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Driving Force Behind Dracut School Bus Company Was ‘One of a Kind’

Mar 12, 2019 11:52PM ● By Lisa Redmond

Harvey Gagnon, 89

Harvey Gagnon, 89

 DRACUT – For more than 30 years, school buses emblazoned with the name A.J. Gagnon & Sons Inc. emblazed on the sides could be seen driving throughout town transporting Dracut students to school, sports and field trips.

During those three decades, Harvey J. Gagnon was the president and general manager of this well-known bus company. But he was more than that, School Committee Chairman Joseph Wilkie said upon hearing of Gagnon’s death, “He was one of a kind.’’

“I found him to be a very caring, kind and friendly person,’’ Wilkie said during Monday’s School Committee meeting.

Gagnon passed away peacefully on March 1, 2019, With his loving family by his side. He was 87, according to his obituary. He was a Dracut High School graduate Class of ’49.

According to his obituary, Gagnon was longtime communicant at St. Michael's Church, Lowell, serving as lector and Eucharistic minister. His strong sense of duty and civic obligation carried over into all aspects of his life.

Never one to just kick back and relax, Gagnon serve his hometown as an active member of various town committees, foundations, and civic organizations, including the Dracut Alumni Association, Dracut Grange, Dracut Historic Commission, Dracut Historical Society, Community Preservation Committee and the Rotary Club which he joined in 1971.

He was a member of the Dracut Scholarship Foundation Board from 1964 - 2004 before retiring as director emeritus. He proudly served on the Permanent Building Committee as chairman overseeing many ambitious projects, including the Library addition, the newly constructed Town Hall, Police Station, Junior High School and Senior High School renovations.

In 2017, he was the recipient of the Varnum Award for his exemplary volunteerism and civic engagement.

Although he stepped down from most committee obligations in recent years, the Dracut Historical Society continued to be a labor of love. Gagnon was a dedicated member, filling various roles and was always an energetic participant in all activities.

One of his proudest achievements was spearheading the Harmony Hall move from Collinsville to its current location adjoining the Historical Society building in 1994. Harmony Hall was fully renovated and modernized and currently hosts a full schedule of community functions. Gagnon continued to be an active member of the organization, and this past year was proud to hand over his duties to the new president, grandson Patrick Cox.

He leaves seven devoted children and their spouses: Harvey "Joe" Gagnon, Jr. and Karen of Dracut, Michele Gagnon and Jim Coates of Lyndeborough, NH, Kimberly and Mike Kelley,

Leslie and Bob Cox, Kellie and Ted Matte, Melanie and John Hire, Natalie and Paul Brown all of Dracut. He also leaves an 'adopted daughter' Tatiana Daza and her son Zach Zeledon.

Pépère, or "Pep" as some called him, will be greatly missed by his 19 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. His grandchildren are, Melissa Alexa and husband Jay, Michael Gagnon and wife Linda, Kerrie Gagnon, Jeremy Auger and LeaAnn Hubert, Jonathon Costos and wife Amber, Joseph Cox and wife Catie, Kaitlyn Moriarty and husband Sean, Robert Cox and Kayle Aubrey, Patrick Cox, T.J. Matte III and wife Katie, Grace Matte and Tim Kosik, Timothy Hire and Dani Sweet, Lindsey Hire and fiancé Josh Bergeron, Jeffrey Hire, Paul Brown, Logan Brown and Erica Paquette, Troy Brown, Elizabeth Brown, and Reed Brown. His great-grandchildren are Coby, Jaycob and Kali Alexa; Ryleigh, Paige, Cole, and Drew Gagnon; Bellajean Costos; Ethan, Felicity and Everett Cox; Theodore Matte; Ryan Brown; and Maverick Brown; brothers and sisters, Jean Kendall, Doris Crider, Albert J. Gagnon, Jr., Robert Gagnon all of Dracut, Donald Gagnon of Florida, Gerald Gagnon of Conway, NH, Diane Gormley of Glendale, AZ and Denis Gagnon of So. Carolina. He was the brother of the late Shirley Lagasse who died in 2009.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dracut Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 117, Dracut, MA 10826 or Dracut Historical Society, 1660 Lakeview Ave. Dracut, MA 01826.

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