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Archambault, Virgil Jerome  
Archambault, Virgil Jerome May 3, 1930 - April 7, 2015 Virgil Jerome Archambault born May 3, 1930, died April 7, 2015 Virgil Archambault passed away peacefully in his sleep at home in Sierra Madre, April 7th. He had a long bout with degenerative heart disease, following a quintuple bypass in 1988. His wife , Shirley of 60 years was at home with him. Virgil was born in Brooks Minnesota on May 3, 1930, the eldest son of five children to Alberic and Regina Archambault. His family leased a farm as sharecroppers for year and were devout Catholics in the french speaking parish of St. Theresa in Terrebonne Mn. In the fall of 1948, at the age of 18, he and the family sold all the livestock and farm equipment in an auction, and moved to California, settling in El Monte in a home built by "Lucky Homes" in 1952 for $5,000. He was drafted in the same year, during the Korean War and served two years in the US Army for the Army Corps of Engineers as a heavy equipment operator, stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska. Upon discharge, after a brief stint working for the City of Alhambra on a survey crew, Virgil worked more than a year for the Santa Fe Railroad inspecting rail lines along Route 66 from Albuquerque to San Bernandino, pulling a 27-foot Terre Cruz trailer from rail station to station with his new bride, Shirley, whom he married in 1955. When their first child, Maryanne was born in 1956, along the railways, he sought more stationary work and joined the then Los Angeles Division of Highways as a surveyor, forever remembering his first day as April 23, 1956 - a major touchstone in his life. With an amazing knack for remembering dates and numbers, birthdays and significant dates he attributed to being a surveyor, Virgil went on to work for the California Department of Transportation Division of Highways for 40 years, as a civil engineer and eventual Licensed Surveyor, rising the ranks from surveyor to party chief and eventual Chief Civil Engineer/Surveyor Head of Right Aways for Los Angeles County. With the rapid growth and development throughout Southern California in the 50s and 60s ,his claim to fame and pride was having worked on virtually every freeway in SoCal, from the 210, 605, 5 to the 105 "Century" freeway, which he joked took a century to build. He retired in December 1995, receiving several plaques and commendations including ones from then governor of California Evelle Younger, and Mayor of Los Angeles Sam Yorty. The same year he went to work for Cal Trans, Virgil and Shirley bought a home and moved to Sierra Madre, where he has lived ever since raising a family of five children and becoming very active at St. Rita's Catholic Church for nearly 60 years. He was on the Parish Council, head of lecters and became an Extraordinary Minister. All five children also attended St. Rita's Elementary School. He and Shirley were also very involved as Oblates at St. Andrew's Abbey in Valyermo. For years they were close friends with Fr. Martin Vincent who founded the abbey, and continued active and volunteering at an annual Fall Festival until recent years when his health declined. They also made two trips to Israel and the Holy Land with Fr. Vincent as guide after his retirement.
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Published in Pasadena Star-News on Apr. 12, 2015
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