US Navy


Marie-Reine "Irene" Mignonne (Lessard) Fournier

December 12, 1918 ~ May 23, 2018 (age 99)

Marie-Reine “Irene” Mignonne Fournier, 99, of Biddeford died Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at her home in Biddeford. She was born, the youngest of seven children, on December 12, 1918 to Majorique and Eveline (Pettigrew) Lessard at their home in Biddeford. She was so small at birth that she was wrapped in a blanket, put in a shoe box and placed behind the stove to keep warm. The next day she was taken by her father to a local store and weighed on a meat scale, topping it off at 2 pounds. She graduated from Biddeford High School, class of 1938.


After her family, Irene’s proudest achievement was her service in the United States Navy during WWII. She became a member of the WAVES, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, in Oct. 1943. She completed her basic training at Hunter College in Bronx, NY and then sent to Stillwater, OK where she graduated from the Navy Yeoman’s School at Oklahoma A & M College. Her final duty station was Sampson Naval Training Base in Seneca County, NY. In February of 2017, she was awarded a Quilt of Valor in honor of her service to her country.  During her service she met her first husband, John Davis, and in 1947 they returned to civilian life in Biddeford. He preceded her in death in 1965.


On April 24, 1971, she married Robert A. Founier in St. Joseph’s Church in Biddeford.


She worked various retail and office jobs, including the Payroll Office at Pepperell Mfg., National Cylinder Gas in Saco. She also worked at FMI for over ten years until her retirement in 1981. She was an accomplished seamstress and enjoyed crafts of all kinds, as well as growing roses, but most of all she relished her time and visits with family. Bob and Marie traveled throughout the United States and Europe. She loved life, enjoyed new adventures, and was always ready to pack a suitcase and travel. She was a charter member of both the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC and the All Women in Service Memorial in Arlington, VA, she was also a member of the American Legion.


She often spoke of the special bond she had with her mother – it warms our hearts to know she has been reunited with her.


She is preceded in death by her brother, Renald “Major” Lessard; and her 5 sisters, Beatrice Ready, Fernande Bouffard, Alphena Cloutier, Lucille Frechette, and Rollande Nanos.


Irene is survived by:

Her loving husband of 47 years, Robert A. Fournier of Biddeford

2 daughters: Sandra Streitburger of Deltona, FL

                        Janet Lee Davis of Saco

3 grandchildren: Brigadier General James R. Cluff, Jessica Jane Cluff Parks, and Anthony J. Cadilla

6 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews


Visiting Hours will 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Friday, June 1, 2018 at Hope Memorial Chapel, 480 Elm Street, Biddeford, ME 04005.   A Graveside Service will be held on June 2, 2018 at 3:00 pm in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Biddeford. In lieu of flowers, donations in Marie’s name may be made to the Animal Welfare Society, 46 Holland Rd., Kennebunk, ME 04043. Arrangements are by Hope Memorial Chapel. To share condolences online, please visit

Donations may be made to:

Animal Welfare Society
P.O. Box 43, West Kennebunk ME 04094
Tel: 1-207-985-3244

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