Doris R. Vachon, 94: Immigrants' first child devoted herself to family

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BIDDEFORD — Doris Rita Tremblay Vachon, 94, formerly of South Portland, died peacefully at St. Andre Health Care Facility on June 6, surrounded by her family.

She was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, on May 20, 1921. She was the first child of Thomas and Aurelie (Mercier) Tremblay, who had moved from Quebec to the United States to pursue a better life for themselves and their children. When Vachon was young, her family moved again, this time to Lawrence, Massachusetts.

She left school after the eighth grade to work at a variety of jobs in support of her family. In the early 1940s, she married Leo A. Vachon, and accompanied him to New Jersey while he completed his training with the U.S. Army. Leo served in North Africa, and Doris did not see him again until after the war, five years later.

Vachon and her husband later opened their home in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to other family members, including her parents and brothers, who lived there until adulthood. Thirty years ago, the couple moved to Maine in order to be closer to their two daughters, who were living in South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

Vachon was a communicant of Holy Cross Parish, in South Portland.

Known by family and friends for her grace, selflessness, optimistic spirit and devotion to family, Vachon in later years was seldom seen without a hat.

She was predeceased by her husband in December 2006. In addition, Vachon was predeceased by two brothers, Paul Tremblay and Roger Tremblay.

She is survived by her daughters, Jane M. Vachon, of Cape Elizabeth, and Pauline V. Kane and her husband, Edward J. Kane, of Saco; two granddaughters, Bridget V. Kane and Kathleen M. Kane, both of New York City; a brother, Donald Tremblay and his wife, Marcy Legere Tremblay, of Atlanta; and nieces and nephews in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Georgia and Alabama.

Vachon’s family extends thanks for her care to the staff of The Wardwell Home in Saco, of St. Andre Health Care Facility in Biddeford, and of Life Choice Hospice in Scarborough.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Friday, June 19, at 11 a.m., at Holy Cross Church, 124 Cottage Road, South Portland. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of Doris Vachon to St. Andre Health Care Facility, 407 Pool St., Biddeford, ME 04005, or to The Wardwell Home, 43 Middle St., Saco, ME 04072.

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