Obituaries » RICHARD L. GAGNON
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Richard “Dick” Leo Gagnon of Rutland, passed away peacefully into the hands of Our Eternal Father, with his loving wife by his side on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
He leaves his beloved wife, Virginia Granger-Gagnon; two loving sisters, Marilyn DiOrio of Salem, NH and Nancy Tobey and her husband, William of Punta Gorda, FL; seven nieces, Debra Fry and her partner, Ken Caouette of Charlton, Linda Trudel and her husband, Roger, Sharon Canzano and her husband, Anthony, Marilyn McCarthy and her husband, Dennis all of Salem, NH, Susan McEvoy and her husband, Daniel of North Andover, Paula Van Wie and her husband, Robert of Haverhill and Nancy Mukerjee and her husband, Anil of Littleton, NH; and many cousins, grandnephews and grandnieces.
Dick was born in Lawrence, in June 1929, the son of Leo and Mary (Kaslow) Gagnon. He graduated from St. Patrick’s School and Central Catholic High School with honors and attended Boston College for three years before entering the Carmelite Fathers Novitiate and House of Studies in Auburn, New York in 1949. In 1952 he earned a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York. Soon afterwards Dick was selected by his Carmelite Province to go for four years of Theology to the Carmelite International College of St. Albert in Rome, Italy. On July 3, 1955 with his mother present, Dick was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Aloisio Traglia. At the end of four years in Rome, Dick earned a licentiate degree in Sacred Theology.
He then returned to his Carmelite Province and celebrated his First Mass on July 15, 1956 in St. Michael’s Church in North Andover.
During his more than twenty years of active ministry as a Carmelite priest in teaching, administration, preaching and writing, Dick taught at the Nativity High School in Pottsville, PA for two years and St. Albert’s Seminary in Middletown, NY for eight years, was editor of the
Carmelite magazine, SCAPULAR’S RESPONSE for three years, and director of the Carmelite Retreat Center in Williamstown for eight years.
In 1976 after much prayer, counseling and consultation within his community, Dick made the most difficult decision of his life. He petitioned Pope Paul VI for a dispensation to marry Virginia Granger, a former Sister of Providence and registered nurse whom Dick had known and loved for several years. He left his Williamstown community in early December 1976 and lived alone in Rutland, awaiting the papal dispensation that arrived in mid-October 1977. On
November 19, 1977, Dick and Virginia celebrated their marriage in St. Patrick’s Church in Rutland before eight Carmelite and diocesan priests and their many relatives and friends.
For three years Dick taught Religion at St. Bernard’s High School in Fitchburg. During these years he did graduate work at Assumption College toward a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. In 1982 he was a Social Worker, then the Staff Psychologist and later the Director of the Center for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Disorders (CASAD) at Rutland Heights Hospital. In May 1984, Dick earned a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Counseling Psychology at Assumption College.
In gratitude for his two graduate degrees from Assumption College, Dick donated to the College his very extensive collection of Vatican stamps and postage memorabilia that he had collected in five large volumes over forty years. His collection contained stamps from the beginning of their minting in February, 1929 to the complete 2017 minting. It was said that Dick’s donation helped reflect Assumption College’s identity as a Catholic college.
Dick has always tried to remain a faithful son of the Roman Catholic Church and after marrying Virginia, spent much time, talent and treasure with her researching and writing extensive and comprehensive histories of four parishes of the Worcester Diocese: St. Patrick’s in Rutland in 1982, Holy Name of Jesus in Worcester in 1993, Notre- Dame-des-Canadiens in Worcester in 1995, and St. Mary’s in Jefferson in 2009. He also researched and wrote extensive histories and genealogies of the Gagnon Family in 1968 and the Granger Family in 1987.
Dick always loved and enjoyed listening to classical music, going to the beaches of Maine and the mountains of New Hampshire, and touring the shrines of Italy with his beloved Virginia. Dick and Virginia celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary on November 18, 2017.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Dick’s family from 9 until 10:30 am on Saturday, February 24th at the Miles Funeral Home, 1158 Main Street, Holden, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 114 Princeton Street, Jefferson. Burial will be held at Worcester County Memorial Park in Paxton. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Dick’s name to St. Mary’s Church, P.O. Box 2200, Jefferson, MA 01522.