By SHERIDAN CYR
A devoted member of the Southington community, Leonard Marcheselle, is being remembered proudly by family, friends and colleagues after he passed away on Monday, Sept. 18.
Marcheselle served as a Staff Sargent in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, and that experience helped him to relate to his granddaughter, Bethany Lopatosky, when she found herself battling “not very female-friendy” circumstances when she was stationed in Germany with U.S. Army.
“He always fought for me through that period,” she said. “That gene is definitely in my family.”
Marcheselle wasn’t just available to his family. He committed a big part of his life to public service in Southington as a member of the Southington Republican Town Committee. Over the years, Marcheselle served in various positions on the Town Council, Board of Education, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Finance, the Ethic Commission, and the Charter Commission.
“Southington meant everything to him,” said Lopatosky.
Current Board of Education chair Brian Goralski referred to Marcheselle as not only a friend but a mentor.
“In our four years together on the Board, he taught me how to be an elected official and how to represent the people,” said Goralski. “The legacy he left us at the board is to be honest, to do the right thing, and to talk to people. You don’t have to agree with them, but never ignore good communication.”
Goralski said that Marcheselle was a true gentleman and was always someone he could count on for advice when there were complicated issues on the Board.
Marcheselle didn’t just limit his service to public boards. He was also was a member of the Kiwanis Club, the Southington Elks, the American Legion, United Way of Southington, Bread for Life, St. Aloysius Parish Council, The Southington Employment Development Committee and many other organizations.
In 2005, Marcheselle was awarded the UNICO Gold Metal for community service
“Len Marcheselle shared his time so generously with the community,” said Donna Ayer, executive director of Bread for Life. “There are not many organizations in town that he was not a part of.”
In fact, Marcheselle requested that donations be made to Bread for Life in lieu of flowers, and Ayers said that Bread for Life is honored to receive the gesture.
“How fitting that a man who gave so much to this community will have his legacy of giving continue to those in most need,” she said.
Denise Johnson, Past Exaulted Ruler of the Southington Elks Lodge, worked alongside Marcheselle during his 40 year membership with the lodge. Johnson said that Marcheselle was involved in a number of committees within the lodge, one of the being the Veterans Committee.
“He was a big help to me when I wanted to start a dinner to show our appreciation to all vets in our community. Lenny was the person who had all the contacts I needed to get the dinner going,” said Johnson.
Marcheselle’s funeral was held on Friday, Sept. 22 at St. Aloysius Church in Plantsville.