David I. Pinette, 93: Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient

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BRUNSWICK — David Israel Pinette, 93, of Brunswick, died at his home in Garden Grove, Calif., on Aug. 7.

Pinette was born in Brunswick on Aug. 24, 1919. He was the ninth of 16 children born to Alma and Arthur Pinette, who emigrated from Quebec and settled in Brunswick. He attended St. John’s Catholic School. On his 16th birthday, he replaced his father at work in the Cabot Mill, weaving on four looms without having had any previous training. Skilled with his hands, he was later employed at the Bath Iron Works in 1939 as a ship fitter.

Although he received a deferment while helping to build destroyers, Pinette was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, when it was deemed advantageous to have French-speaking American troops on the ground in the European theater. He served in reconnaissance and was often behind enemy lines.

A recipient of the Bronze Star for bravery and two Purple Hearts for wounds received, he served under Gen. George Patton in the 4th Armored Division of the 3rd Army. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge for which his unit received special recognition and a Presidential Citation.

Shortly after his discharge from the service in 1945, Pinette married Antoinette Yvonne Comeau in Brunswick. After being variously employed and running his own light trucking business, he and his family loaded their Studebaker pickup truck with all their belongings for a two-week road trip to California. There, Pinette found work as a toolmaker at Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach. The family settled in nearby Lakewood.

After 20 years and five children grown, Pinette and his wife divorced. Later, he and Alene Todd were married and resided in Garden Grove, Calif. After retirement, they summered in Maine for 30 years where they enjoyed the sea, their family and the love and admiration of many nieces and nephews.

Pinette was first and foremost a provider and father to his five children who collectively cannot recall when their father ever spent money on himself, not so much as a purchasing a fishing pole. His experiences in the war left him with physical and emotional scars that he managed to overcome.

Hobbies had to wait until he was retired and the kids were on their own. But Pinette then amused himself by making birdhouses and toys for his grandchildren. His backyard garden was augmented by his “long arm” avocados and other fruit from over the fence. He is remembered fondly by his neighbors.

He was predeceased by eight sisters, Cecile, Marie Laure, Therese, Lorina, Marcelle, Celine, Angela and Gloria; and four brothers, Laurier, Robert, Richard and Maxime. 

He is survived by his wife, Alene; former wife, Yvonne Comeau; five children, Charlene and husband Chuck Dale, Nicholas and wife Kathleen, Andre, Arthur and wife Karen, and Theresa and husband Rene Van Tilborg; three sisters, Rochelle Scheutzow, Valencia and husband Gerard O. Menard, and Denise Lebrun; sister-in-law, Gertrude Pinette; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren, the most recent being Drake Pinette-Constantine.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, at 11 a.m., at St. John the Baptist Church, Brunswick, followed by interment with military honors at St. John’s Cemetery. A reception will follow at St. Charles Borromeo Church, on McKeen Street in Brunswick.

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