Lester E. Fontaine had a wonderful life. He passed away peacefully at his home on May 15, 2020 surrounded by his loving family. He was born on March 2, 1933 to Eudore and Antoinette (Desautels) Fontaine, was raised in Chicopee Falls and was a graduate of Chicopee High School. Lester served in the US Navy aboard the USS Bennington- where he traveled to Antarctica and the South Pole. He had a fearless and adventurous spirit and continued throughout his life to enjoy experiencing all the world had to offer and sharing fantastic stories of his travels.
Upon discharge from the Navy, Lester began his career at Fontaine Bros. where he worked for many years as a field superintendent. Lester oversaw many complicated projects including the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester – at the time the largest public construction project in the State’s history. Lester became President of Fontaine in 1982 and guided the company through a period of great change and success, overseeing the construction of more than 10,000 units of housing as well as municipal works like the William J. Dean Vocational School. Lester will forever be remembered by his colleagues at Fontaine for his tenacity, unwavering positivity and steadfast leadership through thick and thin.
Lester is survived by his wife of 63 years Carolyn (Powers) Fontaine, his children: David Fontaine & his wife Erin of Somers, CT; Martha McLaughlin & her husband Walter of Monson, MA; Paul Fontaine of Riverside, WA, his grandchildren: Sarah Fontaine-Lipke & her husband David; David Fontaine, Jr & his wife Sarah; Laura Casey & her husband Tim; Walter Thomas and Kevin McLaughlin; Shaye Riano; Emily, DJ and Michael Beaulieu and his three treasured great-grandchildren: Rose and Owen Lipke and Grace Fontaine. He also leaves several wonderful nieces, nephews and close friends.
He was predeceased by his three brothers: Raymond, Robert and E. Joseph Fontaine, as well as his best friend and partner in crime Dick Russell.
Lester was a communicant of St. Michael's Church of East Longmeadow where he was a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. One of his favorite events was cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for the senior citizens in town. He was a long time member of the East Longmeadow Lion's Club and he loved building their 4th of July parade float. He supported many local charities and causes and made a difference in many lives because of his charitable work.
Some of Lester's greatest joys included spending time with his family and friends in East Longmeadow, Florida, Rhode Island and Cape Cod. He was wonderful with children and shared a mutual adoration with his grandchildren and great grandchildren that brought great joy to his and their lives. He made friends quickly and loved holding court during dinner and drinks with friends and family. He loved to ski, play golf at Longmeadow Country Club, sit on the beach, ride his bike and of course play at the casinos, where against all odds he reportedly never lost a dime.
He was both fiercely independent and enormously generous – quick to provide support or honesty when he felt they were appropriate. His honesty and candor coupled with his charm and sense of humor made him an engaging character that will be remembered and missed by all he crossed paths with.
The Fontaine family would especially like to thank his wonderful caregivers from Prime Home Health in East Longmeadow and Compassus Hospice.
Lester’s funeral arrangements are private, with a celebration of his life to follow at a later date and are entrusted to Forastiere Smith Family Funeral Home, 220 North Main St., East Longmeadow. The family encourages those seeking to make a memorial donation to do so to a charity or cause close to their hearts as Lester loved to do. For more information or to leave an online condolence, please visit www.forastiere.com
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