If you had one weekend left in this life, how would you spend it?
For our husband, dad, & grandfather it would include his faith, family, and friends.
He lived his final weekend by joining family for a birthday celebration on Friday, attending church on Sunday, and joining friends to cheer on his beloved UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball team.
Hours later, he left this earth surrounded by his wife Diane Lacount Desruisseaux, and daughters & sons-in-law Laura & Paul Harger, Cheryl & Raymond Galli, and Amy & Carl Gorski. He quietly let go while listening to his favorite hymns and songs including Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me in Your Heart for a While” and John Denver’s “Poems & Prayers & Promises”. No pain. No regrets. Only love. And that trademark Harvey smile.
Harvey and Diane met at the University of Connecticut in the late 1950s. They were members of the UConn Marching Band and together with two other friends, started the UConn Pep Band. They married on September 7, 1963, and shared 21,261 days living their vows – for better, for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. It’s the “until death do us part” that Diane now struggles with.
Hebron, Connecticut became their home and their roots there were deep and lasting. The Gilead Congregational Church was Dad’s church, but his faith and fellowship extended far beyond the building. The Garden of Remembrance on the church grounds was Dad’s creation and where he will live on in eternity. Sadly, this dispels his long-term belief that an undertaker would be the last one to ever let him down. He was a charter member of the Hebron Volunteer Fire Department (Company 3). He and his Ford Maverick with its blue light stood ready to respond whenever his neighbors were in need. His willingness to help and his volunteerism were well-known and loved characteristics. If he could help by coordinating a golf tournament, well then, even better.
To his daughters, he was a provider of unconditional love, support, laughter, and the junk food that mom wouldn’t let us have. He was always up for a trip to Shady Glen for a male sundae (with nuts). We believe that it is written in history somewhere that he created bad “dad jokes”. And how do you know when it’s a bad “dad joke”? Well, that should be apparent. He was the umpire at our softball games, instilled in us that bills must always be going in the same direction (it’s a banker thing), and taught us to yell “decline the penalty” at the many New England/Hartford Whalers hockey games we attended. It’s hard to imagine that we’ll never again hear him call us by the nicknames he had for us…YanYa, Chepa, and Poopers. Amy wants to make it clear that her nickname comes from her love of Winnie the Pooh.
Perhaps the Scarecrow in our Wizard of Oz family story are his grandchildren. Missing their Papa most of all will be Kayla (with Devin & Beckett) Marston, Jonathan Galli, Andrew and Ashley Harger, and Jenny and Joey Gorski. Papa was so excited to welcome Baby Boy Marston, his great-grandson, due in spring 2022. Dance recitals, concerts, basketball games, plays…Papa never missed one. He was immensely proud of his grandchildren and they each felt the love, encouragement, and belief he had in them. Whouda man, Papa? You are. Youda man.
Uncle Harvey also leaves behind his brother & sister-in-law, Walter and Monita Desruisseaux, Sr (from the coast of Maine!), brother-in-law & his wife, Don and Barbara Lacount and his nieces and nephews Suzanne, Corinne, Steven, Walt Jr, and Denise. We’re a small family but what we lack in quantity, we more than make up for in quality.
Harvey Andrew Desruisseaux, November 30, 1940-December 6, 2021.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, December 11 at 10:00am at the Gilead Congregational Church, 672 Gilead Street, Hebron CT. All are welcome to join us at a reception in the Fellowship Hall following the service where we will tell bad jokes, recall our best memories and, no doubt, share a few tears. To celebrate Dad’s love for the UConn Huskies, friends are invited to wear UConn apparel or blue & white to the service.
In memory of Harvey, be the reason someone smiles today. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Gilead Congregational Church for the Garden of Remembrance (address above), the Hockanum Valley Community Council, at www.hvcchelps.org/donate or the Cornerstone Foundation at www.cornerstone-cares.org/donate
We recently asked Dad what he would want included in his obituary. His response? “Well, that’s the last thing I’ll need”.