The Obit For Joe Lauzon

Bernard 'Joe' Lauzon, 78, 'would do anything for a laugh'

The Portland Press Herald, July 21, 2009

SACO — He was comfortable doing a lot of things that others might find hard, whether it was making people laugh when he pretended to be Superman, preaching in the mountains of Kentucky or hitting a home run.

Bernard "Joe" Lauzon of Saco, who died Friday at age 78, "would do anything for a laugh," said his daughter, Johanna Cantara of Biddeford.

She said she will miss her father's sense of humor.

Cantara especially liked it when her father would make a cape by stuffing a blanket in the back of his shirt, climb onto a chair or table in the family's living room, and leap into the air with his arms outstretched as he pretended to be Superman.

"He was a very happy man, with the most positive attitude no matter what," Cantara said.

Cantara said she made it a point to call her father every day – at the crack of dawn.

"I'd just wake up and say to myself, I need to call my dad," she said.

Mr. Lauzon distinguished himself as a three-sport athlete at the former St. Louis High School in Biddeford.

He played football, basketball and baseball at St. Louis, but baseball turned out to be his strongest sport.

In the summer of 1952, Mr. Lauzon was signed to play first base for the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league team in Johnson City, Tenn. He played only one season.

Cantara said that whenever her father walked into a public place in Biddeford or Saco, people would recognize him by holding up two fingers on each hand – a reference to 22, his baseball jersey number in high school.

He eventually went to work for Saco Tanning, where he was employed for a number of years as a trimmer.

In 1970, Mr. Lauzon became a Jehovah's Witness.

"Someone came to my parents' door. They invited them in. And my parents started to study," Cantara said. "Their faith became very important to them."

Mr. Lauzon became a church elder at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Saco. As an elder, he led Bible studies and "brought several people into the faith."

He and his first wife, Frances Nest Lauzon, who died six years ago, went on preaching missions in remote areas of Kentucky.

"I remember that they would have to drive up a mountain to get to some of these places," Cantara said.

In February, while he was driving, Mr. Lauzon experienced a tremor in his arm. Doctors later made a diagnosis of brain cancer.

"He had been in unbelievable shape," his daughter said. "He even ran his own cleaning business."

As his health declined, Mr. Lauzon refused to surrender.

"He always stayed positive," his daughter said. "He kept saying, 'I'm going to beat this.'"