Raymond J. “Pete” Robichaud, 85, of 36 Comee Street, Gardner, died Monday, June 1st. Born in Gardner on June 1, 1924, he was the son of the late Donat and Marie Jeanne (LeBlanc) Robichaud.
Pete was raised in Gardner, and lived his entire life here, except for the years he was in the Navy and traveled while playing professional baseball.
Pete graduated from Gardner High School with the Class of 1943. During his high school years, he was an outstanding athlete. He was co-captain of the Gardner Wildcats football and baseball teams. He led the baseball team to their first appearance in the District playoffs. The following year, his Senior year, his batting average was .489.
Mr. Robichaud was a WWII United States Navy Veteran, serving from 1943 through 1946 as a Medic Assistant, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.. He received the World War II Victory Medal and the American Area Ribbon.
After returning from the War, he fulfilled his contract that he had signed with the Chicago Cubs and played professional baseball for three years in their minor league system in Lockport, New York, Elizabethton, Tennessee, Hutchinson, Kansas, and Clinton, Iowa. In 1947, his batting average of .325 aided the Clinton Cubs in winning the Central Association Class C Championship. In 1948, at the age of 25, he finished his career in Springfield, Massachusetts and gave up his dream of playing professional baseball. He enrolled in Nichols College, and in 1951 received an Associates Degree in Business.
Pete was the owner and principal of R .J .Robichaud Insurance Agency of Gardner. After a number of years he merged with two partners to form Brown, Howe and Robichaud Insurance Agency, Inc. and BHR Life and Group, Inc., where he served as President. Pete was very active in business, civic and community organizations throughout the greater Gardner area. He was the Director of various Insurance Company Advisory Councils. He was a member of the Advisory Board for the Hartford Insurance Co. and the Commercial Union Insurance Co. He served as President of the Worcester County Association of Independent Insurance Agents. After retiring from the insurance business, he started R. J. Robichaud Real Estate of Gardner.
Pete was President and Director of the Gardner Industrial Foundation and the Gardner Development Corporation. He was the Director of Square Two and of the Downtown Development Association. He was past Director, for three terms, of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Legislative Committee and Highway Committee for the Chamber. He was a member of the Gardner Regional Partnership.
Pete was Vice President and Director of the Gardner Co-Operative Bank. He was Director and past President of the Board of Directors of the GFA Federal Credit Union, Gardner and a Director of Fidelity Co-Operative Bank in Fitchburg.
He was an Incorporator of both the Heywood Hospital and the Levi Heywood Memorial Library. Mr. Robichaud was the Chairman of the fundraising drive for Heywood Hospital. He was a member of the Heywood Hospital Golf Committee. He was past Director, for two terms, of the Gardner Visiting Nursing Association, and Director of the American Red Cross. Pete was President and Campaign Chairman of the United Way of Gardner. He was Co-Chairman for the Bishops Fund Campaign for the Diocese of Worcester and Co-Chairman of Sacred Heart Church’s annual Bazaar.
He served on the Gardner School Committee for one term. He was an active member of the Gardner High School Athletic Council and presented annual awards for student athletes. Pete was past President and coach of the Gardner Little League for several years.
He was a past Director and an active member of the Gardner Rotary Club for 50 years. He enjoyed telling stories and jokes that he heard at Rotary meetings to his family every Thursday. He was an active member of the Chair City Club of Gardner, sharing stories of his children and grandchildren.
Pete was a former member of the Lions’ Club, the Exchange Club, the Acadien Social Club, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 747 of Gardner, Knights of Columbus, Council #396 of Gardner, VFW Ovila Case Post 905 of Gardner, and the American Legion, Post 129 of Gardner.
Mr. Robichaud was named the Gardner Citizen of the Year in 1994 by the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce.
His family was the most important part of his life. He devoted much of his time to his children and more recently his grandchildren. He was a community leader and icon to us all.
He leaves his wife of 58 years, Alda M. (Waitekus) Robichaud of Gardner; three sons, Raymond H. Robichaud and his wife Melissa of Peachtree City, Georgia, Robert J. “Robi” Robichaud and his wife Ellen Franconi of Boulder, Colorado, and Peter R. Robichaud and his wife Martha Lovett of Moscow, Idaho; one daughter, Helen A. Robichaud of Wellesley; two brothers, Henry Robichaud of Gardner and Paul Robichaud and his wife Irene of Orange; three sisters, Louise Frei and her husband Max of Gardner, Lorraine Tollison of La Place, Louisiana and Gertrude St. Clair and her husband Roy of Colorado Springs, Colorado; five grandchildren, Patrick Robichaud of Moscow, Idaho, Ryan and Parker Robichaud of Peachtree City, Georgia, Mia and Cooper Robichaud of Boulder, Colorado. He was predeceased by one brother, Roland L. Robichaud.
Funeral services will be held Friday, June 5th from the Boucher Funeral Home, Inc., 110 Nichols Street, Gardner with a Mass at 11:00 a.m. in Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, 135 Nichols Street, Gardner. Burial will be in Crystal Lake Cemetery, Gardner.
Calling hours in the funeral home are Thursday, June 4th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Gardner High School Athletic Dept., 200 Catherine Street, Gardner, MA 01440 or to Heywood Hospital, 242 Green Street, Gardner, MA 01440..