1935 – 2014
LEWISTON — Harvey J. Armand Desgrosseilliers, 79, of Minot, a great, unassuming and kind man passed away in the arms of his wife and soul mate, Tuesday, Dec. 16, at St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion.
He was born in Rumford, June 24, 1935, the son of Herve and Clara (Belanger) Desgrosseilliers. As a young boy, he spent time in his grandparents’ lumber camps, where he developed a love of the great woods.
Harvey married his wife, Rachel (Baillargeon), of 29 years, on Aug. 24, 1985. He had a great love of children and believed in the importance of giving them all opportunity to become stronger and wiser through education and exposure to diverse experiences. He was a believer in strong women as seen in not only the support, but the egging on of his wife and three daughters to take on any project or challenge. A favorite saying was “If you don’t try, you may not fail but you also will never succeed.” His deep belief in family was seen by his love for his children and grandchildren.
He had an uncanny sense of engineering which allowed him to fix or do anything and had a deep love for books and learning. He loved nature, but especially trees and was given the name of “Tree Whisperer.” He had artistic flair that allowed him to take an empty lot and, as if an artist painting a canvas, turn the lot into a work of art. His friends know that he told it like it is and when one saw Harvey, what you saw was what you got.
He joined the United States Marine Corps, where he became sergeant and served in Japan during the Korean War. Being a Marine meant everything to him. He graduated from Maine Central Institute, and attended the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, where he received his degree in Arboriculture. He was the first college trained arborist in the state of Maine and became president of the New England Arborist Association.
He started Mt. Apatite, Inc. in Auburn, then worked as engineer in charge of completely rebuilding a ship, the Highland Pride, a side dragger fishing vessel. In 1982, he was hired by Zapata Oil Co. as a French interpreter to go to St. Pierre Michelon Islands, France, to oversee the complete overhaul of major machinery. In 1985, with his wife, he opened Six Corners Nursery and Landscaping and Gooseberry Barn in Auburn, where he became known to the children as Mr. Dumdum (for his lollipops) at the Raspberry Sherbet House, until Parkinson’s disease stopped him.
He is survived by his wife, Rachel; and his three daughters, Jane Desgrosseilliers of Scottsdale, Ariz., Susan MacMillan and her husband, Andy, of Rockland and Diana Castle and her husband, Simon, of Rockport; three grandsons, Garrett, Oliver and Larson; three granddaughters, Erica, Alexandra and Emily; a sister, Yvette Pettingill of Maui, Hawaii; three brothers, Roger and his wife, Linda, of Roxbury, Eddie and his wife, Sheila, of Auburn, and John and his wife, Joanne, of Freeport; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Patricia Roberts; and a son-in-law, Gary Thorbjornsen, who was lost at sea with his fishing vessel.
His family is most grateful to the 4West unit staff at d’Youville Pavilion and Dr. Michael Bither of the Gerontology Associates of Freeport for their caring way, compassion and good humor through difficult health crises over the past year.
Online condolences and sharing of memories may be expressed at www.lynchbrothers.com.