LAURENS – William L. “Lennie” Bourgeois, 82, raised in Laurens before embarking on a 20-plus year career as a Navy flight engineer, died at Fort Walton Beach, Fla., on Jan. 12, 2019. Since 1981, he had lived in Valparaiso, Fla.
He was born in Goodyear, Conn., on May 26, 1936, to Oliver J. and Julienne (Girard) Bourgeois. Lennie spent his youth in Upstate New York and graduated from Laurens Central School in 1955.
Just days after graduation, he joined the Navy and spent the next 20+ years serving his country. He often said his favorite tour of duty was with VX6/VXE6 in Antarctica, where he spent six seasons flying the C-130 aircraft as flight engineer, including “his” C-130, #319.
After retiring from the Navy in 1975, Len worked for Lockheed Corp. in Saudi Arabia for five years, again flying the C-130 aircraft as flight engineer.
In October 1979, he married his former high school “steady”, Helen Mather, and in 1981 he returned from Saudi to make his home in Valparaiso.
Always an innovator, Lennie had a knack and a love for carpentry and renovations, resulting in the creation of Triple “R” Specialties, lnc. in 1984, He operated this business for the next 16 years, and with his crew performed jobs for many local residents.
After retirement, he continued his love of carpentry in his home workshop, of which he was very proud. Len and Helen also spent happy times traveling in their little RV to every state in the union (except Hawaii`), and to many Canadian provinces. He took great pride in keeping “Puckered Pete” in tiptop shape and they enjoyed him immensely.
Lennie is survived by his wife, Helen; his daughter and son-in-law, Naomi and Gerard Jolly, Benbrook, Texas; his son and daughter-in-law, Matthew and Sandy Bourgeois, Elizabeth, Colo.; his daughter-in-law, Cheri Kyle, Elbert, Colo.; his step-son and daughter-in-law, Keith and Ann Matteson, Virginia Beach, Va.; and his stepdaughter, Karol Matteson, Crestview, Fla.
He is also survived by six grandchildren Jonathan Bourgeois, Benjamin Bourgeois, Isabelle Bourgeois, Kristen Williams, Robert Bourgeois, and Ana Martin, plus several step-grandchildren.
Also aurviving Lennie are his three siblings, Gerard Bourgeois (Doris), Morris; Dennis Bourgeois (Elaine), Virginia Beach, Va.; and Irene Bourgeois, Oneonta, plus numerous nieces and nephews.
Lennie was predeceased by his parents and his son, Daniel.
According to his wishes, Lennie will be cremated and there will be no funeral or memorial service. Burial will take place at a later date in the Mount Vision Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the military organization of your choice.