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WINCHENDON – Rachel A. (Laplante) Grout, 100, of 464 Central Street, died peacefully Friday afternoon, June 21, 2019 with her family and friends by her side.
Her husband of 57 years, Charles E. Grout died in 2003. She leaves her daughter, Dr. Coral M. Grout of Winchendon, many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Rachel was born in Winchendon on March 2, 1919, daughter of the late Stanislas and Odile Artemise (Lafleur) Laplante. She graduated from Murdock High in 1937, and later graduated from Becker College, majoring in accounting and business. She worked for six years as the Mathieu Theatre Group office manager and for 37 more years as office manager for two car dealerships. When Charles Grout moved to Winchendon for work he met Rachel at the local theater. Charles served in the Philippines during WWII. Being a true romantic, Charles decided to turn his silk parachute into a dress for his bride. He went to a seamstress in the Philippines and described his bride-to-be. He then stood in as a dressmaker’s model for the gown until it was finished.
Rachel has given many gifts and services to the Town of Winchendon, but most of all her heart to the men and women of the armed services community.
Rachel joined the American Legion Auxiliary in 1937, the same year she graduated from Murdock, and still holds a life membership. She was Unit #193 Auxiliary president, senior vice president, junior vice president, historian and treasurer, and also lent her talents to the Worcester County Council American Legion Auxiliary, where she served in a variety of roles, including director. She additionally chaired several committees for the Department of Massachusetts American Legion Auxiliary, and served as a member of the State Executive Committee. Rachel and her husband Charles made it a point to make sure everyone who served in the military who lived in Winchendon had a welcome mat when they came back and had an extended family through the American Legion.
Side by side with her husband, Mrs. Grout sat on the American Legion Bingo Committee for nearly three decades starting in 1979. Bingo was disbanded in December 2007, but the proceeds from the games were used over the years to help many projects and people in the town. Mrs. Grout used her business talents to help make bingo a success while purchasing supplies, fundraising and welcoming players. In the 1980s, she assisted with fundraising efforts to build the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War Memorial in Winchendon.
Mrs. Grout was the 1995 recipient of 10,000 volunteer hour award from Catholic Family Life. She volunteered more than 8,000 hours at Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center, and was a Union St. Jean de Baptiste member since 1920. She served as secretary-treasurer of Chapter #84 for 64 years. She has been a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church her entire life.
Mrs. Grout served on the Winchendon 200th Committee for the 1964 celebration. She and her husband served as parade marshals in the Fourth of July parade in 1984, and were the recipients of the Clark Memorial Community Service Award in 1994.
In 2009, she was grand marshal of the Winchendon Summer Solstice Parade, and is a major sponsor of the Charles E. Grout Memorial Golf Tournament for the Clark Memorial YMCA, which began in 2005. Other local memberships, activities are memberships in Murdock Alumni Association, Winchendon Historical Society and working as a Winchendon election teller.
Mrs. Grout along with her daughter, Coral, generously donated a considerable sum to the Town of Winchendon for a beautiful park to be enjoyed by all at the intersection of Glenallen and Spring Streets.
Rachel had the most fun traveling. She has been to 57 countries and all 50 states. She has held koala bears, had her picture taken with penguins in Antarctica and seen 30 different kinds of wildlife on their trip to Alaska.
On May 25, 2019 the Winchendon selectmen proclaimed the day as “Rachel Grout Day” in honor of her 100th birthday. It was the first time the selectmen have ever made a proclamation twice for the same person as she was also honored in May of 2013.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 10 A.M. in Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 52 Spruce Street.
Calling hours in Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home, 343 Central Street, Winchendon are Tuesday, June 25, 2019 from 4 to 8 P.M.
Burial will take place in the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, 111 Glenallen Street.
Memorial contributions may be made to Rachel A. Grout Scholarship Fund, care of Kim Drudi, Athol Savings Bank, 388 Main Street, Athol, MA 01331.