Jack LaLonde at the Buffalo Reunion, 2005
Recently we received a telephone call from a friend and neighbor notifying us of the passing of Chief Boatswain's Mate Jack LaLonde, former USS William R Rush Shipmate and Rush Association member. Chief LaLond passed away on May 26, 2007 from an illness. He was a resident of Fayetteville, Lincoln County, Tennessee.
The following obituary was published in The Elk Valley Times of Fayetteville, Tennessee on Wednesday, May 30, 2007:
Mr. Jack LaLonde
February 26, 1927 - May 26, 2007
Mr. Jack LaLonde of Fayetteville died Saturday afternoon (May 26, 2007) at his residence. He was 80. A son of the late Joseph and Dorothy Price LaLonde. Mr. LaLonde was a native of Romulus, Michigan, and was retired from the Navy.
He is survived by daughters, Sherri George of Fayetteville and Katherine Taylor of Michigan; brother Raymond LaLonde of Michigan; sister, Ruth OĘSullivan of Arizona; and grandchildren, Megan, Samantha, and Nathan Cooper, all of Fayetteville, and Brittany George of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Memorial services for Mr. LaLonde will be conducted at 10 a.m. in Higgins Funeral Home. Visitation with the family will be from 5-8 p.m. Thursday, May 31, 2007, at Higgins Funeral Home which is in charge of arrangements.
© The Elk Valley Times 2007
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Jim Hocking, association treasurer, commented that Jack was a long standing member of the USS William R. Rush Association, having joined during the very beginings of the association. He was a good shipmate who enjoyed attending many of our reunions.
The following eulogy was written by Jim Hocking on November 1, 2007:
We recently learned that our good friend and RushMate Jack LaLonde has died. Jack was stationed aboard RUSH from 1953 to 1957. He retired from the US Navy as a Boatswain's Mate Chief Petty Officer.
"Boats" Lalonde joined the USS Rush Association in 1995. Our records show that he began to attend our reunions right after joining. He would show up at each reunion in his motor home and spend many hours in the hospitality room, enjoying the company of and sea stories with his old buddies. If you ever attended a reunion, but donĘt recollect all the names of the guys who also attended, Jack was somebody you could not forget.
He was a thin man - skinny is more like it. When he walked, he seemed to be leaning to port or starboard, as if he was still on board RUSH in a rolling sea. His baseball cap was always a bit cock-eyed and he wore glasses over squinty eyes on his weathered face. I last saw him at the reunion in Buffalo, New York in 2005.
As I was gathering names and getting ready for the reunion in San Antonio, I noticed that JackĘs name was not on the list of attendees. In the back of my mind I wondered if there might be a problem. I hoped he would show up in his motor home as usual. When he didnĘt make his regular appearance in the hospitality room, I guess I knew. After I returned home from San Antonio, I called Jack several times. Finally I contacted a neighbor who told me that Jack had died. I then called Ms. Carman Morgan, who came to the Buffalo reunion with Jack. She was a friend of JackĘs daughter and had known him from her childhood. She gave me the phone number of JackĘs daughter. She was very happy to know that Jack will be fondly remembered by his RushMates. She told me that the reunions were JackĘs happiest times during the final years of his life. I hope everyone will join me in remembering Jack "Boats" LaLonde.
The webmaster would be pleased to make-up a more detailed "In Memoriam" page for this deceased Rushmate. If you have any photographs or information such as a story or other anecdotal information to share about Jack LaLonde, please send them by email to the webmaster using this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can not send the information by email, please write to Michael R. Dutton, 1084 Strauss Court, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-6758 and include hardcopy photographs and stories or anecdotes. Any materials sent in this manner will be treated with respect and will be returned to the sender.