Camil A. Brochu, 96, a longtime Upton resident, passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 18, 2020, at the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Northbridge. He was the beloved husband of the late Theresa Y. (Fontaine) Brochu for 57 years.
Born in Hardwick, VT, Camil was a son of the late Ernest and Mary “Marie” (Couture) Brochu. Camil was raised and educated in East Hardwick, VT, and enlisted in the U.S. Army Infantry in 1945. He served on various military bases, including being stationed in Guam and the Philippines. He was promoted to Corporal in 1946. Upon his discharge, he moved to Massachusetts in 1949, where his first job was chopping wood with his brother Roland. Camil later joined the Massachusetts Laborers Union Local 609, for which he worked for more than 35 years until his retirement. Prior to his death, he was proud of his distinction for being the oldest current card carrying member of Local 609 and obtaining his 60-year service pin.
Besides spending enjoyable leisure time and hunting at his camp that he built with his brother Phil in Reading, VT, Camil’s passions included articulate stonework, antique bottle collecting, toadstool painting, and gardening. He most especially enjoyed working on the yard and stunning flowerbeds at his 122 High Street home in Upton. Countless individuals viewed Camil’s meticulous stonework and landscaping. Many people remember and still discuss today, the fantastic Christmas light display he designed in his yard that brightened the winter season for years. Often, people would stop to admire his labor of love, as well as provide him with small gifts at Christmas just to say thank you for the uplifting view he provided. During warmer days, his yard was used as a backdrop for formal pictures as couples celebrated their wedding day.
As a master stonemason, Camil’s artistry will grace for centuries many homes and properties throughout Upton and Worcester County. This includes the stonework entrance to Fieldstone Estates in Upton and most of the Welcome to Upton signs.
Camil also left his indelible mark as masterful painter of scenes on tree-grown toadstools. His self-taught talent was known to craftspeople throughout New England. It was said that if you were fortunate to own a Camil Brochu Toadstool Painting, that was something special.
The Town of Upton and his church, the former Holy Angels Church and Saint Gabriel the Archangel Church, were very meaningful to Camil. Years ago, he volunteered his time, along with others, on the chicken barbeques and field day that Holy Angels annually hosted at the VFW. He was a major part of the annual skating party the church sponsored on Pratt Pond. Whether cooking hundreds of hot dogs or snow blowing the ice for all to enjoy, he wanted to make sure everything was perfect. By trimming back all the bushes and mowing around the pond, Camil tried to ensure families could enjoy the ice in the winter as well as making sure youngsters could fish safely in the summer. Camil thoroughly enjoyed looking down to the pond from his home and seeing the rewards of his efforts.
The time Camil spent with family and friends was most cherished. He relished being surrounded by family, whether making the long trips to Vermont for sugaring or family gatherings, or attending many family events in the Blackstone Valley. In 2014, more than 250 family and friends help celebrate his 90th birthday at his son’s home. Camil possessed an innate ability to bring a smile to the face of anyone he met. Those who knew him will always have special memories and lasting impressions.
Camil is survived by his two sons, James A. Brochu and his wife Lisa, of Upton, and Robert C. Brochu and his wife Sandy, of Whitinsville; three grandchildren, Lindsey Brochu, Daniel Brochu and Ryan Brochu, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers and sisters Alexandra, Lorenzo, Anne Marie, Gilberte, Roland, Lucille, Juliette, Adrien, Philip, Raymond, and Bernard.
Due to the current restrictions on public gatherings, calling hours and his funeral Mass will be held at a future date and will be announced.
The Brochu family would like to express its deepest gratitude to the entire staff at the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Northbridge for the exceptional care and compassion that Camil received while he was there. The Brochu family especially thanks Anna, the Nurse Manager on Camil’s first-floor unit, for her personal care and continued communication with the family, and Amy, his nurse in his final hours who did not leave his side and played music for him until the end. The Brochu family is eternally grateful.
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