2016-12-23 / Your City

Longtime educator, library trustee Tremblay passes away

By David Dore


Gilbert Tremblay Gilbert Tremblay For Gilbert Tremblay, being involved in so many groups and causes in Leominster was more than a way of giving back to the city he called home his entire life.

“To be honest, we get back as much as we give,” he told the Leominster Champion in 2006. “It’s really a labor of love.”

Tremblay’s contributions to Leominster, from teaching at the high school to chairing the Library Board of Trustees, are being remembered following his passing the morning of Saturday, Dec. 17 at the age of 83.

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella called Tremblay “one of the kindest, caring, compassionate people I’ve met” and “a true gentleman” on Facebook Sunday morning. He said Tremblay “always did his homework, always prepared and always did what was best. A huge loss for our city.”

Tremblay was born June 29, 1933 in Leominster to French-Canadian immigrants. He grew up on French Hill, and graduated as valedictorian of the Leominster High School Class of 1951. He joined the United States Air Force. He later earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Fitchburg State College.

Tremblay’s educational career spanned three and a half decades — from 1958 to 1993 — and four districts — Marlboro, North Middlesex, Harvard and Leominster. He retired from Leominster High School in 1993.

“My dad taught thousands of students,” Tremblay’s son Robert said in a Facebook posting on Tuesday. “He valued every one of them. And he knew them so well that he could recall the name of every former student he encountered over the years, even after 10, 20 or 30 years had passed. Not only could he remember their names, he could tell you where they sat in his classroom, what year they graduated, and he could frequently recall the names of their brothers and sisters. My dad loved being a teacher.”

Tremblay was a member of the International Veteran’s Chorus, the Leominster Historical Society, the Adult Learning in the Fitchburg Area (ALFA) Board of Directors and the Leominster Cultural Commission. He was a longtime member and chairman of the Leominster Public Library Board of Trustees. He and his wife of 56 years, Carol, were also involved with Sholan Farms, the city-owned orchard on Pleasant Street.

Tremblay was part of the R.O.M.E.O. Club, a group of retired Leominster educators that established a scholarship program for students at Leominster High School and the LHS Center for Technical Education Innovation entering the field of education.

Tremblay was named one of Leominster’s Citizens of the Year in 2006.

Along with his many contributions to the city, Robert Tremblay also recalled his father’s quick wit, sense of humor, love of puns, and ability to be a loyal friend.

“My dad had a superpower,” Robert Tremblay said. “All he had to do was shake a person’s hand, learn their name, and they became a valued friend to him. My dad’s friends were from all walks of life, all professions, ethnicities, and ages. His enthusiasm for people made it easy for him to want to learn all he could about someone he met, appreciating them for exactly who they were. My dad never spoke down to or over anyone, easily and naturally relating to everyone as they are. Dad never was afraid of those that were different from him. He embraced and accepted everyone, never building walls between himself and anyone else.”

Gilbert Tremblay’s funeral was Tuesday morning, with a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Leo’s Church in Leominster. He was buried with military honors on Wednesday in the Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon.

Donations in Tremblay’s memory may be made to the Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster, MA 01453, Sholan Farms, 1125 Pleasant St., Leominster, MA 01453, or Our Father’s House, 76 Mechanic St., Fitchburg, MA 01420.

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