The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of August 6 to August 13, 2020


Richard A. LaFreniere

November 29, 1937 ~ August 2, 2020 (Age 82)

WINCHENDON – Richard A. “Jitter” LaFreniere, 82, of Winchendon, died on Sunday, August 2, 2020 in UMASS Memorial Medical Center, University Campus, Worcester.

He was born in Winchendon on November 29, 1937, son of the late Maxime J. and Antoinette (Plouffe) LaFreniere, and lived in Winchendon for most of his life.

After graduation from Murdock High School in 1956, Jitter proudly served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1956 to 1960. After his tour of duty, he worked for various grocery stores as a produce manager. He then worked in the maintenance department for Winchendon Furniture Co, Temple Stuart Co., and finally, ChemDesign in Fitchburg until his retirement in 2000.

He enjoyed golfing and was a member of the Winchendon School Golf Course from 2000 until it closed in 2017. He then played at various area golf courses. He liked maintaining his home and grounds. He also enjoyed playing cards and spending time with his son and family. Jitter had a quick wit, with a little sarcasm thrown in sometime, but always in good fun.

He leaves his wife of 56 years, Ruth (Anderson) LaFreniere; one son, Ryan A. LaFreniere of Ashburnham; two grandchildren, Meghan LaFreniere and her husband Nathan Dennis of Winchendon and John “Jack” LaFreniere and Lou Pena; three great grandchildren and a brother-in-law, Gary L. Anderson and his wife Anne of Dover, N.H. He also leaves one brother, Anthony LaFreniere and his wife Doris of Winchendon; and a sister Juanita Prentiss of Indiana. He also leaves many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by three brothers, Oliver, Ernest and Douglas LaFreniere; six sisters, Rita Knowlton, Germaine Hutchinson, Jeannette Ward, Pauline LeVierge, Joanne Rajaniemi and Beatrice Tatro.

Due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, funeral services will be private and at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Winchendon Fire Department, EMS, 405 Central Street, Winchendon, MA 01475.

Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home, 343 Central Street, Winchendon is directing arrangements.

November 8, 1934 ~ July 24, 2020 (Age 85)

Bob Lafortune, of Powder Springs, GA passed away peacefully on July 24, 2020 at home, surrounded by family.

Bob was born on November 8, 1934 in Winchendon, MA to Francis Lafortune and Yvonne (Labrie) Lafortune. In 1950, he began his military career in the U.S. Army. Bob had a distinguished military career in the US Army, serving in uniform from 1950-1983. He served three tours in Vietnam under Special Operation Command as the First Sergeant of C Co., 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion (AIRMOBILE), and multiple positions within the 4th Infantry Division. He earned the Legion of Merit, four Bronze Star Medals, Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal, five Army Commendation Medals, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, as well as numerous awards, medals and achievements. He retired as Command Sergeants Major Robert E Lafortune in 1983, from Fort McPherson in Georgia.

After retiring from the Army, Bob became Director of Parks and Grounds for the City of College Park, and retired as the Director of Sanitation in 2000. Never one to sit still, he continued to act as a consultant for nearly eight years after his retirement.

Bob was a man of faith. He didn't wear it on his sleeve, but there was always a rosary by his side, and a prayer uttered during difficult times. Fondly referred to as Dad, Pop, Frenchy, Uncle Bob, and Rascal, he was truly a lion and a lamb. A Decorated war hero, whose bark was definitely worse than his bite Just ask anyone of his granddaughters! A brave patriot, who had high expectations, yet gave praise when praise was due. His philosophy was "A pat on the back is just 12 inches from a kick in the "A_ _!"

Bob is survived by his companion of many years Romona Wood of Powder Springs, GA, her sons, William Codner, Edward Codner, and Mark Codner: a daughter, LouAnne Norman and husband Dave of Peachtree City, GA, 4 granddaughters Courney Kopsie and husband Josh and Christine Callaway and husband Seth of Marietta, GA, Julia Lafortune and her partner Isaiah Stumpf and Grace Lafortune of Bellingham, WA, stepgrandson David Norman of Peachtree City, GA, stepgranddaughter Jenny Lynn Brown and husband Christopher of Nashville, TN, great grandchildren Kennedy, Cooper, Caden, Macklin, Everleigh and Ray, as well as many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was predeceased by his wife Anne (Houghton) Lafortune (2005), and son Robert Lafortune Jr. (2019).

Bob was one of 11 children and is survived by one brother, Alfred Lafortune, three sisters, Yvonne Laferte and Husband Alfred, Jeanne Goodwin and husband Leo, and Shirley Nunley and husband Chuck.

A memorial service will be held at St. Phillip Benizi Catholic Church in Jonesboro, GA, September 8, 2020 at 10:30 AM. A family memorial graveside service will be held at a later date at St. Joseph Cemetery, Bedford, NH. Memorials can be made to: St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, 591 Flint River Rd., Jonesboro GA 30238.

