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Baillargeon leaves impact on Somerset

Maurice Baillargeon was named 2010 Pea Soup Days grand marshal to honor him for his contributions to the Somerset community over the years.

April would have marked his 20-year anniversary of being ordained as a deacon, but that was only one facet of Maurice Baillargeon.

Baillargeon, a longtime Somerset resident, died March 16 at the age of 91.

Although he lived at The Deerfield in New Richmond since March 2008, he left a big impression on the Somerset community.

"He was a lifelong member at St. Anne's Church," said Deacon Dick Peterson. "He served this parish in every way he could. He will be missed by a lot of people."

Baillargeon was born in Somerset on Nov. 27, 1919 to Oliver and Lucy (Parent) Baillargeon as one of 10 children. He graduated from Somerset High School and joined the Army in 1942 where he served in Africa and Italy.

He was even able to get an audience with then-Pope Pius XII.

After his stint in the military, he settled down on the dairy farm and married Lorraine Cullen on June 18, 1945. From that union they had 10 children.

Between dairy farming and raising his children, Baillargeon also joined the Catholic Order of Foresters in 1946 and later the Knights of Columbus. They sold the cattle in 1964 and he began working as a carpenter. He continued doing volunteer carpentry work even after he retired in 1981.

His faith had always played a big part in his life, so he became ordained as a deacon on July 27, 1991. As a deacon, he married a number of his grandchildren and other couples, as well as assisting at funerals and vigil services.

In March 2008, he and Lorraine moved to The Deerfield in New Richmond. Lorraine, his wife of 63 years, passed away in November 2008 after suffering a stroke. Baillargeon remained active in the St. Anne's community as best as his health would allow.

His contributions were such that the Somerset Lions and Somerset Chamber of Commerce decided to honor him by naming him as Grand Marshal for the 2010 Somerset Pea Soup Parade.

"He's been involved with Somerset for a long time," said Casey Goessl, Somerset Chamber of Commerce president, in an earlier interview. "We brainstormed with the Lions and felt he would be a good candidate."

David Bracht, of David Bracht Real Estate in Somerset and member of the Somerset Lions, had known Baillargeon his whole life.

"Maurice was a wonderful man and he had a wonderful life," said Bracht. "It's sad to see him go; he was a very well-loved and respected person."