Leo "Joe" Pepin

  • Born: October 11, 1944
  • Died: July 26, 2019
  • Location: Bedford, New Hampshire

Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory

1799 Elm St
Manchester, NH 03104

Tel. (603) 625-6951

Tribute & Message From The Family


Leo "Joe" Pepin was born at a young age in Berlin, NH to Alice and Leo Pepin on October 11, 1944. The second top rated musical hit that year was "Don't Fence Me In" by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters – although not a fan of the song itself, the title fits the theme of his life. Joe spent his young days with his favorite playmates; a one-legged duck, a cat, a rabbit and a dog (that's farm life for you). He graduated from St Patrick's School in 1962, having forged reasonably decent relationships with the school's nuns, especially Sister Regina.

He joined the army "for a good meal" (We loved his mom, but Memérè could not cook!) and soon got his sights set on earning a Campaign Hat. Being a good shot he could do it, but heck those Large Bore Shooter guys had to drag their butts out in the desert with all their gear to shoot; and the Small Bore guys got to stay inside in the air conditioned range. Being smart, he shot a little off on testing day and stayed in the air conditioning. We wonder if his students, later in his military career, realized just how clever their instructor was.

Ultimately, the hot desert winds ended up calling to him and he headed off to White Sands missile base for a bit of adventure, computer work, and motorcycle racing in the desert. Not having much money he only had one bike. He would ride to the race, take off the parts that weren't used for desert racing, race, and then re-assemble his bike again to ride home - clearly a labor of love.

And love he found when he returned home to NH, settling down with Lucille (Labonte) Pepin and raising three fabulous kids (*wink, wink) Craig, Keith, and Mel (aka Melinda) in that order.

Racing never left him, nor did the desire to be a great shot. He raced canoes, bicycles, funny boats and more with his kids as willing co-conspirators. He then settled on a different type of shooting, after his daughter's interest rekindled his own photography passion. He was a proud member of the New Hampshire Professional Photographer's Association; had his work shown in several shows, and returned to his teaching roots by sharing his photography prowess with students at Bedford School District's Adult Education program.

His passion for photography, and desire to still earn a Campaign Hat, led him to want to 'see something new' and become a park ranger with the National Park Service after he retired from 40-plus years of computer work for a company that changed hands and names too often to mention. For those that visited Rainbow Bridge in 2011 you should feel lucky. He was great at his job and shared the history of the area with a passion. Not to mention, being a Park Ranger earned his long awaited Campaign Hat.

When he wasn't teaching, taking photographs or hanging with his family, he was committed to raising funds for cancer research through his participation in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, walking each year since 2008, and the entire marathon route 8 times. The past two years he traded in his battle with Heartbreak Hill to face his own cancer - which he did with grace, humor and an "I hate cancer!" attitude.

The battle waged, the outcome now clear, Joe sets off on what he calls "his next great adventure" with a "yeah, yeah, yeah, I know."

He will be having a reunion with his good friend Shirl, his brothers-in-law, Richard and Ray, and his parents. We are sure he and Shirl have hours of photography technical discussions to get caught up on.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 52 years, Lucille; son, Craig and fiancé, Elissa Turner; son, Keith and wife, Elise; daughter, Mel and husband Tym Rourke, five amazing grandchildren who have been a shining light for him in life: Declan, Exelia, Isabelle, Salena and Benjamin; his beloved sister, Pauline Bergeron; nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins and numerous other family and friends.

A Celebration of Life Service was held on Friday, August 2, 2019 at Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory, 1799 Elm St., Manchester.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in the name of Joe Pepin, made payable to: Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, P.O. Box 3595, Boston, MA 02241-3595. Memo line: Cure AT/RT Now, Joe Pepin, or at danafarber.jimmyfund.org/goto/JoePepin