Story of One City's Family
By Barbara C. Bernard - October 3, 1994
2005-09-30
 
Unless you are fortunate enough to know members of the Gaulin family who live in this area you may never have the pleasure of reading "Conversations With Pepere," a wonderful book of memoirs and family photos of the late Donat Gaulin who died in August at the age of 91.
 
Born in and buried in Lambton, Quebec, Donat with his late wife, Yvonne, spent many years in Holyoke where several of his children and grandchildren still live and work.
 
This large family of achievers are a credit to Yvonne and Donat and to the community where their leadership, industry and generosity are outstanding. The book was written in French by Donat, translated by his son, Benoit, edited and typeset by his granddaughter, Joanne Gaulin, printed at Holyoke's Hitchcock Press, which is owned by his son, Guy, and the cover illustrations are by his grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Francis and Diane Gaulin.
 
Never stopped learning
The book chronicles a life of hard work, strong faith, education, which formally ended at age 12, but never stopped the learning process. The book also covers his career which includes jobs in road, bridge and railroad construction, agriculture and timber cutting. For many years he worked at the Fisk Tire Co. in Chicopee while his wife worked at White & Wyckoff Paper Co. When the 1929 Depression closed Fisk, Donat cut lumber in preparation for the flooding of six villages for the construction of Quabbin Reservoir. During these years in Holyoke, Donat Gualin's family became established.
 
Son Guy, who owns Hitchcock Press in Holyoke, resides with his wife, Geraldine, in South Hadley. Son Benoit owns Holyoke's Ben Gaulin's Roofing and Siding Co. and lives with his wife, Simone, in Southampton. Son Luc is a construction contractor and with his wife, Denise, live in Agawam. Son Robert and his wife, Dorothy, live in Holyoke where he is an electrician with Holyoke's American Pad Co., and son Claude and his wife, Lorraine, live in South Hadley. He is the general manger and engineer at the Magnat Machinery Co. in Florence. Daughter Francoise Gaulin Hallee and her husband, Joe, own and manage Holyoke apartments and reside in Chicopee. There is a daughter Gabrielle Gaulin Boulanger who with her husband, Denis, live in Lac St. Francis, Canada. A son Andre and his wife, Anne Marie, live in Goodridge, Alberta, and daughter Jeanne D'Arc Gaulin Bergeron lives with her husband, Richard, in Maryland.
 
The book is not only a history book with interesting comments about such things as Lindbergh's Atlantic flight, but it unknowingly is a compliment to what a man from humble beginnings can achieve with a willingness to work and an ambition to instill these ideals in his children.
 
If any of you readers know any of the Gaulins I urge you to borrow this book. Tenderly written, beautifully translated and emotionally stirring you will find it an inspiration.