After a short illness and a broken heart, Edward J. Lavelle Jr., 89, a long-time resident of Wilbraham, passed away at Baystate Medical Center on Sept. 27, surrounded by his loving family. He was born to the late Edward J. and Faith E. (Heald) Lavelle, Sr. on Sept. 14, 1930 in Springfield. At the age of 16, Ed met his future wife, Flo, when they both worked at the Paramount Theater as usher and usherette. He was fascinated by the pretty, dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty. When he asked her name, she replied “Florence,” he then told her he lived on Florence Street. She immediately thought he was a liar. Despite this early stumble in their relationship (he did live on Florence Street) they were together from that day forward for the next 73 years until her death in July. He survived only 83 days without her, broken-hearted.
Ed leaves behind his cherished children, Donna A. Pevay, Peter J. Lavelle and his wife Lynn F. Lavelle, all of Wilbraham, his wonderful grandchildren, Scott J. Pevay and his wife Missy A. Pevay of East Longmeadow, Caitlin L. Sample and her husband John R. Sample of Wilbraham, and sister Shirley Dashnaw of Wilbraham. In addition, he leaves behind his precious great granddaughters, Abby J. Pevay and Lilly G. Sample, who brought excitement and joy to his life. Also, his fur-baby, Annie, the rescue cat. He was predeceased by his daughter Linda Lee Lavelle, whom he affectionately called Linny Pooh, who died in 1965 at the age of seven.
When Ed was 5, his father suddenly died on Christmas Eve. People told him he was now the man of the family. He took that advice to heart and the words framed his life. He attended Technical High School in Springfield until 9th grade, when he left to work full-time to provide for his mother and sister. He worked many years at Springfield Cast Products and later at Baystate Cast Products until his retirement in 1989.
Ed had a variety of interests throughout his life. When he was young, it was music and playing the saxophone in a band. He enjoyed bowling and golf during his working years. He took great pride in his home, especially with landscaping and creating gardens, a talent he inherited from his mother. He had an incredible mind for math. He enjoyed mathematical patterns and statistics which he applied to the analysis of horse racing and the stock market. A craftsman and woodworker, he made small wooden toys and decorations. After retiring, alongside his wife he painted and dressed the items which they sold at craft fairs. Above all he was a true Boston sports fan, especially for the Red Sox and New England Patriots. For many years he stated that he hoped to live long enough to see the Red Sox win the World Series and the Patriots win the Super Bowl. Ed’s family would like to thank both teams for contributing to his long life.
Ed’s legacy stems from the tragedy he faced at age 5 when he became the man of the house. During his life his desire to provide for his family was always his ultimate goal. He was a consummate saver, creating a comfortable life for his family with his wise investments. His priorities were always family, home and work.
One great accomplishment he shared with his beloved wife was construction of their home in Wilbraham in the early 1950s. After working all day, they would go to the library in Springfield at night to read books about home construction. When they gained enough knowledge, they began building their home, cinder block by cinder block. Nights and weekends were spent hammering nails and constructing walls. It was a labor of love. The project took over three years, but the house they made became the loving home where they built their lives together, raised their children, and lived out their final days. Ed was always the man of the family.
In lieu of flowers, gifts in Ed’s memory can be made to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 516 Carew St., Springfield MA 01104.
Family and friends are invited to Wilbraham Funeral Home, 2551 Boston Road on Thursday, Oct. 3 from 5-7 p.m. for a period of visitation. A private burial at Hillcrest Park Cemetery will be held at a later date.