Merrimac, MA — Leon “Lee” J. Cartier, 78, of Merrimac, passed away peacefully of complications due to Parkinson’s Disease, surrounded by his adoring family, at Merrimack Valley Hospice House on Friday, April 12, 2013.
He was the beloved husband of Simone (Emond) Cartier with whom he would have celebrated 56 years of marriage on April 23.
Lee was born in Haverhill on July 15, 1934, to the late Thelma (Wing) and Herbert Cartier. He was the youngest of four brothers.
He graduated from Amesbury High School in 1953. It was here in 1952 that he first saw Simone on the day she transferred to the school and, smitten, passed a note to her via a friend, asking her for a date. Simone tried her best to resist his charms but ultimately he won her over and he presented her with an engagement ring on graduation day and they were married on April 23, 1957, at Sacred Heart Church in Amesbury.
Lee was drafted into the Army in 1957 and the newly married couple set off for El Paso, Texas. Five months later he was assigned to duty in Germany. He served 15 months in U.S. Army BTRY “C” IFC Area 552nd AAA Missile BN (NIKE) banner on Missile Range tracking of planes, and received an honorable discharge in February of 1959.
Self-taught in the art of sign building and lettering, Lee worked at Star Sign, Haverhill Sign and then as shop foreman at Sign Center in Haverhill for many years. After his retirement, he started his own business, “Lee’s Signs”, and built a broad, local customer base.
His life revolved around his family, and his love and devotion was never, ever, doubted. Lee had an enthusiastic willingness to help anyone at any time. All who knew him will miss his “punny” sense of humor, sharp wit, and general silliness.
Cherished family traditions included an annual Christmas shopping excursions with his daughters to select gifts for the love of his life, Simone; Christmas Eve readings of “The Night Before Christmas” to his grandchildren, ad-libbing to their delight; raucous Easter egg hunts; and creating a delightfully frightening Halloween experience for neighborhood children, and their parents.
Lee and Simone enjoyed many happy summer vacations along the New England coast with their daughters, and continued to visit their favorites, Bar Harbor and Cape Cod once the girls were grown.
Lee was predeceased by his brothers, Richard Cartier and William Cartier.
In addition to his wife, Simone, Lee leaves his daughters, Denise Cartier-Creveling and her husband, Ernest, of Merrimac; Lisa Cartier-Gruen and her husband, Paul Gruen Jr., of Amesbury; brother, John Cartier and his wife, Norma (Fish), of Seabrook; grandchildren, Christopher Sutton and his fiancé, Jyll Van Gordon, of Amesbury; Matthew DiLorenzo and his girlfriend, Patricia Sheehan, of Nashville, Tenn.; Emily (DiLorenzo) Belisle and her husband, Brett, of Kingston, N.H.; Giuliana DiLorenzo. of Merrimac ; great grandchild, Bella Rose Sutton . In addition, he leaves many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends along with his beloved cats, Lily and Shadow.
ARRANGEMENTS: All are welcome to attend a life celebration service to be held on Saturday, April 20, at 11 a.m. in the Highland Chapel at Paul C. Rogers Funeral Home, 2 Hillside Ave., Amesbury. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Lee’s name be made to the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society, MRFRS Headquarters, 63 Elm St., Salisbury, MA, 01952. Online donations may be made at http://mrfrs.org.