Josephine D. LaBrecque

WESTBROOK — Josephine “Jo” Deroche LaBrecque was born in Yarmouth on Nov. 5, 1919, the daughter of Benjamin and Celine Deroche. Jo grew up in Westbrook, attending St. Hyacinth School and Westbrook High School.

During her childhood, Jo enjoyed a warm relationship with her parents and 13 brothers and sisters, a close Arcadian family. Always having a sense of adventure, Jo, her sister Rita and two friends drove to the 1939 World Fair in New York City in Jo's old car, enduring many flat tires on the trip, and all having to exit through the driver's side window when they reached their journey's end, as the entire car doors were stuck shut.

Jo was a welder at the South Portland Shipyard during WWII, while also playing on the Shipyard softball team, when she wasn't busy writing letters to her fiance and four brothers, all who served in World War II.

Jo married the love of her life on May 25, 1946, Ray LaBrecque. Together they built their first home in Westbrook, which served for many years as a gathering place for friends and family. In 1972, Jo and Ray embarked on their second new home, moving to Windham after they built the home where they would reside until Ray’s death in 2001.

In 1950, Jo and Ray bought land at Deep Cove Shores on Sebago Lake, where they built a camp with the help of many friends and family. Their daughter, Jeanie, still reside at the camp on Sebago.

An avid sportswoman, Jo loved skiing and golf. She was one of the early pioneers of skiing at Pleasant Mountain, and she and a group of friends spent a week each winter in the 1950s skiing at Mt. Mansfield and staying with the Von Trapp family at their newly built lodge in Stowe. Jo introduced her daughter and many nieces and nephews to skiing while they were growing up. Friends and family have wonderful memories of time spent skiing with Jo.

Golf was Jo’s passion in the world of sports. In the 1960s, Jo started playing competitive golf, and was both a Club Champion and President’s Cup winner at Gorham Country Club, where she and Ray were members for many years. Jo truly enjoyed the Tuesday contests of the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association, played all over the state, and always aimed to be in the A flight of the state championship golf tournament.

Girl scouting was another strong interest of Jo’s. She, along with Ginny Honan, and other Westbrook women, ran a Girl Scout Troop at St. Mary’s in Westbrook, and was very active in providing camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities for young women through scouting. One of Jo’s greatest pleasures in later years was seeing the growth of opportunities for young women in sports at the high school and college levels.

Jo is survived by her daughter, Jeanie of Raymond; many nieces and nephews.

Jo was predeceased by her husband Ray in 2001; her grandson; sisters, Vickie Guitard, Annie Downs, Mary Daley, Madeline Allen, Rita Guillemette, Alice DeRoche, and Theresa Hebert; and brothers, Frank, Wilfred, Joseph, Laurence and Melvin DeRoche.

Visiting hours will be held on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Blais & Hay Funeral Home, 35 Church Street, Westbrook. A memorial Mass will be celebrated on Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Parish. Interment will follow at St. Hyacinth Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent in Jo’s memory to: The Faith and Flossie Scholarship Fund (for young women field hockey and lacrosse players at the Bonny Eagle High School), care of Bob Bourget, 611 Cape Road, Standish, ME 04084 or to the Westbrook Rescue, 570 Main Street, Westbrook, ME 04092.

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