OBITUARY

Col. G. Jay Lafleur

12 June, 193322 December, 2020
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Retired Colonel George Jay Lafleur, 87, of Pflugerville, passed away on December 22, 2020 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Jay was born on June 12, 1933 in Berlin, NH. His parents were Marion Oleson and George Edward Lafleur. Jay was the grandson of Catholic French Canadian and Lutheran Norwegian immigrants. This mixed marriage, not without consequences, taught Jay to respect diversity.

In 1943 Jay’s brother Jon was born on June 11, just two hours before Jay’s 10th birthday. Marian and George were kind parents whose home was a sanctuary of peace and respect. The boys grew up among fabled autumn foliage and the majestic Mount Washington. They picked wild blueberries and, watchful for brown bear, wild raspberries which their mother baked in her famous pies. Jay and his father fished for pickerel, catfish and trout, always ignoring the limit. Jay would eat rabbit, partridge and venison but refused to hunt.

Jay graduated from Berlin HS in 1951, acting in the senior play and managing the cross country ski team, coached by his cousin Edward Oleson. Inspired by his chemistry teacher, Mr. Owen, Jay attended Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston at a time when the mostly male students wore ties and white lab coats.

Destined to become a military officer of some distinction, Jay was not afraid of manual labor. One summer job was unusual. The Brown paper company floated softwood logs down the Androscoggin River and Jay’s crew, using long barbed poles, poked the stragglers back into the mainstream.

Upon graduation from MCP in 1955, Jay became a soldier in the Army. In Texas in the 50’s it was not easy to find a venue for the Christmas party of his racially integrated unit. There were many refusals. Finally one cautious owner agreed but stipulated that minorities had to enter by the back door. No problem. Jay’s invitations read “Everyone please use the back door”.

In 1960 he was sent to Korea and worked in a MASH unit, the very one on which the famous book was based. The officer who fell asleep at his desk was Jay’s boss.

Phyllis (“Fe”) Mehuron from Rutland, VT was a nurse and when Jay met her it was love at first sight. They decided to marry in Korea. They had to go into Seoul to fill out many confusing forms. Jay and Fe assumed they were getting a marriage license. No. By signing a lot of paperwork, they had actually become married. An unexpected consequence!! Being devout Catholics, a proper nuptial Mass soon followed.

When their tour of duty was over they sailed home. When the ship passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, they wept.

Under orders from the Pentagon, Jay established a pharmacy tech course at BAMC. He held high standards, poking the stragglers back into the mainstream when he could and transferring them when necessary. When Jay documented the incompetence of a pharmacist and gave him notice, the fellow pleaded to the General, not realizing that he and Jay were friends. The General asked if Jay might give him a second chance.” “Yes”, Jay countered, “if you assign him as your personal pharmacist.” The General laughed: “okay, you win.”

Jay earned a master’s degree from UM in Ann Arbor, interned in Denver and returned to San Antonio. Then it was on to Fort Gordon, GA. When Ike and Mamie were in town, Jay filled their prescriptions.

Between 1976 and 1981, Jay was Chief Pharmacist for Europe and the Middle-East based in Heidelberg. It was the family’s first trip to Europe and they made the best of it. Jay soon learned that to order just one beer, he had to raise only his thumb! They went on Volksmarches with the locals and put the medals on a walking stick. Favorite places were Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany and Wengen, Switzerland and the majestic cathedrals of Ulm and Cologne.

In 2006 Jay returned to Heidelberg and a young officer told Jon that “in pharmacy circles, Jay is a legend”. The Pentagon agreed and that summer gave the first “Jay Lafleur Pharmacy Award” to the Colonel himself. After retiring from the military Jay worked in hospitals in San Marcos and Sequin. In San Marcos the CEO realized that Jay was a treasure and he sought his advice. In Sequin he met Al Gill who remained a true friend.

