September 26, 2022

John Guy – What a Life He Lived!

John Guy Laplante (né Jean Guy)
April 26, 1929 – February 13, 2022

John Guy Laplante (né Jean Guy) passed away quietly in his sleep, which was his wish, on February 13th, 2022.

He was born in 1929 to Marguerite (Bourke) and J. Arthur Laplante in Pawtucket, RI. As immigrants from Quebec, his parents wanted to provide John with the best opportunities, so John began his fourth grade at the Sacred Heart Academy boarding school in Sharon, MA. There, French-speaking priests educated him. John was an excellent student and always eagerly visited with his parents on Sundays. John continued his secondary education at Assumption Preparatory School in Worcester, MA, where instruction was French-oriented and often given in French. 

A story John was proud to tell was that L’Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Amerique (USJB), a Franco-American benefit society, provided full scholarships to Assumption College to one student from each New England state based on a difficult written exam entirely in French. John received the highest score in Rhode Island, and so did another boy. It was a tie! USJB decided to provide two Rhode Island scholarships that year. And so it was that John continued his French-focused education, graduating magna cum laude.  

John developed a strong interest in writing and journalism. An Assumptionist priest told him that studying economics would be excellent training to be a journalist. Dutifully, he began graduate studies in economics at Brown University in 1952. He hated his courses and spent his free time volunteering at the school’s newspaper. A year later, he transferred to Boston University, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism. His career of dipping his quill in the inkwell and scrawling his thoughts across the page had begun.

John was an engaged and supportive father to his three children, raising them with his former wife, Pauline Dupre, in Auburn, MA. He was always ready with advice and strongly encouraged his children to invest in their formal and informal education. He instilled in his children a strong sense that life is full of adventure, and they should readily pursue it. 

John worked for years at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, rising to become editor of the Feature Parade Sunday Magazine. He wrote a column on camping which had an avid readership. He used that column to fund a summer tent-trailer trip around the United States with his family, writing articles wherever they went. 

Ultimately, John left newspapers to become the director of public affairs at Assumption College, and then years after struck out on his own. The public relations firm John Guy Laplante Associates got off the ground in 1972, with USJB becoming one of John’s launch clients. John ran the firm successfully for fifteen years while building a real estate portfolio on the side. 

John became involved with Elderhostel at Incarnation Camp, Deep River, CT, in his retirement. He loved teaching courses there, as well as captaining the Love Boat. He also met close friend and companion, Annabelle Williams, or as John called her, “Milady Annabelle.”

Central Connecticut became John’s second home, where he became an active member of the Deep River community. He was heavily involved with the Rotary Club, spearheading the installation of Keyboard Park and the elephant statue in front of the town hall. Rotary presented John with the Paul Harris award, their highest honor. Ever the journalist, John continued to contribute articles to the local Main Street News.

While at a concert at the Coast Guard Academy, John felt deep regret that he never served his country. He resolved to change that by joining the Peace Corps. Chernihiv, Ukraine, became his destination. Though he faced many challenges there, he completed his tour, becoming the oldest volunteer in the Corps. Volunteers in Ukraine elected John to represent them when the vice president visited Kyiv, where he memorably shook hands with Joe Biden.    

John had many passions and interests; swimming, sailing, canoeing, biking, exploring. He was a voracious reader who adored libraries and dabbled in watercolors, poetry, and chess. Inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he loved to build things and tinker. Always looking to make improvements, he even designed a better johnny, his MedGown.  

His one true calling was writing. He threw himself into it with energy and enthusiasm, writing hundreds of articles and blogs and three books about his adventures traveling the world and serving in the Peace Corps. Even at the end, after choosing hospice, John characteristically said, “I want to write a blog about this. I think it would interest people.”  

John was intensely curious about people and, through his many travels, developed a vast network of friends around the globe with whom he regularly corresponded. Those connections meant so much to John. 

His parents, his sisters Louise and Rose, and his brother Michel predeceased John. His sister Lucie survives him.

John leaves behind a close and loving family:  Son Arthur, wife Marita, grandchildren Elise, Ryan and wife Samantha, Thomas, and great-granddaughter Allegra Laplante. Daughter Monique, husband David, step-grandson Christopher, and great-granddaughter Ruby Nelson. Son Mark and grandchildren Annalivia and Lincoln Laplante. Nephew Jean-Christophe and nieces Cristin and Michelle.

John always said that he would come back as a seagull if reincarnated. Keep an eye out.

John’s cremated remains will be buried at Notre Dame Cemetery in Pawtucket, RI. A memorial service is being arranged. If interested in attending, please email nelsonswest1@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. John Aschieris says

    A fitting remembrance to a wonderful man who’s friendship was enjoyed by so many. Happy Trails John Guy

  2. Bev Miller says

    I just found John on line after so many years and I will miss him. I loved reading his blogs and occasionally we would email back and forth. Whoever wrote this did a really nice job, you mention so many of the people he wrote about in his blogs. He was an amazing man who did a lot of things in his lifetime, I’m sure he will be missed my many!
    Monique if you read this could you please send me your new email or call me. I miss all of the family, working in your basement for quite a few years I got to know you all. I was so glad to hear from your Dad how successful you all are. He was so proud of all of you!

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