Ernest (Ernie) R. Guilbeault 86 of West Swanzey died on April 19, 2010 with dignity and peace while in the presence of family. He died at Cheshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Keene after a period of failing health.
He was born in Turners Falls, Mass.. The son of Anna (Richards) and Arthur Guilbeault on October 22, 1923. He lived in the Patch and was educated locally in the Montague School System. Ernie left school early as so many of his generation did to help the family.
Mr. Guilbeault is one of the greatest generation. He served his country during World War II. His time of service was performed in the U.S. Navy. Ernest worked as a lathe operator in the machine shop. While on sea duty he served on the U.S.S. Hale, DD-642. He was in many battles during the war. As a member of the crew they saw combat operations at Leyte Gulf also know as the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea the largest Naval battle during the world war. He was also in the Battle of Midway a deciding point of the war and the battles of Tinyen, Yap, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. His ship was assigned to protect the harbor when the peace treaty with Japan was being signed. His service brought many awards and medals. He receive the World War II Victory Medal, the American Theater Medal, Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal with 7 stars and the Philippine Liberation Medal with 2 stars. He was discharged honorably on February 13, 1945 at the rank of Seaman First Class after 2 years of service.
On September 30, 1950 Mr. Guilbeault took his vows to Miss Eileen D. Roy at St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church in West Swanzey. They have been married for almost 60 years. They made West Swanzey home and have also lived in town for 60 years.
Ernie worked for 35 years at Kingsbury Corp. In Keene. He was a shop manager for the final assembly division. During his time at Kingsbury’s he supervised up to 300 personnel and was responsible for many aspects of production. He retired in 1985.
Mr. Guilbeault was a communicant of St. Anthony’s Church for many years. He liked to build machine tools. He did wood working projects. He also liked to boat with the family and would go fishing to relax. In following his faith Ernest joined the Knights of Columbus in Keene. He gave freely of his time and became a forth degree knight. He has been a member of the Knights of Columbus for 50 years and a fourth degree knight for 40 years. Ernie was a family man at heart. He loved being dad, then Pepe to his grandchildren.
Survivors include his wife Anna Guilbeault of West Swanzey. His four children; Susan M. Joslin and her husband William of Winchester, A. Patrick Guilbeault of West Swanzey, Catharine Krellenstein and her husband Gary of Manhasset, NY. and Karen E. Guilbeault of Exeter, R.I.
He also leaves his three siblings; Doris Bruno of Turners Falls, MA., Simone Markham and her husband Elliot of Monson, MA. and Eugene Guilbault and his wife Lois of Tuners Falls, MA.
Pepe will be missed by his 5 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. He also leaves many nieces, nephews extended family and friends.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday evening from 6 to 8p.m. A funeral mass will be held on Friday at 10a.m. in St. Bernard’s Church. Main St. Keene. Burial will follow with full military honors at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Rt 12 South, Keene, NH. 03431. Flowers will gladly be accepted. However at the request of the family donations would be preferred in memory of Ernest R. Guilbeault to: Cheshire Medical Center, Attn: Berry Wyman 590 Court St. Keene, NH. 01341 or to the Swanzey Historical Museum, 720 West Swanzey Rd. Swanzey, NH. 03446.