Jay bought a spacious home in Cibolo and had a lot of company including an aunt and cousins from NH, RI and OK. Jon brought three CT friends, one of whom always arrived on Amtrak. Everyone enjoyed Jay’s hospitality. He cooked delicious meals, bravely using the pressure cooker for beef pot roast. They played Mexican Trains into the night.

Jay never saw combat, but in 2012 he was ambushed by Parkinson’s and his life changed. Forced to abandon the house he so loved, he resided for a while at Gruene Senior Living, New Braunfels, where everyone loved him. When his condition advanced, he was cared for by his selfless, steadfast friend Joel Esquivel, assisted by Tina, Ule, Joel T, Jesse and Cameron.

Parkinson’s may have ravaged his body but Jay never surrendered his soul. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 12 noon, Wednesday, January 13, 2020 at Sunset Funeral Home Chapel. The officiant is Jay’s good friend Deacon Terry Guilbert, a retired pharmacist Lt. Colonel whom Jay met in Landstuhl, Germany in 1979. Visiting hours at Sunset Funeral Home Chapel, 1701 Austin Highway, San Antonio, TX 78218 are 11 am – 12 noon, Wednesday, January 13, 2020. Interment will follow at the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery with Full Military Honors at 1:30 pm.

Jay leaves his son Mark, daughter Lisa, brother Jon, grandchildren Jennifer, Mathew and Jessica and great-grandchildren Callie, Jacob and Thorin, many relatives and friends, especially Joel Esquivel. Jay was predeceased by his wife Phyllis, all of his 20 aunts and uncles, and lifelong friends Joan Antonsen Wilson and Bob Hanson.

Donations in Jay’s memory may be made to Wounded Warriors.

“Dear Jay, you have walked through the valley of the shadow. May the angels lead you into Paradise and with the saints may you have eternal rest.”

  • FAMILY

  • Jay leaves his son Mark, daughter Lisa, brother Jon, grandchildren Jennifer, Mathew and Jessica and great-grandchildren Callie, Jacob and Thorin, many relatives and friends, especially Joel Esquivel.

Services

  • Visitation

    Wednesday, 13 January , 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, 13 January , 2021

  • Committal Service

    Wednesday, 13 January , 2021

Memories

Col. G. Jay Lafleur

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Jerry Hananne

13 January 2021

Jay was my cousin We had many great family times , reunions and conversations. We are so proud of all his accomplishment. A true gentlemen! He was a great guy and will be missed.
Cousin Rich and Jerry

Jennifer Beal(Koster)

10 January 2021

My sister Kelly and I grew up going on 2 week vacations with Jay, Phyllis, Mark and Lisa every year. By the time we graduated from High School we had been to over half the states and 7 countries. Our best vacation was when we went over to Heidelberg for a month long vacation in 1978. To us Jay was our dads best friend and our god father. We loved him dearly.

He always had songs and stories to tell us every night before we went to bed! He also made up a song to sing to my sister and help her learn her multiplication tables by the end of one vacation!

Jay always made sure that we learned a lot about the history associated with our travel destinations as well. That helped me to enjoy and continue my travels when my husband Glenn was in the Air Force and stationed at Spangdahlem AB in Germany for a couple of years. We continued to love the Volksmarches as well!

Speaking of the Air Force for Glenn. What a special treat it was to be picked up from technical training school by Jay for weekends in 1981 and have nice warm meals and family company! Jay went out of his way to keep tabs on Glenn and make sure he was doing well and enjoying the Air Force.

When our dad was killed in 1985 we were blessed by Jay and Phyllis coming to stay with all of us for a while. There really aren't words to describe how much that meant to my Mom and us.

My Mom passed away in 2018 but had been in touch through Joel in the end. I am so glad she was able to have a wonderful trip to see Jay after Phyllis passed away with our step-dad. She talked about his wonderful meals and conversations!

We were so very blessed to have Jay and Phyllis as well be such an integral part of our childhood! We have thousands of slides ( and no I am not exaggerating) my dad took from all of our travels and we will cherish all of those memories for the rest of our lives!

