Friend remembers Frenchy Lesperance

I would like to make a tribute to a very loyal friend, Norman “Frenchy” Lesperance. I don’t think too many people knew him by Norman.

He was a very good golfer. At 90 he would play three or four days a week. When he was a young boy he used to walk 18 holes carrying a bag for the men he used to caddy for.

He was also a World War II veteran. After that he went to work for the dock with his good friend Norm Millbug.

I met Frenchy when my husband taught me how to play golf at the age of 50. I became pretty good at it. One day he asked me to play golf with his group known as Frenchy’s League. I told him he better ask the guys if they didn’t mind a woman playing in his league. There always between 15 and 20 now. Some men don’t like playing with a woman. They welcomed me with open arms.

As the years went by I came to know Frenchy very well. He wasn’t just a friend, he became part of our family.

When I cooked something special I would call him to come over.

My husband and I played a lot of golf with him. He would take his turn and then go and search for golf balls until it was his turn again. The trunk of his car looked like a golf store. He would clean certain balls and give them to the people that used them.

A couple of times I brought my granddaughter with us. She was only 12. He would stop to give her or me a bag of fig newtons. He loved those cookies. To this day my granddaughter knew who he was.

He used to go to 4:30 mass every Saturday no matter what church it was. He would see me and come and sit with me. After mass every week he would go to the Crow’s Nest and eat. He was so loved.

On his 90th birthday, I had a surprise for him on the golf course. I gathered all the golfers from his league for fish and chips. He was totally unaware. I had the meal catered for him. He told me if I reach 100, please have another party. I wish I could have done that for him.

My son called me the day he died and I was shocked. I knew with the virus we weren’t going to be able to go to church and see him one more time. I am sure the church would have been packed that’s how much he was liked. If the church ever opens up, I will cherish in my way.

So to my wonderful friend Frenchy, you will be missed and loved forever.

Esther Ballo

Ashtabula

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