Gloria M. LeVasseur, 89: Nurse, volunteer devoted her life to helping others

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SCARBOROUGH — Gloria M. LeVasseur, 89, of Scarborough, died Aug. 19 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House.

LeVasseur was born April 12, 1926, in Caribou, the daughter of Abel and Eva (Santerre) LeVasseur. She attended Caribou and Waterville schools, and graduated from Portland High School in 1943.

In the midst of World War II, LeVasseur was initially employed as a welder of machine-gun ammunition boxes. But she became aware of the country’s critical shortage of nurses, and in September 1944 she entered the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps. After receiving training there, she graduated in 1947 from the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in Portland, and became a registered nurse.

From 1947-1970, LeVasseur served as a nurse and nursing educator in association with the Sisters of Mercy. She was a staff nurse at St. Joseph’s Convent in Portland, a student health nurse at St. Joseph’s College in Windham, and a public health nurse and social worker for both the Maine Department of Health and Welfare and the Passamaquoddy Reservation in Perry. She shared her talents with nurses in training, working as an instructor at the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing and at Madigan Memorial Hospital in Houlton.

LeVasseur was a member of the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, the Maine Nurses Association and the American Nurses Association. She advanced her professional skills by attending courses at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and at St. Joseph’s College.

In 1967, she graduated magna cum laude from Mercy College of Detroit, with a bachelor’s degree in medical record library science. She became a registered medical record librarian in 1968 and was a member of the state and national professional associations. She went on to work as director of nursing aides and medical record administrator at Mercy Hospital in Portland.

In 1970, LeVasseur became the medical record administrator at Portland City Hospital and The Barron Center, where she remained until her retirement in 1987. Her devotion and commitment to service was acknowledged with a certificate for 17 years of public service and presentation of a Key to the City of Portland.

After retirement, LeVasseur spent summers at her cottage in Limington, and in 2001, moved to Piper Shores Retirement Community in Scarborough. Her commitment to service did not end, however. In 2004, she was commissioned as a minister of the eucharist for Piper Shores Health Center, Mercy Hospital and St. John the Evangelist Church, where she was also a communicant for over 25 years. She continued to volunteer in the community, visiting the sick and aged, and supporting various missions, particularly the South Portland Food Bank.

When not busy helping others, LeVasseur was an avid reader and ardent Red Sox fan. She maintained a love of storytelling and family genealogy, and also enjoyed playing solitaire and Scrabble, and completing crossword puzzles.

LeVasseur was predeceased by her sisters, Doris M. (LeVasseur) Oliver and Marcella M. LeVasseur.

She is survived by her sister, Lorraine (LeVasseur) Jonassen, as well as two nieces, six nephews and many great-nieces and great-nephews.

LeVasseur’s family extends thanks to the caregivers at Mercy Hospital and at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Aug. 22 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, in Scarborough. Burial followed at Calvary Cemetery, in South Portland.

Memorial donations may be made to the Sisters of Mercy Retirement Fund, 966 Riverside St., Portland, ME 04103.