SUTTON - Robert Lawrence LeClaire, 92, passed away on Friday, January 21st at St Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, after a very short illness. Born June 26, 1929 in Millbury, he was the son of Dr. Henry A. and Lillian (Guilmette) LeClaire.
‘Bob’ graduated from Millbury High School, where he was co-captain of the football team and treasurer of the senior class. He graduated from Clark University. He held a part time job at the Harold Fielding Insurance Agency in Worcester throughout high school and college. Following graduation from Clark and to avoid being drafted into the Army, he enlisted in the Air Force, graduated from officer candidate school and served three years active duty during the Korean War. Following release from active duty, he remained in the Active Reserve, and retired after 21 years with the rank of Major.
In September of 1954 he met his future bride, Betty Benjamin of Sutton and they were married on her 25th birthday in June of 1955 by (then) Bishop John Wright of Worcester. In 1956 he left the insurance agency in Worcester to join Betty in operating her deceased father’s business, Stephen Benjamin Insurance Agency in Sutton.
In 1961 he was elected to serve on the board of directors of Millbury Credit Union, and has served as chairman of the board since 1968. In 1962 he served on the Town of Sutton Finance Committee.
He is a charter member of the Lake Singletary Watershed Association and served as its treasurer for 33 years. He attended the Millbury Old Timers Banquet and in 2016 he was honored as the ‘Millbury Man of Distinction’. He is a past president of both the Independent Insurance Agents of Greater Worcester and the Worcester Insurance Society.
As a Clark Alumni, he is a member of the Legacy Society, Charter Member of the Jonas Clark Fellows, Member of the Friends of Clark Athletics, and served two terms on the Clark University Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
He retired from the Stephen Benjamin Insurance Agency in 1994, and turned the business over to his son, Stephen. He was a collector at St. Mark’s Catholic Church since its origins.
In his youth, Bob enjoyed snow skiing and liked to tell of skiing Mt. Wachusett before it was a public ski area. He and his friends would hike to the top, to enjoy two trips down to complete a day. He was also an avid collector of postage stamps. He is a proud Eagle Scout of Troop 109 in Millbury, having cleaned brush to help in the initial construction of Treasure Valley.
He was a long- time treasurer of the Sutton Republican Town Committee. He was a member of the former Sutton Players Club, Singletary Sailing Association, and a member of the Dudley Gendron Post 414 American Legion. He was a New England Patriots season ticket holder for 33 years, and an avid follower of all New England and Boston sports teams. He attended several Super Bowls to watch the Patriots. In retirement, he enjoyed summers at the family camp on Lake Singletary, mowing his grass and restoring miles of stone walls on his property.
His wife of 51 years, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Benjamin predeceased him in 2006. He leaves three sons; John R. LeClaire and his wife Ruth A. Hodges of Lincoln MA. Stephen E. LeClaire and his wife Joy of Sutton, and James L. LeClaire and his wife Ruby, also of Sutton. He leaves four grandchildren; Lauren LeClaire and her husband Lucas Fortini, and Benjamin LeClaire all of Sutton, Evan Hodges-LeClaire of New York City, and Adam Hodges-LeClaire and his wife Esther of Haverhill, NH. He is predeceased by a sister, Lois M. (LeClaire) Fisher in 2010.
Family and friends are invited to celebrate Bob’s life by gathering for a time of visitation on Wednesday Jan. 26th from 4 to 7 p.m. in Mulhane Home for Funerals, 45 N. Main St. in Millbury.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 27th at St. Mark’s Church, 356 Boston Rd. in Sutton and burial will be in Howard Cemetery in Sutton.
Memorial contributions may be made to Autism Speaks, Framingham MA at www.autismspeaks.org, or to the Robert & Elizabeth LeClaire Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Clark University, 950 Main St, Worcester MA 01610.