THOMASTON – John Leonard St. Denis, 86, a resident of Thomaston for nearly 70 years, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his wife and children, on Friday, October 6th. John was born on a farm in the French speaking town of St. Albans, VT on the Quebec border, the ninth child of Aldei St. Denis and Azilda Bouthillier St. Denis. He followed his family to Thomaston in the 1940’s giving up farming to work in the industrial boom of the Naugatuck Valley. He quickly showed prowess as a self-taught carpenter. He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers from 1952 to 1954 in the Korean War where he learned more about engineering and building. Upon his return, he married his sweetheart Rose Marie Juliano of Waterbury. Married for 62 years they raised four children, and ran John’s general contracting business together, building many homes and apartment buildings in Thomaston. His work included the building and renovating of several industrial and commercial buildings as well, such as Joe’s Bakery and the complete restoration of the Seth Thomas Bradstreet House where John donated his time and many of his collectables to the project. John and Rose served as docents for the house giving tours to hundreds of new and old friends alike.
John also served in the renovations of St. Thomas Church, the Thomaston Public Library, the new Thomaston High School and many other civic projects. John and Rose both served the St. Thomas Church community as well as the Thomaston Senior Center, where John was an avid pool player, and they are well known for their friendly, welcoming and nurturing personalities. There are few families in Thomaston who were not touched by John’s kindness and wisdom in one way or another.
John is survived by his wife Rose St. Denis, their four children, Gary St. Denis (Joanie) of Santa Barbara, CA, Linda St. Denis Hartnett (Christopher) of Boone, North Carolina, Sandra St. Denis Cross (Jack) of Stonington, CT and John St. Denis, Jr. (Jim) of Los Angeles, CA. John leaves eight grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews and their children as well. John leaves one sister Rejeanne St. Denis Kleindienst, and was preceded in death by seven siblings, Leonard St. Denis, Marie St. Denis Ducharme, Gerard St. Denis, Maurice St. Denis, George St. Denis, Giles St. Denis and Joseph St. Denis.
John’s spirit of friendliness, curiosity, public service and common sense lives on in his many descendants and the hundreds who think of him as a second Dad and friend. John will be forever known as one who would strike up a conversation with anyone known or unknown and find some common ground or some way to help anyone in need. He lived the essence of “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
The family would like to express their gratitude to Alicia, our hospice nurse for her kindness and caring. Donations may be made is John’s honor to the Seth Thomas Bradstreet House or St. Thomas Catholic Church of Thomaston.
Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, October 10thfrom 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at the Lyons Funeral Home 46 High Street, Thomaston. A funeral mass will be held at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston on Wednesday, October 11, at 10:00 A.M. Burial with military honors will follow at St. Thomas Cemetery. For more information or to send notes of sympathy and comfort to John’s family please visit his tribute page at www.lyonsfuneralhome.com