired. He also owned and managed a Dairy Queen franchise with his wife, Jean Fields Thresher. He loved planes and, he enjoyed reading newspapers, playing cards, and bantering with his favorite nurses.
Richard W. Trask, 90, was a graduate of Springfield Tech High School and attended junior college. He was an Air Force Veteran of the Korean War. He was a lineman installer and repairman for New England Telephone and retired in 1985. In his retirement, he loved to travel, and his favorite spot was New Orleans.
Frank W. Zauche, 97, served in the Navy in World War II aboard the light cruiser USS Nashville earning four battle stars and also aboard the USS Steven Potter earning 10 battle stars all in the South Pacific. He was a member of the American Legion Post #420 in East Springfield and a life member of the Navy's Disabled Veterans of World War II.