Cover photo for Kenneth P. Desjean's Obituary
Kenneth P. Desjean Profile Photo
1950 Kenneth 2024

Kenneth P. Desjean

July 1, 1950 — February 15, 2024

Fitchburg, MA

Kenneth P. Desjean, 73, of Fitchburg, died on February 15, 2024 after a courageous eight-year battle with cancer.
A lifelong resident of Fitchburg, Ken was born in the city to Richard and Lauraine (Cormier) Desjean on July 1, 1950. He graduated from Fitchburg High School in 1968 and later earned a degree in Fire Science from Mount Wachusett Community College. He followed his father in a career as a Fitchburg Firefighter, retiring in 2015 after 37 years with the Fire Department. Ken served several years as local Union President of the IAFF (Local 3138) and was part owner of New England Chimney Sweep and Boston West Construction.  

Owing to his humility, trustworthiness and legendary stealth wit, Ken’s friendships on the Fitchburg Fire Department spanned generations. At work and at home Ken was a great listener and someone who could always be relied upon.

Ken was devoted to his family, who lovingly surrounded him at his passing in the home he built. He was an exemplar of equanimity and ever a quiet, but forceful influence, on all three of his children. As a devoted older brother to Michael, Ken had an instinctive compassion for, and rapport with, those with special needs.

Ken was something of a human Swiss army knife: he could build virtually anything and knew his way around anything mechanical. His passing not only leaves an empty space in the hearts of his loved ones, but also an urgent need for his family to find their own carpenter, plumber, electrician, IT support, and mechanic. He was a regular fixture at the fried dough booth at the Our Lady of the Lake Church Bazaar.

Ken loved to travel. He especially enjoyed the people of Ireland and visiting Ogunquit, Maine with his wife, Janice. He loved the Beatles, singing in the shower, hiking, biking, bowling, and snowshoeing.

Ken leaves his wife of 51 years, Janice (Vaillancourt,) three children, Jill (Gregory Yurasek,) Adam, and Randy (Carene Boivin.) In addition, he is survived by his grandchildren Matthew, William and Charlotte Yurasek; and Jack and Mila Desjean. He additionally leaves his siblings James, Gary, Carol and Michael; his mother-in-law Doris Vaillancourt, who he considered a second mother; Goddaughters Jodi Davick and Christine Desjean; and many aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws. He was predeceased by his mother, Lauraine (Cormier) and his father Richard.

Ken’s family wishes to thank all those who supported him during his private battle with cancer: the doctors and professionals at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, particularly Dr. Jennifer Ang Chan; Nurse Practitioner Nina Grenon; Clinical Research Nurse Mark Sawin; and his niece Christine, a nurse at DFCI, for over 8 years of world-class care. Gratitude also goes out to the Fitchburg Fire Department and his niece Alison Legendre Lake who provided support. His family thanks Oakdale Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, Beacon Hospice, and Home Instead for their compassionate care during Ken’s final days.

Visiting hours will be held at Brandon Funeral Home (305 Wanoosnoc Rd., Fitchburg, MA) on Tuesday, February 21 from 5 to 8 PM and a funeral service will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Church (1400 Main St., Leominster, MA) on Wednesday, February 21 at 11 AM. His family asks that, if you are so moved, you make a donation to Horace Mann Education Associates, the Fitchburg Firefighers Relief Fund (33 North St., Fitchburg, MA,) or Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry (Devens, MA) in his memory.

Arrangements are under the care of Brandon Funeral Home. 

Kevin J. Mack, Walter C. Taylor, Melissa A. McQuaid, Funeral Directors.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth P. Desjean, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Our Lady of the Lake Church

1400 Main St, Leominster, MA 01453

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