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Bernard L. Lavallee

June 21, 1927 December 3, 2010
Bernard L. Lavallee
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Obituary for Bernard L. Lavallee

PEORIA – Bernard L. Lavallee, 83, of Peoria, passed away at 8:53 a.m. on Friday, December 3, 2010, at Lutheran Hillside Village, in Peoria. He was born on June 21, 1927, in Burlington, Vermont, to Armand J. and Gertrude Nantel Lavallee. He married Marie A. Kovarik on May 22, 1954, at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Peoria; she survives. He is also survived by one sister, Therese Carbino, of Williston, VT; one son, David L. (Mary Beth) Lavallee of Washington, IL; three daughters, Margaret T. (Dan) Kemper of Versailles, MO, Jean M. (Paul) Allen of Edelstein, IL, and Mary P. (Gary) Scheffert of Peoria, IL; ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; two sisters-in-law, Georgianna Lavallee of Wilson, NC, and Gail Lavallee of Huntington, VT; along with many beloved nieces and nephews and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, Marie Jeanette, two brothers, Reginald and Robert, and one brother-in-law, Kenneth Carbino. A 1950 graduate of Saint Michael's College in Colchester, VT, Bernard went on to study and receive Minor Orders for the priesthood at Grand Seminary of Montreal in Quebec. While on sabbatical to visit a friend near Flagstaff, Arizona, he met his future wife and companion of 56 years, Marie, who was also visiting the area. The couple returned to her home town of Peoria, Illinois, to start a new life together. Bernard became a special agent for John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company's Peoria office in 1955, retiring after 35 years. During his career, he consistently earned sales awards, including life qualifying membership in the company's President's Honor Club, its President's Round Table, and finally its President's Cabinet in 1976. But "Bernie" found greater happiness in the personal connections he made with his clients, especially the local farmers, for whom he had great respect. Having lost his father early in life, he was pleased to provide the security of life insurance to hundreds of Central Illinois families. He was a member of St. Philomena Catholic Church in Peoria, and a 50-year member of the Alumni Association of Saint Michael's College. He loved life, learning, good food, and family. He and Marie enjoyed traveling and watching classic movies, westerns, and Cubs' baseball games together. Bernie loved fishing for walleye in Minnesota, leather crafting, listening to music (classical and early country), playing his violins, walking nature trails, and working with his hands. In keeping with his compassion for others, he chose to make an anatomical gift to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine for the advancement of medical knowledge. His family will celebrate his life at a private family Mass and gathering, with interment of ashes at a later date at Parkview Cemetery. The family wishes to express their gratitude to all who provided medical or pastoral care during his illness, and to friends and extended family for their support and prayers. Tributes and condolences may be submitted to www.wrightandsalmon.com.

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