Paul A. Lagacé

WILMINGTON, Mass. – Paul A. Lagacé of Wilmington passed away on Friday, July 16, 2021 in his home. He was a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the beloved husband of Robin, his wife of 38 years.Paul was born on July 27, 195, in Lewiston, Maine, a son of the late Lucien and Claire Lagacé. Growing up during the advent of the Space Age had a profound effect on Paul; his interest in aerospace coupled with his academic strengths in math and science led him to MIT. A first-generation college student, he received his degrees in aerospace engineering, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 1978, his master’s degree in 1979, and his doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in 1982. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty in the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1982.Paul’s research focused on designing and manufacturing composite structures and materials mainly used in the aerospace industry. He was widely recognized for his research expertise, particularly as it applied to the response and failure of composite structures, and the development of composite structures technology, and the safety of aircraft structural systems. He was highly sought-after as an advisor and consultant to industry and government agencies on structural technology and broader engineering systems. In addition to his research, he was deeply passionate about the MIT community and was actively involved in education and service to the Institute throughout his career. Paul taught courses in the mechanics of materials and structures with special emphasis on composite materials and their structures. He received significant recognition for his contributions to teaching and served in many leadership positions on student-focused programs throughout his career. Outside of MIT, Paul was an avid sports fan particularly devoted to the Boston Red Sox. After seeing his first game at Fenway Park with his grandfather in 1968, Paul wove the Red Sox into his life in countless ways, from lining up a business trip with their travel game schedule to taking his future wife to a game on their first date.In addition to his beloved wife, Paul is survived by his brother Daniel, and sister-in-law Elyse of Paul is survived by his brother Daniel, and sister-in-law Elyse of Voluntown, CT as well as aunts, uncles, relatives and friends.Family and friends are invited to gather for visitation at Nichols Funeral Home in Wilmington on Friday, July 23 from 4-7 p.m. A funeral service will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 24 at St. William of York Catholic Church in Tewksbury. Donations can be made in Paul’s memory to the Epilepsy Foundation or the Jimmy Fund. View Paul’s full obituary on news.mit.edu.

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