Southborough – Well-known and beloved Southborough resident Esther E. Lesieur passed away Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, surrounded by her loving family, at the age of 76. She had battled cancer for over 35 years.
Born in Sudbury and raised in Marlborough, she was the daughter of the late Fred and Edna (Dufault) Ercolani and was married for almost 56 years to Joseph C. Lesieur. They lived in Southborough for 50 years.
Mrs. Lesieur was a 1953 graduate of Marlborough High School and a 1968 graduate of Kenneth Hair Design Institute. She went on to operate her own business, Countryside Beauty Salon, in Southborough for 25 years. She taught at both Assabet Valley Regional Technical School in Marlborough and Joseph P. Keefe Vocational School in Framingham.
At Keefe, she served on the Curriculum & Policy Advisory Committee and directed the Cosmetology and Manicuring programs. She served as the Educational Director at “Cali for Nails” Schools in both Worcester and Dorchester. She also worked for the MA State Cosmetology Licensing Board, administering the State Board's exams across the Commonwealth. She completed her career at MCI Framingham Women's Prison, where she created and directed the Cosmetology and Manicuring Program, enabling inmates to attend classes and achieve licensing while incarcerated, so they would be employable upon their release.
In addition to her professional life, Mrs. Lesieur shared her love of twirling with young people all over New England. After being the Feature Twirler at Marlborough High School, she established her beloved Southborough Twirlers in the 1960s, teaching them how to twirl, perform parade drills and compete in dance twirl teams. Her students went on to compete not only locally, but in every state in New England with many qualifying to compete at the National Baton Championships held annually at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. There, her students reflected the strong routines Mrs. Lesieur choreographed, finishing in the Top Ten in several team and individual events.
Her success as a teacher resulted in her becoming a well-known baton judge here in New England, as well as on the national level and even in Canada. She originated the Color Guard and Baton Program at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough. Her feature twirlers were known all over Worcester County, as they were the only ones to throw fire during their half-time performances.
Mrs. Lesieur was also noted as an outstanding seamstress best known for designing and making award-winning costumes showcased at competitions, parades, and football games all over the country. She still found time to serve Southborough's civic needs. She served for many years on the Southborough Housing Authority, both as the Governor's appointee and then as a locally elected member. She also worked with the Parks & Recreation Department, providing baton programs and sponsoring competitions at Woodward School.
She is survived by her husband, Joe, and her two sons, rock musician Joseph (Lesieur) Black of Southborough and Kevin J. and his wife Cindy of Colrain. She has four grandchildren; Chrystal (Lesieur) Gipson of Bardstown, Kentucky; Lindsay Lesieur of Danville, Pennsylvania; and James Robert Lesieur and Jamie Lee Herzig, both of Colrain. She also left five great-grandchildren, Joshwa and Seth Gipson, Lily and Mya Lesieur, and Tara Lesieur Shultz, and her siblings, Richarld Ercolani and his wife Barbara, Judith McConnell and husband William, Linda Haynes, Margaret Cahill, Patricia Perry; Shirley Massaglia and her husband Edward, Muriel Ogar and her husband John, Nancy Adams and husband David, Gale Lynch and her husband Thomas, Alsenio Ercolani and wife Kathy (Logan), and Donna Downey. She was predeceased by her sisters, Mary Hughes and Ann Clingan, and her brothers, Fred, Joseph, and Robert Ercolani. Her in-laws are William Lesieur and wife Patricia, James Lesieur, Robert Lesieur and wife Patricia, Marie Letendre and husband Raymond, and Dorothy Horton and husband Jack. She was predeceased by her brothers-in-law Richard and John Lesieur.
A funeral Mass will be held Monday, March 5, at 10 a.m., at St. Matthew's Church, 105 Southville Rd., Southborough. Burial will follow directly after the Mass at Immaculate Conception Cemetery on Beach Street in Marlborough. Calling hours will be held Sunday, March 4, from 2 to 6 p.m., at the Slattery Funeral Home, 40 Pleasant St., Marlborough.
In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Lesieur requested that donations be made directly to the Algonquin Regional High School Color Guard and Twirlers’ Fund established at the school in her memory. Donations may be mailed to A.R.H.S., 79 Bartlett St., Northborough, MA 01532.
For online condolences, visit www.slatteryfuneralhome.com.