Obituary: Richard Laurier Lafrance, 76

Richard Laurier Lafrance made his last wildly inappropriate comment on Saturday, April 20, 2019, at the ripe old age of 76.  He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important – the simplicity of living a life with those you love.  He was born on November 7th, in Lewiston, Maine to Leon and Germaine (Vallee) Lafrance.  After an unsettled home life, Richard proudly entered the US Navy, as an Able Seaman, on the USS Independence CV 62, from 1959 to 1963.  He served during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War and would gladly recount his stories of travel, discipline, adventure and a tattoo.  He was proud to be a Veteran but is also thankful that he will not have to participate in another presidential election.   He worked for 32 years at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford as a machinist, funding many vacations and college tuition for his family. He was a former Lion’s Club member and an active member of the American Legion, Post 20.  Friends and family know him as Richard, Dad, Grampy, Frenchy, Dickie, Stosh or Gimpy.  Of all the people he touched, his proudest achievement in life was being married to his wife, Cynthia, for 40 years.  Her death was devastatingly earlier than his, and he never entirely recovered from that broken heart.  We spoke of her daily, and by the grace of God, they are now together again. His regrets were few but do include losing his false teeth and eye glasses after a full bottle of Johnny Walker Blue and not basking longer in the glory of his “Knobby Knees Contest” pageant win on a Carnival Fun Ship.  He was arrested once in his life and still believed it was the correct decision despite the need for bail.  He despised Stop & Shop macaroni salad, wearing shorts, doctor’s appointments, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians. But he had some big loves too.  Richard is survived by his daughter, Cassandra and her husband Pete, of Plantsville and one sister, Judy Kochel, of Pottstown, PA.  He was the proud grandfather to Lauren, Alex and Kyle and despite the number of times they exercised poor teenage judgment, he would finish his sentences with “God, I love those kids.”  He thought Judy’s children, John, Mary & Sarah, were pretty special too.  After the Red Sox won the World Series, and Cass married Pete, Richard said “Ok, now I can die in peace”.  Despite his unfiltered profane vocabulary, he was deplorably selfless and generous.  His final days were not pretty, but they were full of love.  Richard will miss Kevin and his Sunday Church friends at Chute Gates in Terryville and would have been lost without the assistance of his friend and caregiver, Tamara Prystash.  We also must recognize the Labbies, who are simply family without being family.   The family extends a heartfelt thank you to the doctors, nurses, chaplain and aides at Southington Care Center and Hartford Healthcare Hospice Care for providing beauty and compassion in his final days.  One man, Dr. Craig Bogdanski, brought Dad cheeseburgers to satisfy his craving during his lunch break.  That gesture, to a guy who thought he deserved nothing, was an act of pure kindness.  And we must mention Ryder the therapy dog and his Nightingale honored nurse, Karen.  They brought peace and joy at a time when Dad was still reconciling with the end of life.  Calling hours will be at Scott Funeral Home on Main Street in Terryville, on Wednesday April 24, from 6-8PM.  Funeral services will be the following morning, April 25, at 10AM at the Funeral Home. The family requests that in the spirit of a last “hurrah”, friends come dressed respectfully casual wearing something from one of Richard’s favorite teams:  the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, NY Giants, or UConn.  Donations can be made in his memory to For Goodness Sake, 123 Whiting Street, Unit A, in Plainville, CT 06062 because he believed that every person deserves a home.