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Ernie Belleau Jr.

Ernest "Ernie" Belleau Jr. was born on October 8, 1915.  He spent the first 54 years of his life in Salem, MA before he moved to East Wakefield, NH to open the Belleau Lake Corporation in 1969.  

In a 1983 interview, Ernie recalled that his first job involved taking care of a horse and several cows. He was paid 15 cents an hour for his work which was a lot of money at the time. He got his start in real estate a few years later when he began working for his father’s firm: E. Belleau and Son, Church Renovators. By 1941, twenty-six-year-old Ernie was president and owner of the company that would later be known as Belleau Metal Works. For a while, Ernie didn’t have enough church renovation work, but he did have good carpenters that he didn’t want to lose, so to keep them working he started building houses to sell. He is responsible for approximately 450 houses that were built in Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, Swampscott, Peabody, Danvers, Saugus, and Lynn, Massachusetts.

In 1969, he moved to East Wakefield and started Belleau Lake Corporation. He headed a development here, which linked several ponds together to form a single lake, about three miles long with about 17 miles of shoreline. He sold over 200 lots on Belleau Lake, which was named after him. Ernie was a world traveler and an avid hunter and fisherman. He regularly stocked Belleau Lake with fish until 1979.  The Amazon River, Peru, Kenya, Africa and the North Pole are only a few of the fascinating places he’s been. Ernie maintained a home on the east side of the lake; up until shortly before his passing at the age of 92 + 1 day on October 9, 2007.  Ernie was predeceased by his wife Catherine (Desmond) Belleau and was survived by his sons Ernest Belleau III and George Belleau, their spouses, 5 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and his sister Margie Foley.

The now-defunct Wakefield Junction was a free publication that was printed weekly by Jim and Merlyn Rutherford; owners of the Chebacco Ranch in Effingham.  The publication largely consisted of stories and advertisements that promoted local businesses and activities.  The paper's motto was “The Good News Paper”.  The Rutherfords distributed the paper to area shops and restaurants and nearly everyone at least thumbed through it after placing a food order with their server.  Ernie penned a column in it titled Happenings; in which he talked about things that interested him and that he thought would be of interest to the area's readers.

Thanks to Carole Doughty's perseverance, we have the twenty one Happenings columns that he wrote between 1994 and 2004 and to John Shaffer for scanning the originals. Click the "PDF" icon below his photo to download / view the entire collection.  Please, enjoy!

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