WEST HARTFORD, CT - GAUTHIER, Rene Narcisse, age 90, died March 28, 2016, in West Hartford, CT. He was born on Labor Day, September 7, 1925, the son of Cleophas and Antoinette (Lamoureux) Gauthier. He was the second of 5 children and was raised and educated in the French village of Manville, RI. He was part of the Greatest Generation that ever lived and was proud to be a Veteran of World War II, enlisting in the US Navy when he turned 18 in 1943. He served in the Pacific Theater aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS Franklin ("the ship that wouldn't die"). The Franklin was the most heavily damaged ship in WWII to make it home (www.USSFRANKLIN.org
). Rene was one of only 704 survivors of this attack, on a ship of 2,800 crewmen, and a member of the "704 Club".
After the war, Rene held positions at Corning Glass, General Motors, Martin Marietta, and for many years at Kaman Aircraft in Moosup, CT, where he was a buyer and purchasing agent. He then became the Purchasing Control Manager for the Amtrak "Turbo Train" which was serviced in Providence, RI and was one of the first trains, when it was designed and introduced in the 1970's, to deliver high-speed passenger rail service between Boston and NYC. He finished his career as buyer at Hamilton Standard in Farmington, CT, retiring from his position there in 1990.
He was dedicated to keeping the memory of the USS Franklin alive, and was involved in planning and attending annual reunions of its surviving crew members up until 2013. He assisted in editing a book about the Franklin, A Call to Duty, by William Stewart, published in 2016 and soon available at Amazon.com.
He also had a lifelong interest in politics and was involved in the Republican Town Committee in Plainville, CT, where he resided from 1978 until his death.
Rene is survived by his sons, Daniel Rene Gauthier and wife Bonnie of West Hartford, CT, Christopher Rene Gauthier of Plainville, CT and Francis Xavier Gauthier of San Francisco, CA. He is also survived by his brothers, Richard Gauthier and wife Ruth of San Antonio, TX and John Gauthier and wife Jean of Cranston, RI, and by his sister Yvonne Murray of Williamsville, NY, by his two grandchildren, Ahren Rene Gauthier of Cromwell, CT and Leslie Renee Gauthier of New York City, and by his great-granddaughter, Penelope (Penny) Renee Gauthier. He was pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 58 years, Eileen Cecelia Hagan Gauthier, by his parents, and by his brother Charles Gauthier.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2016, at the Faith Bible Church in Plainville, CT. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to: USS Franklin Memorial (online at www.USS FRANKLIN.org
); or to Hebrew HealthCare, Office of Development, 1 Abrahms Boulevard, West Hartford, CT 06117; or to Faith Bible Church, c/o Rev. James Caron, 168 Unionville Ave., Plainville, CT 06062.