Frances Bourguet, Manhasset civic leader, dies at 95

Teri West
Frances Bourguet. (Photo courtesy of Fairchild Sons Inc.)

Frances Bourguet, a former Manhasset Chamber of Commerce woman of the year and Manhasset Library trustee who helped get the new library built, died June 24. She was 95.

The 70-year Manhasset resident devoted much of her energy to the community she loved through civic engagement, involvement in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and a book that she edited called “Manhasset: The First Three Hundred Years,” her son Lawrence Bourguet said at her funeral Monday.

“She cared for Manhasset,” he said. “The list of things she did for Manhasset goes on and on.”

Bourguet was born in Boston on Oct. 26, 1924, to Albert and Anna Madden.

She met her husband, Rene Bourguet, at Boston’s Simmons College, where she studied journalism.

The two met at a dance event through a Catholic social group, where Rene asked Frances for her phone number, her son said.

Bourguet would say how she remembered thinking “if I give this man my phone number, I’ll marry him,” Lawrence Bourget said.

Rene Bourguet, a citizen of France, enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduating and asked Frances Bourget to marry him on the train station platform before he departed, their son said.

Bourguet first used her journalism skills as the editor of the MIT Radiation Laboratory newsletter.

She later used them again to edit and contribute to “Manhasset: The First Three Hundred Years.”

The book chronicles the history of the area, which Bourguet sifted through documents and photos and conducted interviews to achieve, her son said.

“That was a lot of fun for her,” he said. “I think her journalism major really came through.”

As a Manhasset Library trustee, Bourguet was on the team that helped get the bond passed for the new library building.

She was also a president of the Manhasset Community Liaison Committee and a member of the Chamber of Commerce, which named her its woman of the year in 1996.

She was the Town of North Hempstead’s Woman of the Year in 1995.

Bourguet was also involved in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church as a lector and teacher. In 2009, the Diocese of Rockville Centre awarded her its St. Agnes Medal of Service.

Bourguet took pleasure in reading, teaching, swimming and traveling and often said that no one had more fun raising kids, Lawrence Bourguet said.

Bourget is survived by siblings Lillian Bertazzoni, Elizabeth Holmes and Paul Madden, children Marianne, Claire, Janice, Robert, Alan, Rosemary, Lawrence and Paul, and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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