Jon Lafleur

3 January 2021

More Jay stories: When in HS Jay and Bob Hanson had a food concession at the first Nansen Ski Club Winter Carnival after the war, when the elite Norwegian skiers could travel again. The two teenagers made more money than the ski club. The skiers were national heroes who were honored by the King for wartime bravery.

While at Mass College of Pharmacy, Jay and Bob live down the block from Symphony Hall in Boston. When Jay wanted to talk to our parents he send Mom a message telepathically and the phone would ring. He worked summers at Plunkett's Pharmacy back home. During one terrible storm, lightening struck to the north. Jay told Mr. Plunkett that Mom would be calling. She was okay but the house had been hit, fire trucks were coming and she wanted him home. Again, the phone rang.

Lisa Lafleur

31 December 2020

My father was my greatest, best friend and my most loyal supporter throughout my whole life. He was the most honest, faithful person, and my hero! I loved him with all of my self. The memories that I have of him are some of the most wonderful parts of my life. He was the greatest role model anyone could ask for and if I can become even half the human he was I will have had a successful lifetime. I. Am grateful for his loving life that he gave to me. He will be missed by me forever. The best parts of me were given to me by him. I know that his suffering is over and he is finally at peace. I love you daddy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will miss you always.

Allen Whisenant

30 December 2020

Our world is diminished with the loss of COL G. Jay Lafleur. Jay was a person of high character, morals, and standards. He was my mentor, leader, and personal friend. I would never have been successful at achieving a military career without the guidance of Colonel G. Jay Lafleur. Although not on any official ‘buddy plan’ we spent the first 14 years of my career, either my working directly for him, both working in close proximity at times on the same post, or ironically, Jay working for me. Indeed, our association included the full range of professional and personal interactions. I met Jay at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas in 1972. During that year we both moved to Ft. Gordon, Georgia. I worked for Jay, a newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel, for four years, four ‘tough’ years. Coincidentally, and I’ll spare you the details, but in 1976 Jay and I were assigned to Germany, he to Heidelberg and I to Wuerzburg. Although assigned in different areas we had a close association as Jay was the Pharmacy Consultant to the European Medical Command. During the years between 1976 and 1980. I had the pleasure of attending Jay’s promotion to Colonel. For those who might not know, for a pharmacy officer, promotion to Colonel is a big deal. I was still a Captain....proud to be in attendance. I returned to Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas during late 1979. Jay returned to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas during 1981. Jay became Chief, Pharmacy of Brooke Army Medical Center and I was across the street assigned to the Academy of Health Sciences. Subsequently, after a brief assignment to Honduras, I became Jay’s pharmacy resident from 1994 to 1995. Jay’s Assistant, Pharmacy was Terry Gilbert. My first day is quite the story. More to come....

Tom Arkinson

29 December 2020

It was a special and a distinct honor to have served with Jay 1961-1963 when MFSS opened the newly established Pharmacy Tech school. For those of us who knew him well, his memory will forever be a blessing. I shall always include him in my daily prayers.
Tom Arkinson, Clear Lake City, TX

Roger Potyk

28 December 2020

During the time I worked for COL Lafleur I quickly realized he was a man of kindness, integrity and professional competence. Jay always had the time to be a mentor and encouraged his officers to lead by example and solve problems thru innovation. It was a privilege to have known Jay.

Earl Mckinstry

28 December 2020

Jay was a good friend and my mentor while I was stationed at Landstuhl in Germany , always gave me sage advice and was very supportive as I was trying to implement plastic I.V. Fluid bags in Europe instead of glass bottles, we had some fun times with that! Blessings on the family. Take care Earl McKinstry

Gail Murphy

28 December 2020

Memories of Jay are sweet. I spent time with him when he was in his teens. He was kind and inquisitive. My Mom, Jay's cousin, visited him at his home in either the 80's or 90's. She so enjoyed his company, cooking and the many excursions around Texas. She talked about the trip for many years later. Jay will be missed by so many. His memory will live on. We were blessed to have him in our lives.

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