ATHOL- Paul Arthur Riendeau, 72, of Athol and Barre passed away Sunday, August 9, at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where he had been a patient since June 18. He was the beloved husband of Maureen (Roche) Riendeau.
Son of Edward O and Catherine (Femino) Riendeau, he leaves behind brothers Stephen Riendeau and Edward Riendeau of Barre, sister-in-law and friend Joan Riendeau, and his brother from another mother, Vic Colo. He leaves two sons Christopher J. Hamel of Albuquerque, NM, and David C. (Jenn) Hamel of Margate FL, and his cherished grandchildren Caleb Hamel and Aubryn Hamel. He also leaves his travel companions and in-laws J. Christopher and Marie Roche, with whom he had a special bond, along with Michael Roche and his wife, Penny, and Tish Wolf and her husband, Jim; along with many nephews and nieces. Paul also leaves a special group of friends, variously known as the MacDonalds Gang, the Breakfast Crew, or just The Crew. They met daily and monthly to enjoy each other’s companionship until Covid put a stop to it. Paul hated to leave his co-workers, Liza Hurlburt Melo, Jeff Reynolds, and Amanda Roberts. They were like family to him.
Paul attended Barre schools and spent three years at St. John’s Academy in Shrewsbury before graduating from Barre High School in 1966. He has been active on the Barre High School Alumni Committee for several years. He attended Worcester State College and worked at various places, including CBX Development Corp, Allen’s Foundry before moving to the west coast for a few years where he also held various jobs. He then worked for Robert Gudheim at the Kontro Company, where he became manager of the Sine Pump Division. After Kontro was sold in 1994. He and Maureen purchased the Doe Valley Deli, which they renamed Village Grille, on South Main Street in Orange, and operated it until 2000. Paul is still remembered for his amazing omelettes , clam chowder, and cheeseburger soup.
After selling the Village Grille in 2000, Paul joined his great friend Oli Paoletti as a realtor at Burbank Realty. After several years he moved to Four Columns Realty, which he eventually purchased. Four Columns Realty became one of the top producing companies in the North Quabbin Region. Paul himself was a member of the Massachusetts Realtors, and for several years received the Top Producer award. and a member and former member of the Board of Directors of the Camp Cheneo Association, For many years he was a member of the Mahar Senators Boosters. Paul was a member of the Orange Gun Club and shot regularly at the Barre Sportsman’s Club. Paul was a longtime member and player at Petersham Country Club, serving as President. He held several club championships. He also assisted at many fundraisers for St. Mary’s Parish in Orange.
Paul was a chef, and enjoyed nothing more than cooking a marvelous dinner for family and friends, or just to spoil his wife Maureen. Bounty from the Riendeau kitchen was often distributed to neighbors and friends. His Italian dinners for Camp Cheneo or for family were legendary, and his sesame bread and various scones were coveted area-wide. He loved hosting large parties for family and friends, and would prep and cook for days to do so. Abbondanza could have been his motto!
Paul and Maureen loved to travel, alone or with brothers-and-sisters in law Ed and Joan Riendeau and Chris and Marie Roche. Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, and Casa del Mar in Aruba were regular destinations, and they had also traveled to Sicily and Italy. They had also been on tour in Ireland with Oli and Doris Paoletti, and while he worked at Kontro, Paul often traveled to Germany, England, and Japan.
Paul was a kind and loving person, generous to a fault. He excelled at being Santa Claus for many years for St. Mary’s Women’s Club, and for many more at family Christmas celebrations. His sense of humor was gigantic, and he had so many personal jokes with diverse persons from all over.
He received wonderful care at UMass Memorial Medical Center, and knew all his doctors and nurses by name and family history. He was truly a people person, and will be greatly missed.
Donations may be sent to the Orange Town Hall Restoration Committee, c/o Town of Orange, 6 Prospect Street, Orange, MA 01364, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, PO BOX 37920, Boone IA 50037-0920, Orange Historical Society, P.O. Box 28, Orange, MA 01364-0028, or the local food banks. Paul always loved to feed people.
A private Memorial Mass will be held at St. Mary’s in Orange, but the family plans to hold a larger memorial celebration in the style of his parties, next year, as soon as conditions will allow.
Witty’s Funeral Home, 158 South Main Street, Orange, is assisting the family.
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