J. Rene Thibault, known by the nickname “Frenchie,” was born in the Manchaug section of Sutton on April 14, 1927, the son of Armand and Solange (Boucher) Thibault. He lived in Uxbridge most of his life. After graduating High School he took several classes at R. I. School of Design, MIT, Worcester Junior College, and the Worcester Art Museum. A talented illustrator, he worked for the former Whitin Machine Works and later for Digital Equipment until he retired in 1990. Rene was a very artistic and creative man. He enjoyed photography, woodworking, painting, and computers; common pursuits we both enjoyed. He was a proud U. S. Marine veteran, belonging to the Blackstone Valley Detachment 911 and the Charles A. Rice American Legion Post 33 of Uxbridge, MA. He was a communicate of St. Marys Church and photographed many of their events. My initial contact with Rene goes back to the 1990’s when he found our Aleutian website’s meager beginnings online. As a partial cure for this anemic content as regards Attu, Rene, having spent the last years of WWII on Attu, Aleutian Islands, AK while serving with the Marines, sent two of his personal photo albums via USPS mail to me whereby I was able to scan select photos for inclusion on our new Attu website. Not many folks would take such a risk, but Rene showed trust in our ability to follow through, which we did. Rene’s photos are largely scattered throughout our Attu website, with several of them repeated here for our visitors. We maintained our friendship through the years while Rene continued to be a source of information regarding Attu and his time spent there. Countless hours were also spent sharing information regarding photography, computers, and our websites.Rene Thibault passed away on 12 January, 2011 as a result of follow-on surgery after having suffered a heart attack in September of 2010. As a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps his services included a Marine Honor Guard with his ribbons being proudly displayed during his services. He was interred on the 17th of January, 2011 at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Uxbridge, MA, with Taps being played at this service. Rene was survived by his wife of 60 years and 7 months, Anna A. (Allega) Thibault, his son Marc J. Thibault of North Uxbridge, and his sister Lorraine G. Lussier of Sutton along with several nephews and nieces.So long as the notice is posted, you can find his online obituary posted here:http://www.telegram.com/article/20110114/OBIT/101140404Good Bye Rene, rest in peace...You are missed by those soon to follow.George L. Smith, HLSWILLIWAW.COM
1. Attu Aleut Village, Chichagof Harbor Pre-1942 Japanese Invasion Photo.
2. Attu's South Barracks, 1946. Rene Thibault's bunk was under the middle window on the second floor.
3. Attu’s Marine Area, 1946. Click HEREfor an enlarged view.
4. This is the Marine Area on Attu in 1946. I've added labels to identify some of the more well-known places there. To compare the area as seen in 1946 to 1995, click HERE.
5. Attu’s Marine Area, 1995. Click HEREfor an enlarged view.
6. The 28th of May, 1946, 2nd Squad's Squad Room, Top Side, South Barracks. From left to right: Rick Shwery, Ed Robnett, Bob Stone, Charles Pizzotti, J.R."Frenchy" Thibault, Kober Seippel. Standing behind stove: Bill Thornberg. In bunk on the right: "Buzz" Sawyer. There's a doorway behind the stove pipe, behind the rifles, that goes into another similar squad room.
7. The Marine Brig, Attu, 1946. Interior view. Chances are if you were in the Navy (or Marines) and had a little too much kickapoo joy juice to drink, you would end up here!
8. J. Rene "Frenchy" Thibault standing by the door of the Guard Shack, Attu, 1946.
9. Attu, May-June 1995. Close-in view of Marine Guard Shack, rear view, wall removed. Looks like a water heater. Photo by J. Flynn, provided by Rene.
10. So, what's going on here? Seems like it's Rene Thibault, on Attu...but what has happened to the building? Ah, a little tomfoolery by HLS's graphics artist, Nadine Smith. The building photo was shot in 1995, while Rene's photo was from 1946! See photo #8 above for a view of the building (and Rene) in 1946.
11. Attu, February 1946. Left to right: Thornberg, Velasco, and Jones. Jones passed away in November of 1998.
12. Taken on Attu around July of 1946. Kober Seippel on the left, Rene (me) on the right. For a short story of a long friendship, click here.
13. Kober Seippel is shown on the left, and that's me, Rene (Frenchy) Thibault on the right. Taken on Camp Pendleton in August of 1996.
14. Three folks who shared the "Attu" experience get together for the first time since 1946. Rene "Frenchy" Thibault on the left, Edwin Robnett in the middle, and Charles Pizzotti on the right.