James H. Eldredge

1927 ~ July 27, 2020 (Age 93)

Centerville - James H. Eldredge, M.D. passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on July 27, 2020. This past April, Jim wrote the following:

“I am 93 years old and it seems appropriate for me to write my own obituary since I have no living relatives. I was born in 1927 in Winchendon, Massachusetts. My parents were Cranston D. and Elizabeth (Burt) Eldredge. I have no siblings.

“Following three years at Murdock High School, I entered the Merchant Marine as a hospital corpsman in the Military Sea Transport Division. This was followed by three years at Dartmouth College, graduating with the Class of 1951, and four years attending Boston University Medical School, graduating in 1954. After a year at Boston City Hospital, I spent two years in the Navy’s Military Sea Transportation Service.

“After five years of orthopedic training at Mass. General Children’s Hospital, I settled on the Cape. Associated in my orthopedic practice with me were Drs. S. Richard Prothero and Luther M. Strayer.

“Since retirement, I have lived in Centerville. I have not married, but have been busy at sailing, tennis and raising approximately 14 Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. I am fortunate to have had many friends.”

What Jim didn’t express in those words was that his kind spirit and generosity touched many lives over the years; and that he will be remembered fondly.

At Jim’s request, burial will be private.

For those so inclined, donations may be made in memory of Jim to Chesapeake Safe Harbor & Pitbull Safe Harbor, of 1641 South East Street, Amherst, Massachusetts.

For online guestbook please visit

Robert J. Hebert

June 24, 1961 ~ August 3, 2020 (Age 59)

Robert John Hebert, 59, of Leominster, MA, passed away on Monday August 3, 2020, after a long battle with brain cancer. He leaves behind his wife Carrie Butland of Leominster. Son Alex Hebert and his wife Katrina of Leominster, daughter Emily Hebert of Leominster and his grandchildren Allisyn and Kyle Hebert of Leominster. Bob also leaves behind several siblings Michael Hebert and wife Linda of Fitchburg, Deborah Keaveny and husband John of Leesburg FL, Sharon Brazawskis and husband Robert of Gardner, Thomas Hebert and wife Lynn of Winchendon, Mark Hebert and wife Linda of Dracut, James Hebert and wife Laura of Leominster, John Hebert and wife Tracey of Leominster and William Hebert and wife Amy of Leominster, and several nieces and nephews. Bob is pre-deceased by his son Adam Hebert of Leominster, father Francis Hebert of Leominster and mother Lorraine Bilodeau-Hebert-Hachey of Gardner.

Bob was born on June 24, 1961 in Leominster Massachusetts where he attended the Center for Technical Education graduating in 1979 specializing in Mold Making and CNC Program. After Graduating he worked at Allied Tool and Die with his father Francis before his father passed away in 1981. In 1982 he married his high school sweetheart Carrie and started his family. Bob then went to Nypro Mold in 1992 where he worked until his retirement in 2017.

Bob was a member of the Franco American Club of Leominster. He was an avid golfer and loved fishing out on the lake. Enjoyed spending time on the beach and his adventures with his brothers. Bob cherished his grandchildren's zest for life and always made time for family.

As this was not his first battle with brain cancer we ask the donations be made to The American Brain Tumor Association in lieu of flowers.

Calling hours for Bob will be held on Saturday, August 8th, from 11~ 2pm in the Silas F. Richardson & Son Funeral Home, 106 West St. Leominster MA.

Connie Roegge

January 24, 1933 ~ August 4, 2020 (Age 87)

Long time Jacksonville resident Connie DeVan Roegge, passed away Tuesday, August 4, 2020, in the presence of her loving family.

She was born January 24, 1933, in Geneva, IL, to Floyd and Catharine (Gee) DeVan, and raised in Wheaton, IL. She graduated from MacMurray College in 1955, with a degree in Physical Education and obtained a Master’s Degree from U of I Springfield. She married Darrell Roegge in 1955. She taught at Illinois College, Chapin and Concord Elementary Schools and at Triopia High School. She finished her working career as a swimming and water exercise instructor at Sherwood Eddy YMCA (Bob Freesen YMCA) as recently as 2018, having taught multiple generations.

She is survived by a brother, Byron DeVan of Edgewater, FL; a sister, Caye Mizhir of Winchendon, MA; sister-in-law, Sharon Rice of Jacksonville; sister-in-law Peg DeVan of Oak Ridge, TN; two sons, Michael (Theresa) of Quincy, IL, and Brian (Susan) of St. Paul, MN; a daughter, Susan (Ken) Hecht of Pt. Washington, NY; five grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and a brother, Jack DeVan.

She led an adventurous life with avid interests in bike riding, swimming, reading, kayaking, spelunking, and world travel. She was active in Girl Scouting her entire life both as a Scout and a Troop leader as well as serving as a Cub Scouts Den Mother. The family also hosted foreign exchange students. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville where she served on several church committees through the years. She delivered Doorbell Dinners, served on the board at Kemmerer Village for 24 years and volunteered for many charitable organizations.

Her family and friends will miss her greatly.

Private family services will be held. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are suggested to First Presbyterian Church or Bob Freesen YMCA. The Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent online at