Rene L. Bureau, age 73, Vietnam Veteran and longtime resident of Lowell, passed away on Thursday, February 17, 2022 surrounded by his loving family. He was the beloved husband of the late Yolande C. (Bedard) Bureau, who passed away in 2017.
He was born in Lowell on March 3, 1948 and was the son of the late Roger and Pearl (LaFlamme) Bureau. He was raised in Lowell and Tyngsboro.
Rene graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Lowell in 1965 and enlisted in the US Navy. He attended Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Naval Hospital Corps School in California, Navy Hospital in Virginia and Field Medical Service School in California. He was stationed on the USS Enterprise and the USS Sanctuary, where he served as Hospital Corpsman with A Co. 1st Battalion 5th Marine Division in Vietnam.
He was a decorated veteran, earning such honors as the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, multiple Navy Unit Citations (USS Enterprise and 1st Marines) and many Vietnam service medals and stars. He returned from service in 1971. In his later years, Rene volunteered with several veterans’ organizations, including Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 147, Greater Lowell Veterans Council, and as the Commandant of the Marine Corps League Leo T Fortier Detachment 130 in Lowell, Maryland.
Rene met the love of his life, Yolande in high school. When he returned from Vietnam, they tied the knot on September 4, 1971. They shared 46 years of marriage, three daughters, three sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren. Rene always referred to Yolande as his “beautiful bride” and loved nothing more than his wife.
After Vietnam, Rene became involved in the family roofing business, Bureau Brothers Roofing. He then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from University of Lowell at night. His career included Bradco Supply for over 20 years, Admiral Building Products, Marjam and most recently, ABC Supply until his retirement in 2018.
Rene was an avid fisherman and always enjoyed taking his boat out on the river or lake. He loved oldies music and DJ’d events for many years. He participated in the City of Lowell Christmas parade as their “Special Guest”. Rene was extremely skillful with his hands and could fix anything. He was a history buff and frequently watched the history channel or old war movies. There wasn’t a crossword puzzle he couldn’t complete. Rene loved spending time with his family and friends and could often be found at the Cameo Diner, the Athenian Corner Restaurant or at one of his daughter’s houses helping with little projects.
Rene is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law; Lynne and Bill Irvin, Paula and Eric Durand and Amy and Ryan Balakin. His grandchildren; Erica, Kristin, Jack, Mason, Rachael, Nicholas and Dylan, his brother David Bureau, his sister Karen (Bureau) Farinha, his brothers-in-law; Guy Bedard and Jean Bedard, his sisters-in law; Lillian (Roy) Bedard, Sandra (Bjorkman) Bedard, Elaine (Martin) Bureau and Karen Bourque, and his many nieces, nephews, cousins and lifelong friends by whom he will be greatly missed. He is also predeceased by his two brothers; Francis Bureau (2015) and Real Bureau (2015), as well as his sister-in-law Paulette Bedard (2015).
His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 2nd at 10:30 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Parish, 115 Middlesex St., N. Chelmsford. Interment will follow in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Chelmsford. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the DAV - Disabled American Veterans, PO Box 14301 Cincinnati, Ohio 45250-0301 or to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital PO Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, Tenessee 38148.