Henry Laviolette's legacy: a love for Lebanon and a smile for the ages

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Henry Laviolette out on the job on West Lebanon Road in April 2014. (Rochester Voice file photo)

West Lebanon Road might not look quite as tidy this spring once the snow rolls back its sleeves and shows bare its debris-filled shoulders.

That was Henry Laviolette's road, and he cleaned it every spring, all the way from Five Corners to the corner of Upper Guinea, nearly two miles of roadway in all.

Laviolette died last month at the age of 88 and lived in town for nearly 60 years.

When the former Lebanon Voice did a story on Laviolette almost four years ago he was out on West Lebanon Road in early April, filling bags with bottles and cans thrown from cars over the long winter.

On the day we met up with him he guessed he'd fill 10 bags of trash before he was done. For more than 35 years Laviolette took it upon himself to keep the section of road clean, expecting no kudos or fanfare.

But in November, selectmen, along with State Rep. Karen Gerrish honored both Laviolette and his lovely wife, Lucinda, for all of their contributions over the years.

The Laviolettes often helped out at the polls on Election Days.

When Selectperson Laura Bragg presented them with a plaque, Lucinda quipped, "What's this for?"

"This is for 50 years of service to the town of Lebanon in grateful recognition of your dedicated service," Bragg read from the plaque.

Gerrish also presented the Laviolettes with a proclamation from the state Legislature recognizing them for their 70th wedding anniversary.

The Laviolettes' unabashed love for Lebanon was also evident in their attendance at Town Meeting and other civic events like Candidates Nights, which they never missed.

But what we'll miss most about Henry isn't that he cleaned up West Lebanon Road or helped out at the polls. We'll miss his warmth and sincerity and wonderful smile, and his eyes lighting up when he recognized you with a big hearty grin.

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