Richard LaChance, 80, beloved father, pépère and uncle, unexpectedly went home to his Heavenly Father on Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Born in St. Johnsbury, Vt. to Raymond and Lucienne LaChance on Nov. 1, 1938, he attended local schools and graduated from the St. Johnsbury Academy in 1956. Richard then honorably served in the U.S. Army from 1957-60 and enjoyed being stationed in Orleans, France. Upon his return home, he took a job in Claremont, N.H. and eventually married a hometown girl, Simone Poliquin, on May 19, 1962. Richard singlehandedly built their first home in Claremont, finishing it shortly after the birth of their first son. Another son was born a year later and they then returned to St. Johnsbury in 1966 where they resided until 1982. After one too many cold winters, Richard and Simone decided to move the family to Cocoa, Fla. where he lived until his death.
A man of calm and quiet demeanor, Richard was also driven with a strong work ethic, a trait he passed along to his children and grandchildren. Having grown up in his father’s business, in 1966 Richard partnered with his brother Herbert to form the Herrick Company, a plumbing, heating and electrical contractor in which they also owned and managed 75 apartments in multiple buildings in their hometown until Herbert’s passing in 1977 and Richard’s move to Florida in 1982.
Upon relocating to Florida, Richard began working in 1984 at Wuesthoff Hospital as a Plumber and Electrician before becoming the General Maintenance Supervisor of 16 employees in 1986. He was then promoted to Manager of Plant Engineering in 1999 where he was responsible for maintaining the entire hospital and 40 satellite buildings while managing 30 employees. He was awarded the 1998 Florida Healthcare Engineer of the Year.
In 2000, Richard became the Facilities Manager for Health First’s 150-bed Cape Canaveral Hospital and 12 satellite buildings. The following year he was transferred to the much larger Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne where he was responsible for the 468-bed trauma hospital, 18 satellite buildings, a $5 million operating budget and a $3 million capital budget. He retired in 2009 at the age of 70 but remained a life member of Florida Healthcare Engineering Association.
Simply put, Richard and his family were always immensely proud of his career achievements in light of his simple, humble, small town Vermont beginnings with only a high school diploma. His example of disciplined hard work and calm personal influence was something to be admired by all; he was the family rock. Words cannot express how deeply he will be missed. His family rejoices, however, in knowing that he has been reunited with his beloved Simone and all of the dear family and friends who have passed before him.
Upon retirement, Richard enjoyed playing bingo weekly as a member of the Merritt Island Moose Lodge and the VFW. He was an active member of Divine Mercy Catholic Church, delivering groceries weekly to those less fortunate as a member of their St. Vincent de Paul Society. Richard was also an avid NASCAR fan, having attended races at different tracks throughout the southeast over the years including his favorite, Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. If not actually at the race, you would find him in front of the TV cheering on his favorite drivers over the years; Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott.
After celebrating 52 years of marriage, Richard was preceded in death by his wife Simone in 2014. He was also preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Raymond, Paul, Herbert and Maurice and sister Gloria Bouffard. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Deborah of Portersville, Pa., son and daughter-in-law, Paul and Theresa of Rockledge, Fla., daughter and son-in-law, Rachel and Gary Holtgard of Boise, Idaho, three grandsons, Luc, Kyle and Gage, and a large extended family who thought the world of him.
A memorial service will be held Friday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 1940 N. Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island, Fla. Following the service, a luncheon and celebration of Richard’s life will be held at the Moose Lodge, 3150 N. Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island, Fla. A second memorial service will be held at a later date at St. John’s Catholic Church in St. Johnsbury, Vt. In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Vincent de Paul Society c/o Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 1940 N. Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island, FL 32953. Condolences at afcfcare.com.