Raymond E.'s Story
Raymond E. Senechal (St. Charles), 99, of Plaistow, N.H., formerly of Salem, Mass., passed away peacefully surrounded by his children and grandchildren at Masconomet Healthcare Center, Topsfield, MA on March 24, 2017.
Born on February 15, 1918, in Salem, Mass., to Francis X. and Dianna Senechal, Ray was the middle child of five siblings, Ernest St. Charles of Dallas, Texas, Robert Senechal of St. Petersburg, Fla., Lucile Zielski of Salem, Mass., and Lorraine Gilbert of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Ray was educated in Salem public schools, and upon graduation worked at the Hawthorne Hotel for a year prior to working construction during the building of Camp Edwards on Cape Cod. In 1939 he went to work at GE River Works, where he became a union steward protecting his coworkers' rights and joined Salem's Auxiliary Police force. In 1942 he was drafted into the Army and served in the anti-aircraft units in Iceland, England, Scotland, and, France. He was honorably discharged in December 1945 as a Decorated Disabled Veteran of WWII and returned to his position at GE.
He met his future wife at a social for returning soldiers, and in 1947 Ray married Catherine C. Pooler and they raised four children. In 1963 he retired from GE on disability and then Ray's real job started! He became active behind the scenes fighting for the rights and safety of his fellow neighbors, earning him the nicknames of "The Ralph Nader of South Salem," and "King of the City Council." Upon Kay's death in 1993, Ray moved to Plaistow, N.H., to live with his youngest daughter, Patricia Cornell and her family, where he continued his fight for his fellow citizens. A fixture at Plaistow selectmen's meetings and around town, he was instrumental in getting several safety issues passed. He earned the respect and gratitude of the selectmen and fellow citizens and received the honorary title of "The Mayor of Plaistow." A lifelong democrat, Ray worked diligently in local and national elections earning him several awards and recognitions from the Clinton and Obama presidencies. He was most proud of joining Obama's Kitchen Cabinet, a tradition started by President Andrew Jackson that was comprised of his unofficial advisors. Ray's love of art has always played a part in his life, from painting a mural in London on a hospital wall during WWII to small portraits of famous figures. He received several personal thank you notes for portraits of the Clintons that he sent to the White House. His children and grandchildren cherish the extensive collection he left behind. At 85, he was interviewed by CNN on why he campaigned. He answered "It's in your blood, to help people who can't help themselves." A perfect testament to Ray's life. Dad, you will be missed greatly by your family and all those whose lives you touched. Rest in peace, you have earned your reward!
Ray's family would like to express their gratitude and thanks to Masconomet Healthcare Center Staff: Jeff, Debi, Annie and Doreen and to the Fidelis Hospice Team: Laurie, Sheri and Kelly.
He is survived by his children, Sharon (Keith) Adrien of Greenville, S.C., Sheila (Tim) Shea of Salem, Mass., Raymond (Gerri) Senechal of East Hartford, Conn., and Patricia (Keith) Cornell of Plaistow, N.H.; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Relatives and friends are invited to visiting hours on Saturday, April 8, 2017, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Levesque Funeral Home, 163 Lafayette St. (Route 114/1-A), Salem, MA to be followed by his funeral service in Ste. Anne Church, 290 Jefferson Ave., Salem at 11 a.m. Burial with military honors will follow in St. Mary's Cemetery, Salem. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a memorial contribution to the charity of your choice. For guestbook and additional information, please visit www.LevesqueFunerals.com.
Published on April 3, 2017