NEW BEDFORD — Donald R. Gaudette, 90, passed away Friday, September 15, 2017 at The Oaks after a period of declining health. He was the devoted husband of Theresa A. (Castonguay) Gaudette, with whom he shared 69 years of marriage.
Mr. Gaudette devoted his life to public service and his beloved Catholic Church.
He was elected in 1960 to the first of three terms as Ward 1 City Councilor, serving as Council president in 1965. In 1966, he was elected to the first of five terms in the state legislature, choosing not to seek re-election in 1976. During his State House tenure, he served as Chairman of the House Committee on Local Affairs as well as membership on House committees on Natural Resources, Commerce and Labor and Public Affairs. He was selected Legislator of the Year in 1974 by the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association.
A 1945 graduate and proud alum of New Bedford Vocational High School, Mr. Gaudette worked at the Acushnet Process, now Acushnet Company, until the mid-1960s. During that period, he directed fellow employees in the company’s popular musical variety shows.
Mr. Gaudette’s own performances in those shows often brought down the house. Blessed with a profoundly powerful bass-baritone singing voice, he was sought for decades to perform at weddings, funerals and other services throughout the region. “You didn’t just hear his singing,” one admirer said. “You felt it, down to your toes.”
He served as choir director at St. Therese and Our Lady of Fatima churches for several decades.
His service to his church was recognized in 1975 when he received the Marian Award, presented by Bishop Daniel A. Cronin.
He is survived by his widow; four children, daughter Janice Corvi and her husband, Michael, of Greenfield, MA; son Donald Jr. and his wife, Teresa (Villar), of New Bedford; daughter Rachel Thomas and her husband, Michael, of Fairhaven, and son Robert of New Bedford; six grandchildren, Robin (Corvi) Quevedo and husband, Omar, of Clearwater, FL; Erin (Corvi) Sullivan and husband Albert, of Swansea, MA; Justine Thomas of New Bedford; Benjamin Thomas of Middleboro; Danielle Gaudette of New Bedford and Gabrielle (Gaudette) Grady, and her husband, Trevor, of New Bedford; four great grandchildren, Morgan and Mikenna Sullivan of Swansea; Cody J. Thomas of New Bedford and Jayden Grady of New Bedford. He is also survived by a sister, Claire Michaud, and many nieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by his parents, Charles O. and Aurore (Gregoire) Gaudette; two brothers, Charles and Normand Gaudette, and two sisters, Muriel LeBlanc and Jeanne Labelle, and their spouses.
His visitation will be held Wednesday, September 20, 2017 from 9-11am at the ROCK Funeral Home, 1285 Ashley Blvd., New Bedford, followed by his Funeral Mass at 11:30am at Our Lady of Fatima Church, 4256 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery. For tributes and online registration: www.rock-funeralhome.com.//?#You can find the complete original obituary on this website.