Eugene Philip Lavoie. Researched and written by Camille Arbogast.
Eugene Philip Lavoie was born on May 27, 1892, in Laconia, New Hampshire. His parents, Marie Exelia (Morin), known as Luce or Lucy, and Joseph Lavoie were both originally from Quebec, Canada; Joseph was born in Saint-Denis and Lucy in Ham-Nord. They married in 1882 in Laconia. Joseph and Lucy had 10 other children: a girl born in 1885; Albertine in 1886; Joseph Oscar (known as Oscar) born in 1887; a boy in 1888; Napoleon in 1889; Marie in 1890; Joseph Ernest (known as Leo) in 1894; Marie Ann Yvonne (known as Eva) in 1896; Rosella in 1898; and Ida in 1900. A number of these children were stillborn or died in early infancy, including Albertine, and Napoleon and the unnamed children..
By the late 1890s, the Lavoies had moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where they lived on Dalby Street in the Nonantum neighborhood. Around 1900, they moved to Dorchester. Joseph appeared in the 1904 Boston directory residing at 35 Lauriat Street. By 1910, the family had moved to 7 Milton Avenue. At that time, 17-year-old Eugene, who had attended school through the 8th grade, was a helper in a machine shop.
In the 1910s, Eugene sought a position as a chauffeur for a private family, advertising in the Situations Wanted columns of the Boston Globe and Boston Evening Transcript. Though he was licensed in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, was willing to relocate, and could perform his own repairs, it does not appear that he found the job he desired. His driving did earn him a $5 fine in February 1916. In 1917, he was living with his family at 81 Milton Avenue and was employed by the Garford Motor Truck Company, manufacturers of heavy trucks, as an “automobile mechanician” at their showroom and service garage at 900 Commonwealth Avenue.
On November 27, 1917, Eugene enlisted in the Army Quartermaster Corps. He sailed for France on January 11, 1918, departing from New York City, as part of Provisional Company Number One, Quartermaster Mechanical Repair Shop #302. In the summer of 1918, the Motor Transport Corps (MTC) was formed and Eugene’s unit became Group D Repair Unit, 302 MTC. In France, the MTC was headquartered in Tours and was responsible for “the design, production, procurement, reception, storage, maintenance and replacement of all motor vehicles, and accounting for same,” as well as for “garages, parks, depots and repair shops.” Motor vehicles were defined as bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, trailers, and trucks. Eugene returned to the United States in June 1919, sailing from Brest, France, on the USS Cap Finisterre, and arriving in Hoboken, New Jersey. By the time he departed for the United States, Eugene had been promoted to sergeant. He was discharged on June 19, 1919.
In 1920, Eugene was again living with his parents and younger siblings, who had moved to 42 Wentworth Street. Also living in the household were two of Eugene’s nieces, as well as a teenage ward of the family, and two boarders. Eugene was a chauffeur employed in a garage. By 1925, he was living at 11 Ivy Street in Boston.
On May 23, 1925, Eugene married Elizabeth F. (Whall) Lynch. They were married by Justice of the Peace Charles Eliot Worden at the Alexandra Hotel, 1761 Washington Street in the South End. Elizabeth had been married previously and had a son, William Lynch. Eugene and Elizabeth had a daughter, Lucy, in 1926.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Lavoies lived in Canton, Massachusetts, first at 2745 Washington Street, then at 1757 Washington Street. By 1935, they were back in Dorchester, residing at 31 Edson Street, their home for the rest of their lives. Eugene continued working as a mechanic in a garage. The 1940 census recorded that Eugene worked at a car dealership, earning $1,560 a year. In 1942, Eugene reported on his World War II draft registration that he was employed by the White Fuel Corporation of 900 East 1st Street in South Boston. Eugene was still working in the White Fuel Corporation garage in 1960, according to the Boston directory. Elizabeth died in January 1961. After her death, Eugene moved to South Weymouth, where he lived at 374 Ralph Talbot Street.
Eugene died on January 18, 1963. A Solemn High Mass of Requiem was celebrated for him at Saint Matthew’s Church in Dorchester.
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