James Laurence Larouche

SCARBOROUGH – James Laurence Larouche of Auburn, passed away at the Maine Veterans Home in Scarborough, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. He was 79 years old.

Jim was born on June 23, 1944, in Milo, to Virgil and Doris (Skoog) Larouche. Jim’s childhood was an idyllic one filled with fishing and camping trips with his father and uncles to Gulf Hagas and other remote spots in the great North Maine woods.

Jim graduated from Milo High School in 1963 where he excelled in academics, basketball, and baseball. He attended Colby College, playing baseball under legendary coach John Winkin. He was a member of the Lambda Chi fraternity.

In 1968 Jim enlisted in the U.S. Army, and he was assigned to the Defense Language Institute at Fort Bliss, Texas. Jim’s first choice of language was German but, as luck and the Army would have it, he was assigned Vietnamese. As Jim told the story, he left the airport in Bangor one December night in 1969, the only passenger on a plane bound for San Francisco and ultimately Bien Hoa, South Vietnam.

Jim served two tours of duty as a PSYOPS interpreter/translator in the Vietnamese language. His service in Vietnam ended in 1971when he was medevaced from the war zone to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Jim returned stateside with a suitcase filled with cheap Hong Kong suits, expensive camera equipment, and a life-long appreciation of the people and culture of Vietnam.

In 1972, Jim completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Maine at Orono, earning a B.S. in Microbiology. He earned a M.S. in Education/Counseling in 1978 from the University of Southern Maine. He was a guidance counselor at Lewiston High School for 30 years. It was a job that Jim excelled at, and his dedication to students was extraordinary. Perhaps most fulfilling for Jim was his work with the Vietnamese students whose families settled in Lewiston. In 1996 Jim was recognized as Secondary School Counselor of the Year for the State of Maine by the National Association of College Admissions Counselors.

In retirement, Jim was at his happiest with a cup of green tea in hand, a John McPhee book in his lap, and a Red Sox game on television. He lived a life of courage, positivity, and accomplishment despite having progressive multiple sclerosis for forty years.

Jim is survived by his wife of 52 years, Pamela (Plummer) Larouche, and a son, Samuel Larouche, both of Auburn; a brother, John Larouche of New Gloucester; a special brother-in-law, Thomas Plummer of Lewiston; brother-in-law Kendall Plummer and sister-in-law Linda Plummer of Yarmouth; brother-in-law James Plummer of Gray; several cousins and nieces and nephews; and his favorite “hanger-outer”, his standard poodle, Matti.

On line condolences can be shared at http://www.thefortingroupauburn.com Memorial services to be held at a later date. Arrangements are under the care of The Fortin Group Funeral Homes 217 Turner St. Auburn, ME 04210.

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