Dr. Rene “Doc” Desaulniers, 84, of Putnam, Ct passed away peacefully at Matulaitis Nursing Home in Putnam on December 6, 2006. He was born in Danielson, Ct, the son of the late Egide and Rose (Regis) Desaulniers. He was a 1940 graduate of Killingly High School and a 1941 graduate of Hebron Academy in Maine. He received his degrees in optometry from Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1947. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he retired in 1968 as a major, US Army Reserves. He was a member of the American Optometric Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and a member of the Connecticut Association of Optometrists. Named the Connecticut Optometrist of the year in 1989, he also served for many years on the Connecticut State Board of Examiners of Optometry and was a member of the International Association of Boards of Optometry. Doc served on the Putnam school board, and was a member of the Quinebaug Valley Association for the Retarded, the Putnam VFW, the Putnam Inland & Wetlands Commission, the Putnam Elks and the original Putnam Country Club. He was a past Grand Knight of the Cargill Council Knights of Columbus and was a Paul Harris Fellow when he was a member of the Putnam Rotary Club. He was the president of the Putnam Little League and served as American Legion baseball commissioner. He loved to umpire baseball and did so at the Little League, high school, American Legion, and college levels. In the spring, he would attend Joe Brinkman’s Umpiring School in Florida also serving as the visual consultant to many major league umpires. In his later years, he developed a love for antique cars and horses and owned a Five Gated Saddle Pleasure horse named Crimson Ruffle who was champion in her own right. Dr. Desaulniers was the ultimate jock with baseball as his first-love, and golf coming in a close second.
He is survived by his five children: Suzanne Bauzys of Dade City, Florida; Maureen Russe and her husband Dr. Richard of Granby, Connecticut; Michelle van Haagen of China, Maine; Thomas Desaulniers and his wife Donna, of Bradenton, Florida; and John Desaulniers of Central Village, Connecticut. He was formerly married to Pauline (McGrath) Desaulniers of South Pasadena, Florida. The family would like to express a special thank you to the staff at Matulaitis Nursing Home, Dr. and Mrs. David Gaudreau, Ron Coderre, Alice Jones, and Kathy Taylor for their constant friendship, comfort, and loving concern toward Rene during his later years.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Rene’s family Wednesday, December 13, 2006 from 6 to 9 pm in the Gilman Funeral Home, 104 Church St, Putnam. His Funeral Mass will be held Thursday December 14, 2006 at 10 am in St. James Church, 12 Franklin St. Danielson. Burial with Military Honors will be in Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: PHIL MAR Group Home, 22 Phil Mar Drive, Central Village, CT 06332.