Dr. Rene Charles Lachapelle – Shelburne

Emeritus Professor, Rene C. Lachapelle, Ph.D. passed peacefully from this world at age 82 in the arms of his family on June 30, 2012, after a long and fruitful life. He was born on Jan. 28, 1930, in Joliette, Quebec, to Romuald Lachapelle and Maria Desilets, where he was raised in a loving home with his sister and five brothers. He had a long and distinguished career as an educator, researcher, and administrator in the clinical laboratory sciences. Following study of medical technology at the Universite de Montreal, he immigrated to Allentown, Pa., and served as head of the Bacteriology Department for the Allentown Hospital Association. He then pursued graduate work at Syracuse University and met the love of his life, Margaret (Peg) Laba. They were wed July 4, 1959, in Syracuse, N.Y. Earning a MS in bacteriology and PhD in microbiology, he put his skills to work as technical and administrative supervisor of clinical laboratories at Syracuse Memorial Hospital. In 1974, he moved his family to Vermont to serve as Director and Chairperson of the Department of Medical Technology at the University of Vermont. His research efforts applied his expertise in microbiology and bacteriology to a number of clinical problems. He taught courses in immunology, microbiology, and medical technology and also served for two years as Dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences. He held memberships and played leadership roles in many professional societies including the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Society for Medical Technology, American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi. He held professional certifications as a Medical Technologist and as a Clinical Research Scientist. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1995 to work in Tunisia where he taught, conducted research, and helped to develop a robust medical technology curriculum and clinical laboratory at the Medical College in Tunis. He spent a half-year sabbatical in Paris at the Pasteur Institute as a visiting professor. Upon achieving emeritus status in 1996, Rene along with his wife, Peg, turned retirement into a full-time vocation. Fluent in French and English, he served as a bilingual tour guide at Shelburne Farms. Rene remained dedicated and devoted for many years to what he considered his “second family,” the parish of St. Catherine of Siena in Shelburne where he served as a Eucharistic Minister, a reader, and trained many new altar servers. He will also be greatly missed by many residents of Wake Robin retirement community where he would administer Holy Communion to those unable to attend church. Among his survivors are his wife of 53 years, Peg of Shelburne; and their three sons and their families. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Shelburne, on Saturday, July 14, 2012, at noon, with a gathering immediately following in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, please give blood if you can or just do something nice for a person in need. If you want to give a donation in his memory, The Rene C. Lachapelle Award has, since 2002, been given annually to an outstanding junior in Medical Laboratory Science for excellence in scholarship, involvement in extracurricular activities and commitment to cultural diversity. Make checks payable to The Rene C. Lachapelle Scholarship Fund, and mail to UVM Foundation, 411 Main St., Burlington, VT 05401.

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