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Merrimack Valley

November 10, 2012

WW II engineer attends Veterans Day ceremonies every year

(Continued)

Routhier said the United States had no choice but to fight Germany and Japan during his war. As for the present conflict in Afghanistan, he said, “I’d get out of there.”

Routhier worked briefly as an apprentice carpenter. He obviously learned his skills well because he did most of the work on his house.

“I had it framed,” he said. He worked for New England Power Co., now part of National Grid, and then worked for Western Electric, from which he retired. His wife, the late Eleanor Routhier, who died six years ago, also worked at Western.

Routhier played football, basketball and baseball during his Johnson High School years and was inducted into the North Andover High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He passed his athletic talent on to his sons and grandsons.

His son Paul Jr. graduated from North Andover High in 1967 and was both quarterback and captain of the Scarlet Knights football team. He is also enrolled in the North Andover High School Football Hall of Fame.

Paul Jr.’s sons, Paul III and Matthew, also captained their North Andover High football teams. Paul III graduated in 1995 while Matthew graduated in 1998.

Paul Sr.’s daughter, Linda McHugh, a 1966 North Andover High graduate, was head cheerleader. Her son, Carl Cincotta, is head wrestling coach for the Scarlet Knights. Her daughter is Lisa Limonciello.

Paul Jr. said his father stays mentally sharp by playing 45s, among other activities. When Paul Sr. and Jr. team up, “We can beat anybody,” the younger Paul Routhier said.

The 150th Combat Engineers Battalion must have had incredible cohesion. For 60 years after the end of World War II, they had a reunion every year, according to McHugh. Their advancing years eventually brought these gatherings to a halt.

Routhier still attends the Veterans Day ceremony behind the Stevens Memorial Library each year. Afterward, veterans and other participants proceed to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2104 on Park Street, where they have a flag raising.

“Then we go inside for a luncheon,” he said.

Paul Routhier Sr. is still mentally sharp and certainly seems to be going strong. Tom Brokaw, author of “The Greatest Generation,” would no doubt like to meet this man.

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