Portsmouth's Oldest Resident, Nearly Oldest in State, Dies at 108
Zenon "Babe" St. Laurent, the oldest man in town and nearly oldest resident in Rhode Island, died Wednesday at age 108.
The oldest man in Portsmouth, who continued dancing well into his 108th year, died Wednesday at the Warren Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after a brief illness.
St. Laurent loved life and once told me he lived so long because he "had the will to live."
Babe continued to enjoy life through playing guitar and billiards, only stopping a little this past year at age 108.
He was known to dance every Tuesday afternoon at a Fall River social club. He still spun around the dance floor at his last birthday party in July 2012.
Born July 19, 1904 in Fall River, MA, he was the son of the late Victorien and Lenore St. Laurent.
St. Laurent first went to work at a cotton mill in Fall River at the age of 14, earning only $11 a week.
He once owned a farm and sold chickens before opening the St. Laurent's Five and Dime, located on Park Avenue, which he operated from 1947 to 1969. The initiative, he once said, to open the Five and Dime came from his late wife, Lillian (Bouchard) St. Laurent.
"Babe," as he was known, resided in the house he built on Riverside Street. He was a volunteer and active member of the Portsmouth Multi Purpose Senior Center.
His passions were dancing, playing pool, cards, and guitar.
Babe continued to play the guitar regularly in 2012 inside the Portsmouth Multi Purpose Senior Center's recreation room, which bears the name the "Zenon 'Babe' St. Laurent Game Room."
He was the father of the late Joseph (Neil) St. Laurent of Portsmouth.
He is survived by his grandchildren, J. Neil St. Laurent of Virginia, Ronald R. St. Laurent of Arkansas, Elaine E. Barker of Florida, Denise A. Medeiros of Little Compton, Janet S. Clark of Maine, Dennis N. St. Laurent of Portsmouth, the late Paul R. St. Laurent of Portsmouth, the late Richard J. St. Laurent of Portsmouth, and 25 great grandchildren and many great-great grandchildren.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday, March 24, from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Road, Portsmouth.
His funeral will be held on Monday, March 25, at 10 a.m. in St. Anthony’s Church, 2836 East Main Road, Portsmouth.