Normand A. LaRoche of Holyoke and Osterville MA, passed away peacefully on January 5, 2021. Normand, or "Red" as he was nicknamed for his beautiful auburn hair, was born on June 25, 1929. He was raised in Holyoke and Chicopee until he wed the love of his life, Connie Roberts of South Hadley, and they settled in Holyoke to begin their life together.
Normand was educated in local schools and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in 1951. After completing his formal education, Norm was deployed to South Korea where he served our country with distinction in the Korean War as an Army Medic and Staff Sergeant, under the most devastating of circumstances. Norm was awarded four Bronze Service Stars, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Medal and the National Defense Medal.
Following the war, Normand owned and operated several area pharmacies for more than forty years, including his flagship store, The Prescription Center on South Street in Holyoke. His successful stewardship of the family business led to the employment of dozens of Holyoke residents, both young and old. Normand guided by example, teaching the value of hard work, how to be responsible and how to be accountable for fulfilling your own dreams.
Beyond his retail enterprises, Normand served as a Board Member of PeoplesBank for decades. He became a Corporator in 1968 and later a member of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Investment. At the time of his death, Norm was an Honorary Trustee. He also served as a Board of Health Commissioner in Holyoke for twenty-five years and on the Boards of the Red Cross of Western Massachusetts, the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club and the Citizen's Advisory Council of Western Massachusetts. Norm devoted much of his earlier years to the Beavers Service Club and was a founder of the Volleyball Hall of Fame. Additionally, he was a member of the American Legion Post 266, the Korean War Veterans Association and the Cape Cod Jazz Society.
Normand loved books and antiques, theater and Jazz music, cooking and fine wine. He was a keen, competitive card player who enjoyed lively games of Pitch and Poker "for money" with family and friends. Norm inspired us to think beyond family heirlooms and to the value of sharing stories and gaining wisdom through life experience.
Even at age 91, Normand made it a point to stay active and would take his walker out every day to go for a stroll and say hello to his neighbors. Norm exuded positivity and handled any medical setbacks with quiet strength and independence. Special thanks to his dedicated team of medical professionals.
Normand is survived by his devoted wife of 67 years, Constance LaRoche, and his four children, Keith LaRoche (Barbara) of Chicopee MA, Joy Jepsen (Niels) of Glenwood Springs CO, Susan Roche (Tom) of Waltham MA, and Robert LaRoche of Austin TX. He leaves behind six loving grandchildren and six adorable great-grandchildren. Normand was blessed with lifelong close friends and wonderful neighbors in Holyoke and at the Cape. He was a consummate gentleman who will be missed by all who knew and loved him. May his legacy of warmth and kindness carry on.
A private family Memorial Service, with full military honors, was held in the Chapel of the Massachusetts Veteran's Memorial Cemetery. There will be a Celebration of Normand's incredible life at the Log Cabin in Holyoke as soon as it is safe to gather, post-Covid. Please consider making a donation in Normand's memory to WestMass ElderCare, 4 Valley Mill Road, Holyoke MA 01040.
Arrangements for Normand were handled by the Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home. Please visit www.barryjfarrellfuneralhome.com.
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