Hard work and prayers are secrets to long life for Lavimodiere

Hard work and prayers are secrets to long life for Lavimodiere

Aline Lavimodiere celebrated her 100th birthday last Friday. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

WOONSOCKET – For Aline Lavimodiere, a resident of Oakland Grove Health Care Center who celebrated her 100th birthday last Friday, March 8, the secret to a long life is simple: hard work and a lot of prayers.

The Woonsocket native spent her life putting in long hours at the city’s businesses, first in the textile mills and then in a garment shop where she worked until her retirement at age 60. Lavimodiere grew up on Burnside Avenue and attended St. Ann School, but left three months before her 9th grade graduation to help support her family.

“My father pulled me out because due to the Depression, he couldn’t afford the tuition of 50 cents a month,” she said.

As a garment worker, Lavimodiere took pride in her work and learned to excel at seamstress skills, sometimes working on as many as 144 clothing items in one day. She also sewed garments for family and friends, including her niece, Vivian Desmarais, who recalled how her aunt fixed up a discounted wedding dress to make a beautiful garment for her wedding day.

It wasn’t all hard work in the Woonsocket of the 1930s. Lavimodiere met her husband, Gelasse “Joe” Lavimodiere, when she was ice skating on Social Pond. They married at St. Ann Church in 1941. A medical deferment kept Joe from serving during World War II, and the couple started their life on East School Street, where they rented their first apartment for $6 per week. Later, they built their own home on Joffre Avenue, digging the foundation and laying all the pieces by hand.

“It took us two years to build it, but I didn’t owe one dime,” she said proudly.

Lavimodiere continued living in her Joffre Avenue home until the age of 93, when she moved to Oakland Grove. Her husband, Joe, died in 2003. These days, she enjoys crocheting and praying her regular rosary and remains close with her son, Paul, and her niece, Vivian. On Sunday, she celebrated with a party organized by family with the help of the staff at Oakland Grove.

Asked what advice she would offer to younger generations, Lavimodiere remembered her own hard work and emphasized they need to take life into their own hands.

“They have to make their own life like I did. You have to make something good out of yourself and you’ll be very happy,” she said. “Otherwise, God bless you.”


God bless you!