Donald E. Francoeur, Jr., age 74, of Northbridge, Massachusetts passed away at his home on Saturday November 12th. He was born February 6, 1948, in Rochester, NH. He was the only son of the late Berniece and Donald Francoeur, Sr.
A proud, lifelong resident of New Hampshire, Don graduated from Henniker High School and went on to the University of New Hampshire, completing his Bachelor of Arts from New England College. It was during his college days he married his wife of 55 years, Mary (Baldwin) Francoeur. Don and Mary were childhood classmates and student council leadership competitors, he Student Council President, she Class President. They married on February 4, 1967 and went on to have two children, Kimberly (Francoeur) Dumais and Bethany (Francoeur) Fowler. Being Papa to his five grandchildren, Derek, Trevor, Ella, Noah, and ‘Princess’ Mia and two great grandchildren, Madison and Parker, brought him immense joy. He loved and was very proud of all of his family. He wouldn’t miss an opportunity to tell you all about what was happening in their lives.
Don was a voracious reader. He always had a book going, having read some of his favorites eight or nine times! In his early career, he was an educator, teaching English in Weare and Hillsboro, NH. He had a way of connecting with his students and, for years to come, his former students would seek him out to tell him what an impact he had made.
In the early 80’s, Don was the proprietor of Atlas Subs and Pizza, in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. Pizza making remained a passion throughout his life. He loved to make pizzas with his granddaughter Mia, allowing her to do the cheese and the roni’s. Don showed his emotions by feeding you. He didn’t really know how to make a small meal. Soups were made in stock pots, you would always have leftovers for days, and the rule that never was to be broken, one pie per person at Thanksgiving!
Don transitioned to real estate, which brought he and Mary and Beth to the Seacoast of New Hampshire. Don quickly became involved in the community and took great pride in his time as Chairman of Pro Portsmouth, a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and sustaining the vitality of Portsmouth’s arts, culture and history through events and community collaboration.
Don loved to drive. In his younger years, he would go out in every snowstorm just to see if he could make it to his buddy’s house up on the hill without getting stuck. In his retirement, he took a mail route. Where he absolutely enjoyed being in the car listening to political talk radio as he drove around the shores of Ogunquit, ME.
In the summers (and winters too), Don and Mary were always to be found at their beloved camp at White Pond in Windsor, NH. Birthday’s, Christmas, Fourth of July, lobster clam bakes, fireworks, bbq’s and friendship. The White Pond community was an extended family to Don.
Don was a scholar. He consumed any information he could find related to World War II, whether it be books, articles and, most importantly, movies. If you came by camp you were sure to hear the “bombs bursting” as he always had a war movie going.
Don is survived by his wife Mary (Baldwin) Francoeur. Daughter Kimberly (Francoeur) Dumais and son-in-law Doug Dumais of Hillsboro, NH. Grandson Derek Dumais, his wife Leighanna and two great grandchildren, Madison and Parker of Henniker, NH. Grandson Trevor Dumais and his fiancé Mariah Slatunas of Deering, NH. Daughter Bethany (Francoeur) Fowler and son-in-law Ryan and grandchildren, Mia, Ella and Noah of Hopkinton, MA. In addition to his family, Don is survived by a dear set of lifelong friends. The Henniker crew had many adventures together that lasted right up to his final days.
There will be a private burial in Henniker, NH, followed by a celebration of his life with his friends and loved ones.