ATHOL – Joseph A. Labrie, 93 of Athol, passed away peacefully the morning of October 13th at home, surrounded by his loving wife and family.
Joe was born in Athol on April 12, 1930, the youngest of 8 children to the late Alexander L. and the late Rosina M. (Arsenault) Labrie. He was raised on Smith St. in Athol where he grew up playing in a three block area.
Joe was a hard worker. As a young man, he worked at Quinlan Pond and LaGrands’ Pond during the ice season cutting ice during school vacations for 10 cents an hour. In 1947 he left school in the 10th grade to enlist in the Army. He attended Military Police School at Carlisle Barracks in PA.
After school, he was assigned to Walter Reed Army Hospital for Gate-Guard, Post Patrol and Military Honor Guard Duty. He was then transferred to Forest Glen Section, Silver Springs, MD where he was on Roving Patrol. He was discharged in 1948 and headed back home, where he worked for 6 months before deciding to re-enlist. Joe was assigned to St. Thomas, Virgin Islands for active duty during the Korean War. He was injured in May of 1950 in a jeep accident while on duty and was immediately sent to Fort Brooke Army Hospital in San Juan, P.R. where he spent 11 months fighting for his life. From there he was transferred to Murphy Army Hospital in Waltham for 4 months, where he was honorably discharged as a Disabled Veteran. Shortly after returning home, Joe fell in love with Ruth Stone, “the girl at the York Theater – or was it her popcorn"? They married in November of 1953 and have spent 70 years together.
Joe worked for Dual Plastics, Erving Paper Mill and the Union Twist Drill until it closed in the mid-1980s. He then went to work for Our Lady Immaculate Church as the Custodian and caretaker of Gethsemane Cemetery for 10 years, retiring in 1996. Even though he retired, Joe spent several years helping with repairs and upgrades at the church he so loved, such as making the stained glass windows for all the entrance doors, along with using some of the glass from the original outside lamps from 1905 to create new wood and stained glass repositories for the Holy Oils. He was very proud of his work for his church. Joe was also the owner of Labrie Cycle, which he operated from his home on Tremont St. for many years before moving the shop to South St. He spent many years working with all his children in the shop and teaching them bike repair.
Joe's faith was very important to him, and this faith was the foundation of his life, marriage, and family. He was a lifetime communicant of Our Lady Immaculate Church, where he was a Lector, a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #1182, where he held many roles, including Grand Knight -twice, a member of the Bishop Garrity 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, Faithful Navigator and Treasurer. Joe was a life member of the Athol American Legion Post 102, Athol Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 46, Assistant Scout Master of BSA Troop 18, and Scout Master of BSA Troop 38, taking scouts from Troop 3818 to the 1973 National Jamboree. He was proud to be involved with the BSA and Order of the Arrow where he was awarded the Vigil Honor. Joe was a Master Marksman and lifetime member of the Athol Woodsman Rifle and Pistol Club.
He enjoyed hunting and fishing, especially with his sons, camping trips with family and friends, woodworking, stained glass, caning, puzzles and playing cards. He loved taking home movies of his family, from 8mm to photos, as long as the lens cap was off! He enjoyed listening to music, especially Andrea Bocelli and Willie’s Road House. He loved to watch the birds in the backyard in the appletree and the hummingbirds that would come to feed. He had a raspberry patch that he tended and enjoyed the time outside picking the ripe fruits. He was also the family historian, making sure he documented and researched as much of the Labrie/Stone families as he could. He loved a good joke, but for the life of him, couldn’t tell one. He loved spending time with his family and friends, and so enjoyed his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Joe is survived by his wife of 70 years: Ruth A. (Stone) Labrie, his children: Edmund “Butch” Labrie of Athol, Susan Laford (James) of Sunderland, Russell Labrie (Mana) of Waldorf, MD, Jeannette Calvi (Michael) of Orange, Charon Maier (Paul) of Athol, Matthew Labrie (Kim) of Athol, Gayle Bassett (Kenneth) of Athol, Neal Labrie (Lauren) of Swannanoa, NC, 18 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his siblings: Edgar Labrie, Paul Labrie, Zenon Labrie, Romeo Labrie, Emelda Luippold, Yvonne Bryant and Bernadette Chaisson.
We would like to thank the Nurses of Care Central VNA Hospice for the care and guidance given to Joe and his family during this difficult time.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday, October 16, at 10am in Our Lady Immaculate Church, 192 School St., Athol.
Burial will full Military Honors will follow in Gethsemane Cemetery.
Calling Hours will be held Sunday, October 15, from 2pm-5pm in the Fiske Murphy & Mack Funeral Home, 110 New Athol Rd., Orange, MA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Joe’s memory may be made to: Our Lady Immaculate Church Building Fund, 192 School St., Athol, MA, or to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516. Topeka, KS, 66675-8516.
Fiske Murphy & Mack Funeral Home has been entrusted with his care.
Kevin J. Mack, Walter C. Taylor, Melissa McQuaid, funeral directors.