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Donald "Donnie" J. Lavoie
August 13, 1957 ~ November 29, 2023 (age 66) 66 Years Old
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Donald J “Donnie” Lavoie of Bethlehem, NH passed away peacefully in his home on November 29, 2023 at the age of 66, surrounded by those who love him. He died 10 days after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease. He is survived by his wife, Meglyn (Bull) Lavoie, his daughter, Grace Anne Lavoie and her partner Daniel Shamberger of Lincoln, NH, stepson Declan Bull of Philadelphia, PA, and his sister Lorraine Lavoie and her wife, Lucie Bolduc of Wells, ME.
Donnie was born in Littleton, NH in 1957, to Charles A Lavoie and Donna (Wysocki) Lavoie. He graduated from Littleton High School in 1975, attended Bryant College in Smithfield, RI for his freshman year, then graduated from Colby College in Waterville, ME with a Bachelor’s of Business in 1979. Later in life, he achieved a lifelong dream by attending White Mountains Community College where he received a certificate of Massage Therapy in 2019, and opened a studio in his home in Bethlehem, where he devoted his time to serve people in need of comfort.
Donnie was a lifelong resident of Bethlehem, NH, with a few short stays in Colorado, Alaska, and Maine. He loved his hometown and took his civic duty very seriously. He held positions in Bethlehem’s town government for most of his life, beginning in 1987 and serving until his death. In addition, he served on many non-profit boards in the community, including Littleton Regional Hospital, North Country Community Radio, Mount Eustis, and most recently, he co-founded Bethlehem Reimagined, a community and economic development organization.
He worked in the family business, Lotta Rock Dairy, from an early age until it was sold to Deering Ice Cream in Portland, ME. He then worked for Sno.engineering as the Business Manager, until he left to open Exit 41 Rentals, which later became P&S Equipment. Each of his businesses served the community and the people of the North Country above everything else.
We will recall Don as a thoughtful man, highly intelligent, who loved his family and knew how to have fun. He enjoyed the outdoors in countless ways, including skiing, biking, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, hiking, canoeing, camping, and kayaking. He loved his chainsaw, chocolate, music, photography, gin, ice cream, cigars, irish whiskey, refunds, white birds, and most of all, enjoying these things with his friends and family.
Don greeted the world with a gleam in his eye and a wicked grin. He delighted in simple things, taking time to savor the world. He made his morning coffee by grinding beans in a hand grinder and making hot water in a kettle on the wood stove. He was patient, loved simplicity, and working with his hands. He never sat still - when he had free time, he would cut/stack wood for the wood stove, reimagine lawn layouts to include natural areas, or create new playlists for his 30,000 song music library. (Who else would create a playlist called “Blues Hussies”?) He loved sharing all these activities with his family - rafting with Grace on the Salmon River, paddling with Meglyn at their cottage on Pensioner Pond, building a treehouse and zipline on Swazey Lane for Declan, and jamming with all of them at Jerry Jam.
Don’s final act of selflessness was to allow an autopsy by the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center at Case Western Reserve University, hoping to find answers about the horrible disease that took him from us. Many thanks to North Country Home Health and Hospice, their compassion and care were invaluable in his last days.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to https://bethlehemreimagined.org/ in Donnie’s memory. BRI is creating a program in his honor to foster the next generation of community leadership, while continuing the projects that were important to him and his town.
A celebration of life for the man who truly impacted us all will be held on January 5, 2024 at Rek’-lis’s Pint House in Bethlehem at 4pm. Don’s ashes will be buried in a private ceremony in the Maple Street Cemetery in Bethlehem, NH, beside his parents and in the town he loved beyond measure.