Leominster --- Raymonde (Benoit) Sheldon, 99, of Leominster passed away at UMASS Memorial Leominster on February 5th, 2021 after a brief illness.
Raymonde was born on March 8th, 1921 to Beatrice and Emile Benoit in Marieville, Quebec. Raymonde’s family spent time between the United States and Canada during the period of 1924 to 1926, before finally settling permanently in the United States. The second of fourteen(!) children, Ray was the consummate big sister. Raymonde was actively involved in the care of many of her younger siblings, including serving a tutor whenever her siblings struggled with any schoolwork. After graduating from high school, Ray worked in many different jobs during her working years, including at iconic area businesses such a Foster Grant (22 years), Kingman, Cluet and Peabody (now Arrow Shirt), and General Electric. Raymonde met the love of her life Frank Sheldon on a blind date in 1939, and subsequently she married and settled down to raise a family with him in 1941. Frank (pre-deceased) and Ray raised three amazing children that they were exceptionally proud of: Robert, Ronald, and Sally. Raymonde was especially grateful that her children all settled within roughly a mile of her home. Her children’s close proximity to her afforded her the opportunity to visit all her children and grandchildren on a routine basis. Raymonde also made sure to make time to serve as a caretaker to her brother Gerard, after the passing of her mother in 1984.
Raymonde was also known as woman of strong faith and conviction. A long-time member of the Leominster United Methodist Church, she was a regular attendee of the church until late-life health issues made attendance more challenging. Ray actively pursued many hobbies, including knitting, needlepoint, and crocheting. Raymonde was also a talented baker and was well known within her family and church circle for her famous chocolate chip cookies, as well as her pumpkin pecan pie. Gardening was another one of Ray’s life-long passions. Ray was able to coax the most beautiful blossoms out or her African violets and her Christmas cacti (much to the chagrin of her daughter Sally). Raymonde could often be seen working in her garden—most memorably as she stubbornly decided to roto-till her garden all by herself in her late eighties. Raymonde considered herself truly blessed to have spent most her life on the property that she and Frank built a life on over more than 70 years.
Raymonde leaves behind a large and loving family including: pre-deceased siblings; Lucille Benoit, Armande DeVarney, Roger Benoit, Jean-Paul Benoit, Leo Benoit, Henri Benoit, Yvan Benoit, Gaston Benoit; as well as siblings; Gerard Benoit, Alfred Benoit, Hortense Girouard, Loretta Bevins, and Germaine Wilson. Raymonde also leaves behind her children Robert Sheldon and his wife Carol, son Ronald Sheldon (pre-deceased) and his wife Jean, as well as her daughter Sally Belk (pre-deceased) and her husband Philip. Raymonde is also survived by grandchildren: Julie Boyle, Deborah Sheldon, Ronald Sheldon Jr., Jonathan Belk, Kerrie Sheldon, and Matthew Belk, as well as great grandchildren: Christopher Boyle, Kaileen Boyle, Will Boyle, Brian Boyle, Thomas Belk, Sarah Belk, Andrew Belk, Mackenzie Ray, and Bailey Ray.
Due to the pandemic, the viewing and funeral services will be limited to immediate family members. In lieu of flowers, the family would request that you consider donations to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, American Lung Association, or the Leominster United Methodist Building fund.
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