Obituary for Edward Armand Filiault
Edward Armand Filiault died peacefully early on the morning of July 11, 2018, in the same way he lived his life – humbly and without wanting to cause a fuss. Known to his family and friends as Bud or Ed, he was a devoted family man, a regular at every restaurant in town, and a die-hard Red Sox and Celtics fan. He was kind, generous, compassionate and empathetic, treating everyone with respect and every situation with great integrity. He is survived by the woman he loved most, his wife of 60 years, Janet (Beattie). They met working together at the Boston Store, where he drove the delivery truck through the steep, narrow streets of North Adams. Bud and Jan were married in 1957 in Pittsfield, MA, and celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary last August with a small gathering of the immediate family.
Bud was born in the midst of the Great Depression in North Adams, MA, to Rachel (Racette) Filiault and Edward Albert Filiault and a large family full of cousins. He attended grammar school at the Notre Dame du Sacre Coeur Church, where he first learned French from the French-Canadian nuns, and he graduated from Drury High School in 1950. He was the first person in his family to attend college, putting himself through with jobs and scholarships, and graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in French literature in 1954. He attended Middlebury College during the summer to try and lose his Canadian accent, and earned his master’s degree in French literature with specialization in the 17th century classics (Racine, Moliere) at the University of Illinois in 1955. He was delighted to visit France while his daughter spent a college semester in Toulouse, although he found out the French did not agree he had lost the Canadian accent!
Bud also served his country. He joined the U.S. Air Force after grad school and was discharged from active duty as a captain in 1957, after completing ROTC training in college. He was stationed at Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod where he taught French, supervised target practice, and flew missions up and down the east coast looking for submarines. He earned his private pilot’s license.
Bud was first and foremost an educator who cared deeply about his students. He started his teaching career at Vermont Academy and Williston Academy, where he and his wife spent the early years of their marriage living in boys’ dorms with their first pet parakeet. He was excited to return to his community and join the faculty of Mt. Greylock Regional High School in 1964 as a French teacher. Under the mentoring of the principal he greatly admired, Dr. Bill Clark, he became assistant principal, spending the majority of his career as the principal and ending his 30 years in the school district as the superintendent. He took great pride in traveling to Boston for Board of Education committee meetings and chairing school accreditation committees across New England. But he was happiest in his role as principal where he interacted daily with students. The family couldn’t travel anywhere without meeting former students, even as recently as his last vacation on Cape Cod in 2016. Earlier this year, hundreds of former students and faculty sent him birthday wishes on Facebook. He was moved to tears by the kind words and read each and every message multiple times, reminiscing (and often chuckling) about individuals. In his usual humble fashion, he simply shook his head and said, “I didn’t know I had such an impact on so many people.” He spent his free time watching his students at sporting events, in musicals, and at concerts, even after retiring. When entering noisy spaces, he would frequently chuckle and say, “It seems like junior high lunch in here!”
Once Bud retired from Mt. Greylock, he worked at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts to create another generation of school administrators. He coordinated the administrator certification program and had the most fun acting as an on-site mentor to teachers during their internships. He specifically chose mentoring assignments near his daughter and spent many hours driving to some of the toughest schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, only once taking a five-hour “short-cut” through Manhattan on his way back to Westchester from Long Island!
Anyone who knew him heard him say, “All part of the friendly service,” in response to expressions of thanks – and that is how he spent his life, in friendly service. He played many roles in the St. Patrick & St. Raphael parish, notably using what his family called his “lector voice” in his frequent role as lector. He served for many years on the boards of the Williamstown Community Chest and the Greylock Credit Union. He recorded for Reading for the Blind and drove cancer patients to treatments.
Fairly tone-deaf himself, Bud loved listening to music and loved to attend classical concerts and musicals, from Mt. Greylock to Broadway. Fun fact: he took tap dancing lessons as a little boy! He spent years of his life proudly going to one daughter’s concerts and the other daughter’s horse shows. He loved quiet pursuits, like reading and crossword puzzles. He was a great eater, who loved to dine out about town and made numerous friends among the wait staff. He teased everyone, and his jokes became increasingly corny over the years! He also loved sitting near – but not really on and always with shoes – the beach and spent most summer vacations on Cape Cod or the Rhode Island coast. He spent hours napping alongside his Pomeranian companion, Teddy, who has been heartbroken without him. He spent much of his final years babysitting and playing with the grandchildren he adored, even traveling to Kazakhstan at the age of 72 to bring his youngest granddaughter home.
Ed was predeceased by his parents, his brother, Lawrence Filiault, and his oldest daughter, Allison Ann, who left this world before she really joined it. He is survived by his beloved wife, Janet, the daughters he cherished, Ann and Linda, and his three grandchildren, about whom he would brag to anyone who would listen – Paul Edward (23), Allison Isabella (14) and Clara Jane (13).
Calling hours will be held at the Flynn-Dagnoli Funeral Home on West Main Street in North Adams, MA, on Monday, July 16, 2018, from 4 to 7 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11 am on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at the Church of St. Patrick & St. Raphael on Southworth Street in Williamstown, MA. Private burial will follow in Southview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be considered for a scholarship fund to be set up in his name to continue his lifelong contribution to education. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit www.flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.