Francis R. Gaudrault, 91, Bark River, passed away peacefully at home with family around him on Saturday, Nov 14. He was 91 years young and was active and living on his own until just a few days ago.
Francis R. Gaudrault was born on October 14, 1924 in the Ten Mile Creek area to Joseph and Josephine (Lasnoski) Gaudrault. He attended school at Ten Mile Creek, Bark River (where he played basketball) and Escanaba – graduating in 1943.
Fran joined the Army in 1943 and served in the European Theater. He was honorably discharged in 1946 from the 525 Engineer Light Platoon Company. He kept in touch with several of his Army buddies through the years – exchanging Christmas cards and even visiting occasionally. He had many interesting stories that he shared with family and friends. He was a life member of the American Legion.
Fran married Vera Racicot in 1947 at the Sacred Heart Church in Schaffer, MI. They have one son, Terry. Fran and Vera were married for 67 years before she passed away in December of 2014. They were best friends and worked together throughout their marriage helping others whenever they could. During Vera’s last days, he was her main caregiver and has missed her and grieved for her during this past year.
Fran was employed with Harnischfeger Corporation from 1947 to 1953. In 1953 he joined his brother-in-law’s crew at PDM (Pittsburgh De Moines) Steel Company as a welder. He and his family traveled throughout the eastern and central United States as he built water tanks and towers. He even worked on building a tank in Oak Ridge, TN near a nuclear reactor. When the crew broke up, he was employed as a welder for General American on flat bottom tanks. During this time he was located in the Western States. He returned to Harnischfeger in Escanaba in 1962 and worked as a welder and then in skilled trades until his early retirement in 1983 when the company left the Escanaba area. He then worked in the woods for 10 years with his brother-in-law, Melvin Racicot, and then worked with his nephew, Ed Pilon, as a carpenter until 2005.
Francis is survived by his son, Terry and partner Judy Koran of Wisconsin; three sisters-in-law, Geri DeMars and Donna Erickson both of Escanaba and Rosalie Gaudrault of Battle Creek; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Vera; brother, Richard; and several brothers and sisters-in-law.
Fran was a member of St. Thomas Catholic Church and a former member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Schaffer and St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Perronville. For many years he attended Sunday Mass at Bishop Noa Home where he helped bring the residents to the chapel and back to their rooms.
Fran enjoyed hunting, gardening, carpenter projects, and attending both the boys and girls Bark River Harris basketball games. He even listened to them on the radio when he could no longer attend in person. His absolute favorite thing to do was take his faithful companion, Ox (his big white dog), for a truck ride. He also supported the NRA and the Wounded Warrior program.
In honor of his wishes, there will be no public visitation. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Wounded Warrior program or to the Bark River Harris Sports Boosters in Fran’s name.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at St. Thomas Church at 11 a.m. with Rev. Eric Olson officiating.
Burial will be in Sacred Heart (Schaffer) Cemetery.
The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Gaudrault family.