Thirty-nine years ago today, my maternal grandfather Marcel Paulhus died at the age of 69, following a massive stroke. He was the only grandfather I ever knew (My paternal grandfather Antonio Longo died in 1965, when I was two).
Grandpa was born on January 24, 1906, in Sorel, Quebec. I don’t know much about his childhood, other than the fact that he played lots of hockey. It is said that while playing junior hockey, Grandpa took a stick across his nose and never returned to the game. He and his sisters Marie Rose and Marie Anna migrated to Putnam, CT, and found work at Belding-Corticelli, a textile mill along the Quinebaug River. At Belding, he met Elizabeth Devanney. They married in 1940 and had two children: my mom Louise in 1941 and Uncle John in 1943.
Grandpa was a very intelligent, self-educated man. He did the NY Times crossword puzzle in ink. His intellectual curiosity was second to none. He loved growing tomatoes and took care of much of the housework and grocery shopping. He was the one who taught me to ice skate. Starting in 1972, he would take me and my brothers to Fenway Park once a year. Our finale was on a rain-soaked Wed. June 26, 1974, when the Brewers beat the Red Sox 7-1.
Grandpa succumbed to a series of strokes in late 1974 and early 1975. His second to last stroke cost him his speech and the final one took his life. Marcel Adelard Paulhus was a true hero, a man whose zest for life will never be forgotten by those who knew and loved him.