LEOMINSTER: Norman “Cookie” Melanson, 96 passed away on February 3, 2023. Norman was born in Leominster on February 26, 1926, the second son of ten children to father, Clarence who worked at the yarn mill in Fitchburg and his mother Odile (Stebbins) Melanson. He was the husband of the late Catherine “Tina” (Garvey) Melanson who passed away in 2019.
He is survived by his grandsons Dean Melanson, Colin Melanson, and Colin’s wife Emily, granddaughter Kathryn Melanson, great-grandchildren Zachary Gagne, Zoey, Kyle, Jacob and Harlie Melanson, as well as his last remaining sibling, brother Paul and Paul’s wife Suzanne, sister-in-law Judy Melanson, sister-in-law Barbara Garvey, sister-in-law Margaret (Garvey) DeBonville and her husband Arthur, and a brother-in-law Buzzy Mahan. Cookie also leaves behind a cadre of in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, military service members and veterans, friends, neighbors and admirers who all counted themselves lucky to have been part of Cookie’s community.
Cookie was pre-deceased by the love of his life, Tina, his two sons Gregory and John, his parents, brother Bob and his wife Pauline, triplet brothers who died months after birth (Francis, Charles, and Raymond), brother Roger, sister Doris Mangiacotti and her husband Albert (“Mungie”), sister Jeannette St. Yves and her husband Arthur, and sister Beverly Lange and her husband Gerry. He was also predeceased by his grandson Kyle Melanson.
Cookie grew up on French Hill during the depression, attended Saint Cecilia’s and Leominster public schools, and left in the 9th grade to help support his family. Soon after the passing of the family’s triplet brothers, Cookie and his brother Bob entered the service. Cookie was the only one deployed, serving in the Navy during World War II on the amphibious LST 570 as a Petty Officer 2nd Class with duties as a cook and ship’s gunner’s mate; first loader on a 40mm gun. Cookie’s LST land tank loading ship carried hundreds of Sherman tanks, and thousands of Marines and supplies for battles in the South Pacific.
He was honorably discharged from the Navy following the war and returned home to Leominster. He initially worked at Goodhue’s Restaurant before starting a 14-year career as a long-haul trailer driver for Atlas Distributors. During that time, he returned to earn his GED, owned and operated Deer Park Realty with his wife Tina, built their forever home in Leominster, and adopted two boys through Catholic Charities. When their oldest son Gregory took ill at the young age of 11, Cookie changed careers and began working for his brother-in-law, Bernie Magane conducting residential and commercial revaluations in cities and towns all over New England. With this experience in hand, Cookie was soon appointed Assistant Assessor for the City of Nashua, New Hampshire. Soon after, he became Assessor for the City of Leominster, a role he cherished and honored until his retirement 23 years later at the age of 80.
Cookie was a proud member of many posts including Past Commander of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #24, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars #1807, American Legion #151, a Charter and Life Member of the Franco-American Veterans, a member of the Veterans Council, the Veterans International Choir, the LST Association, Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sherriff’s Association, Past Exalted Ruler of the Leominster Elks #1237 and Past President of the former Cable Club of Fitchburg. Cookie also loved gardening and was known for his annual crops of tomatoes and cucumbers. He and Tina also enjoyed golf and were longtime members of Monoosnock Country Club as well as charter members of Sholan Farms.
Calling hours will be from 5:00pm – 7:00pm on Thursday, March 9, 2023, at Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Road, Fitchburg. A Mass will be held at Our Lady of the Lake Church, 1400 Main Street, Leominster at 11:00 am on Friday, March 10, 2023 and the funeral to follow from the funeral home. A burial service will follow at 1:00 pm at the MA Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon, followed by collation at the Leominster Veterans Memorial Center, 100 West St, Leominster.
Donations are preferred in lieu of flowers to one of Cookie’s great passions and fervent circle of cherished friends: International Veterans Choir, 100 West Street, Leominster, MA 01453. All donations will receive a letter of thanks and a tax receipt of donation.