Continuing the legacy established by its founder, Alexander Gilman in 1919, Robert R. Fournier Jr., owner of the Gilman and Valade Funeral Homes of Putnam and N. Grosvenordale and Crematory in Putnam, thanked everyone who helped make the Centennial a success.  As the company moves into its second century, he said plans are underway to repeat several of the programs the firm provided during its anniversary year.
“When we embarked on our centennial celebration, we never imagined we would receive the level of participation we did for the various programs we hosted last year.  From our initial programs in January and February to our float in the Dazzle Light Parade, we are very thankful to all those who joined us for one or all of our 100th-year events,” said Fournier.
In addition to the float and the grief management programs held in November and December, the funeral homes provided a variety of programs throughout the year as a way of showing its appreciation to the families of northeastern Connecticut.
The year began with a special tribute to the Danielson Veterans Coffeehouse which was organized by the Real Wives of Windham County and sponsored by Gilman and Valade.  The event was followed by a week-long tribute to President Abraham Lincoln that was held at the Valade Funeral Home.
The months of May and June witnessed Mother and Father’s Day memorial events that were heavily attended.  Fournier said that the grief management program and the Mother’s and Father’s Day memorial events are likely to continue.
A special tribute in the form of a family picnic at the East Putnam Fire Department was celebrated in September in honor of all local Emergency Medical Services.  The highlight of the program was the landing of Hartford Health Care’s Life Star helicopter.
“Our events were intended to thank the various segments of our community who provide support to people during their time of need.  These organizations are all instrumental to the funeral industry and memorialization,” said Fournier.
The centerpiece of the centennial year was a ribbon cutting and rededication on July 18, marking the 100th year.  The program included proclamations presented to the staff from local, state and federal government officials.  The culmination of the day was burying a time capsule near the funeral home main entrance.  It will be unearthed in 20 years, said Fournier.
The staff took part in Memorial Day and 4th of July events, a luncheon for local clergy, hosting the Thompson Business Association Business After Hours and being featured on Fox 61 Coffee Cup Salute.
“Our 100th year celebration was very rewarding and as we enter our second century, I look forward to continuing to serve the people of northeastern Connecticut,” said Fournier.


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