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1925 Raymond 2021

Raymond G. Duhamel

October 18, 1925 — February 21, 2021

Raymond G. Duhamel, a longtime resident of Port Charlotte, Florida passed away peacefully at his home on February 21, 2021. Raymond was born in Providence, RI, on October 18, 1925, and grew up in East Providence, with parents Alfred Duhamel and Helen (McQuilton) Duhamel, and three younger sisters. Raymond enlisted in the US Navy at the tender age of 17, with his parents signing their permission. He served in the Pacific, as a Sonarman, Second Class, and was honorably discharged in 1946. After his service, he went back to East Providence High School and obtained his diploma. He married, Linda (Teixeira) Duhamel, in 1955. They were married 65 years, but as he often pointed out, they dated for 5 years, which makes 70 years of an exemplary partnership.  Young Raymond wanted to be a pilot, but after qualifying to solo, decided his destiny was in another direction. He was briefly a co-partner in Bovi’s Town Tavern in East Providence but bowed out and concentrated on his career as a proud member of Sheet Metal Union Local 17, where he first signed on, as an apprentice, in September of 1955. Ray and Linda, although verifiably blue-collar, managed to have two different summer homes; the first, pre-retirement, in Charlestown, RI (a house which Ray built, mostly by himself), and then another, post-retirement, at Buttonwoods in Warwick RI.  He worked steadily as a Sheet Metal Journeyman for over 32 years (including an ample variety of side-jobs), retiring in December of 1987, and remained a dues-paying member for 66 years. He also served time on the JAC Board of SMW Local 17, championing apprenticeship and sustainable careers as a Union Sheet Metal Journeyman.  In retirement he worked as maître de and all-around utility player at Bernardo’s Family Restaurant in North Port, Florida; an enterprise he, his wife Linda, and sister Doris Mello owned in their early retirement years. He worked briefly as a greeter/helper at Walmart, but resigned because Walmart required him to watch anti-union films, which he could not accept. He worked for several years; well into his eighties, as a home healthcare worker, helping care for a paraplegic man 30 years younger.  He was an earnest reader (particularly of hard-boiled Detective fiction), a lifetime Democrat, an avid bowler in his younger years, and continued golfing into his early 90’s.  He was a decades-long RI Reds season ticket holder, a lifetime fan of the Boston Bruins, and loyally followed the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and PC Friars basketball. On both sides of his extended family, he was appreciated as the peacemaker, the quiet fixer, the ultimate Uncle and surrogate father; the always-go-to-guy. Family, both immediate and extended, was the focus and purpose of his life, as well as being the most loyal, trustworthy, and trusting friend one could hope for.

Ray survived the loss of his youngest son; Keith Duhamel; who died tragically in 2001 at age 39, his sister Shirley McCormick in 2010, and most of his friends; whom he had the sad good fortune of outliving, He lost his beloved wife Linda in March 2020. Raymond leaves behind son Scott Duhamel, daughter-in-law Sheila Duhamel, son Mark Duhamel, daughter-in-law Deanna Minich, granddaughter Taylor (Duhamel) Dudley and husband Mitchell Dudley, step-grandson Michael Iannotti, niece Kim (Mello) Piccoli; who was his and Linda’s caregiver and angel in these last several years, and his sisters June Corcoran and Doris E. Mello, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and nephews.  

A celebration of Raymond’s life will be held in Rhode Island at an as-yet-undetermined date in the Summer of 2021.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Building Futures; an organization devoted to creating family-sustaining career opportunities for low-income diverse community members through the Registered Apprenticeship system, at www.401gives.org/organizations/building-futures.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Raymond G. Duhamel, please visit our flower store.

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