Obituary : Laura F. Garneau
Laura Fontes Garneau, age 88, died peacefully at the Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Fla., on May 5. She was born on Feb. 14, 1920, in Vineyard Haven to Michael Fontes Sr. and Theresa B. Fontes.
When she was five years old, Laura moved back to the Azores with her father, mother, and little sister, returning to the Island with her family when she was 11. She attended the Tisbury Elementary School and High School. After graduation, Laura attended beautician's school in Boston, and then returned to Vineyard Haven where she began work as a beautician.
In 1942, while volunteering at the USO Canteen on Upper Main street in Vineyard Haven, Laura met Harvey W. Garneau Sr., an Army/Air Force officer who was stationed as a radar operator at Peaked Hill. The wartime romance led to marriage on Jan. 30, 1943, at St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Vineyard Haven, officiated by the Rev. Edmund J. Neenan.
After the war, Mr. and Mrs. Garneau lived briefly in Woonsocket, R.I., and Bellingham, where their first child, Elaine, was born in 1948. They then returned to Tisbury in 1950 where Mrs. Garneau opened Laura's Beauty Shop on Beach Road. In 1954 their second child, Harvey Jr., was born. Shortly thereafter, the Garneau family moved to Oak Bluffs.
Mrs. Garneau continued her work as a hairdresser, opening Laura's Beauty Salon in the bright pink enclosed sun porch of their home on Norris Avenue, in which she had installed commercial hair dryers and a shampooing sink. She may be best remembered by the many clients whose hair she cut, dyed, and curled. She took an avid interest in the smallest details of small-town life and the local church, and loved to hear and tell stories. With her husband, she tended their summer vegetable garden, and was proud of her cake-baking skills and her pot roast.
In 1981, the Garneaus decided to retire to Florida. More than 100 friends staged an elaborate surprise farewell party, complete with band, in St. Augustine's parish hall. Having sold their house in Oak Bluffs, Harvey and Laura Garneau drove to West Palm Beach, Fla., where they lived in a mobile home for many happy years. Mr. Garneau died in 2005.
Laura Garneau is survived by her children, Harvey Garneau, Jr. of West Tisbury and Elaine Garneau of Boston; and by her sister Helen Cerrone of Boynton Beach, Fla. She was predeceased by her other siblings, Michael, Theresa, Seraphina, and Mary.
Laura's ashes will be interred next to her husband at Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven. A small graveside service will be held at a later date. Anyone wishing to remember Laura Garneau is asked to make a donation in her name to Hospice by the Sea, 1531 West Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton, FL 33406-3395