June C. (née Dabritz) Larouche died at the Maine Veteran’s Home in Bangor, Maine, on February 21, 2017. She enjoyed 92 years of life, the last half at her beloved Hirundo Wildlife Refuge.
June came from Buffalo, NY, where she worked at Sylvania. She moved to Sudbury, Massachusetts, where she worked as a librarian at the GTE/Sylvania facility in Needham, Massachusetts. At Needham, she met Oliver Larouche (d. 1996), and they were married shortly before their retirements from long careers at GTE. They moved to Old Town, Maine, where they developed the Hirundo Wildlife Refuge as a non-profit organization along Pushaw Stream, expanding it to over 2,000 acres. In 1983 they deeded the Hirundo land to the University of Maine, cementing a long-term collaboration.
Oliver and June funded research on fish, birds and mammals, transforming Hirundo into a living laboratory. Naming the refuge Hirundo, the Latin word for swallow, Ollie lined the open fields with scores of tree swallow nest boxes and the Pushaw Stream with wood duck nest boxes. The Parker Reed Shelter provides a forum for meetings and gatherings. At Hirundo the public is encouraged to accept “Nature on its own terms.”
June leaves her close friend and caregiver Holly Cullen of Hudson, Maine, her nephew Dean Chagnon of Maryland, and her beloved dog Lydia and four cats. With no memorial service at her request, June was interred at the Lawndale Cemetery on April 25. Memorial donations are welcome to the Hirundo Wildlife Trust (P.O.Box 266, Orono, Maine 04473), where they will be applied to the Larouche Family Fund for such purposes as student internships at Hirundo, thus continuing the life’s work of Oliver and June.