SHIRLEY — Veronica Dorothea (Dupray) Michaud, 90, died on Dec. 26, 2007, in the home that she loved, surrounded by her family. She was born in Fitchburg on Aug. 26, 1917, the daughter of Wilfred J. and Agnes H. (Beaudin) Dupray.
Veronica graduated from Fitchburg High School in 1934. She married Armand J. Michaud at Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Shirley on Sept. 3, 1939.
Veronica served as Shirley town accountant from 1961 to 1978. She also worked at elections as a worker and then clerk for 42 years. Veronica was a member of “The Ladies of 1934” of Fitchburg High School and the Altrurian Women’s Club of Shirley. She served as library trustee and was a Girl Scout leader.
Her daughter, Claudette M. Williams and her husband, Fred, of Shirley and one grandson, Erik L. Williams, of Cambridge, survive Veronica.
She was predeceased by her husband, Armand, in 2005 and two brothers, Verne in 1929, and Hubert O., who was lost at sea on the USS Dorchester on Feb. 3, 1943.
Veronica met Armand a few days following her arrival in Shirley after her family’s move from Fitchburg. She was 18 then and had an ear infection. She went to Tidd’s Pharmacy where Armand worked to get some medication. There was also a soda fountain at Tidd’s and he made her a hot fudge sundae. It was all history after that. They were married at Saint Anthony’s Church and lived in Shirley for the 65 years of their married life. Even though she came to Shirley at an early age, she was never a true “Shirleyite” — as in order to qualify for this distinction one had to be born in Shirley. Armand reminded her of this fact often.
Veronica worked as town accountant to help finance her daughter’s college education. She and Armand were very proud of the fact that Claudette graduated from college. At the same time that she worked for the town she also worked side by side with Armand in his mobile catering business, making the many sandwiches he sold on his route and keeping the business’s books.
She was a doting grandmother and would often brag about the accomplishments of her “favorite grandson,” when everyone knew that Erik was not only her favorite but also her only grandson. She would tell anyone who stood still for a moment about his latest adventures or share the latest picture.
Veronica was known for her novenas to Saint Jude and various other saints. She would always have her rosary beads on the table beside her chair and was reluctant to leave the house before her prayers were done. When asked if she would add a new person to her novena list, she would explain that she “may have to take someone else off the list” as she could not pray all day.
Veronica was pleased to live in her Chapel Street neighborhood. She moved to Page Street as a young bride and remained there for many years. She then returned to the same neighborhood when her father died and she and Armand moved into his home on Chapel Street. The bonds that formed during the early years of their marriage were strengthened with the move back to the area. Many of the same families — the Lamberts, the Alberts and the Sheas — still lived in the houses they occupied when Armand and Veronica were newlyweds. Everyone looked out for Armand and Veronica as they aged and came to them for help, advice and to borrow items. They were the neighborhood’s “grandparents.”
Veronica took up decorative painting later in life when she began painting the items that Armand made in his woodworking shop. She painted under the patient direction of Barbara Schmuck, a long-time friend. Barbara, Claudette and Veronica would meet weekly at Veronica’s house and paint at her kitchen table. She would sometimes get more talking done than painting but that was fine with her. She was very proud of her work and the progress she made in this area over the years. Donna Dewberry, the creator and nationally renowned expert in One Stroke painting, counts Veronica as her oldest devotee and has been in correspondence with Veronica frequently.
Remaining independent and living in her own home was very important to her.
During her later years, when her mobility was compromised, she was still able to stay connected with the people who meant a lot to her via telephone. She was always quick to accept an invitation to go out to lunch or shop.
Veronica taught us all, friends and family alike, lessons in love and grace by her example during her life and how she approached her final journey.
A funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday, Jan. 5 at St. Anthony’s Church in Shirley, followed by burial in the parish cemetery.
Arrangements were handled for the family by the T.J. Anderson & Son Funeral Home in Ayer. Please see www.andersonfuneral.com for additional information.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Nashoba Nursing & Hospice Service, 2 Shaker Road, Shirley, MA 01464.