RUMFORD — Wilfred and Ella Laplante, 85 and 86, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 15.

Wilfred was born on Oct. 29, 1928, in Rumford, to Henri and Maria Laplante. Ella Mary Richard Laplante was born on July 7, 1928, in Mexico, to Albert and Edmée Johnson Richard.

Wilfred grew up in Rumford and after graduating from high school, served in the U.S. Army in Germany, then in the Reserve and was later called back to active service during the Korean War. Upon his return, he began employment at Oxford Paper Co., in Rumford, now NewPage paper mill, working his full career until retirement in the paper industry.

Wilfred married Ella Richard on July 26, 1951, and lived for a short time on Cape Cod while being stationed at Camp Edwards. They were happily married for 63 years and had five children. Wilfred was a faithful and committed member of Parish of the Holy Savior, formerly St. Athanasius-St John. His faith was an important part of his life and he served in many capacities over the years. He was deeply involved in the leadership in the Charismatic (Movement) Renewal, made a Cursillo and was involved in that group. He attended a spiritual formation “Center for Parish Ministry (CPM),” a three-year course at St. Phillip’s in Auburn, and served on the school board.

He loved his community and volunteered at GRAMPS at its weekly Wednesday meal. He was a quiet man and was noted for his wisdom and kindness, and loved nothing more than sharing a cup of coffee and deep conversations with friends and family. He loved going for his Sunday drive, where he and his wife might drive two hours for lunch. He was incredibly talented, building his own house and helping his children and others with projects. He was a dedicated and loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Ella grew up in Mexico. She attended local schools and Notre Dame High School in Berlin, N.H. She worked for Joe Arsenault Insurance, where she met Wilfred. After they were married, she devoted herself to raising their five children and instilling in them a love of God and family. She was dedicated to the service of her church, especially in teaching students of the fifth-grade Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Like Wilfred, she too was deeply involved in the leadership in the Charismatic (Movement) Renewal and also made Cursillo, being active in that group. She also attended the three-year CPM spiritual formation and was part of a group who assisted the priest who ministered to the sick at Rumford Community Home. She was a tireless helper and encourager to all she came in contact with.

Ella was outgoing and engaging, and made everyone she met feel special and important. No one was a stranger to her, but instead viewed as a potential new friend. She loved life and lived it to the fullest. She enjoyed new adventures and, with Wilfred, traveled to Ireland, three times to Israel, Rome and twice on pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

She loved to keep in touch with family and friends in Canada and out of state. Ella also loved the new technology, and kept in touch with people via email and was even on Facebook. She used every avenue to share her values. She was a wonderful, affirming, caring mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Weekly tea parties with her great-granddaughter, Erica, were among many cherished moments. She shared her appreciation for the love, support and understanding she received from her beloved husband, Wilfred. She was very proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She admired her four daughters-in-law and her only son-in-law. She was grateful for all the family gatherings that were held every year.

Both Wilfred and Ella were devoted to their God and continually prayed that their family would follow the path of all their ancestors, who from generation to generation were faithful and devoted to their Creator and God.

Wilfred and Ella are survived by their four sons, Richard and Helen of Cocoa, Fla., David and Penny of Waterville, John and Debbie of Fairfield and Peter and Linda of Rumford; and one daughter, Gabrielle and Bill of Berwick. They have 20 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

You are invited to share your thoughts, condolences and fond memories with the Laplante family by visiting their guest book at www.SGThibaultFuneralHome.com.

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