Remembering the life of Sandra Perrault (2024)

Methuen - Sandra Giles Perrault, 85, died peacefully in her home in Methuen on March 27, 2024, surrounded by loving family.

A woman of incredible strength, resilience, warmth and intelligence, Sandra was accomplished in many areas of life, but was always modest in demeanor. Her heart and soul were her family and friends. She was interested and involved not only in the lives of her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but also her siblings, in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and anyone married (or attached) to any of them.

Whether you called her Mom, Nana or Aunt Sandra, not a single birthday, anniversary or other important event passed without a card or note from her. When she was invited somewhere, she always showed up – weddings, concerts, plays, sports events. You name it: she was there. She adored all of her extended family on both the Giles and Perrault sides, and enjoyed nothing more than a large family gathering like the annual Giles Family Christmas Party, or the annual Christmas Eve party at 76 Woodland Street. When it came to family gatherings, the more the merrier. Sandra also loved to plan and host all kinds of parties, and she did it very well. She loved to get dressed up, and was the epitome of understated elegance, style and grace.

Sandra was known for her thoughtfulness and small kindnesses. She was always thinking of others. She often cut out newspaper and magazine articles to send to friends or family she knew would be interested. She listened and paid attention in conversations. She remembered small details.

Long before the internet, Sandra was a fountain of knowledge, faster and easier to use than any encyclopedia. Her children and children's friends often sought her out with questions about language or civics or any other number of topics. She was also a voracious reader, and always enjoyed sharing books and book ideas with her fellow booklovers.

Sandra Jean Giles was born at home in Methuen on July 9, 1938, the youngest child of Frank Stuart Giles and Dorothy Elizabeth (Moore) Giles. Her mother delivered her alone upstairs in their house at 2 Forest Street, while her grandparents, brother and sister waited downstairs, and her father paced back and forth on the sidewalk outside, waiting for the doctor to arrive.

Sandra attended Methuen public schools, skipping the third grade, and graduating from Tenney High School with the Class of 1955, being named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2014. She received a full scholarship to Pembroke College in Brown University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1959.

Matriculating to Pembroke in the fall of 1955, Sandra was one of eight young women assigned to live in Sharpe House. All eight became lifelong friends. They continued to get together, confide in each other, laugh and share stories all throughout their lives. Four of the women and their husbands traveled the world together later in life, visiting dozens of countries. Over 69 years of friendship, not a single ill word from one of the eight Sharpe House Girls was ever spoken about another.

Following graduation from Pembroke, Sandra married the love of her life, Thomas Simeon Perrault. They immediately moved to Iowa, and began an adventure together that lasted more than 62 years. In Iowa, they lived in a small mobile home, and Sandra taught elementary school to support them while Tom attended Palmer College of Chiropractic. Tom always said, "Asking Sandy Giles to be my wife was the best decision I ever made."

Sandra and Tom were partners and equals in all that they did. They raised and educated five children. They were a force for good in their community, and pioneers in their chiropractic profession. Upon returning to Massachusetts from Iowa in 1962, Tom founded Perrault Chiropractic Offices. At the time, Massachusetts was one of only three states where chiropractic was not yet licensed. In addition to raising their children, Sandra supported Tom in the long fight for licensure of chiropractic in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with licensure finally achieved in 1966.

For more than 40 years, Sandra was Executive Secretary of the Massachusetts Chiropractic Society, spearheading lobbying and legislation efforts for the inclusion of chiropractic care in insurance coverage in the State of Massachusetts. Her mastery of the English language and ability to organize thoughts and ideas into powerful position papers made her a secret weapon of the chiropractic profession for decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, the MCS had great success in winning insurance inclusion for millions of citizens of the Commonwealth. Sandra and Tom worked side by side with a truly great group of chiropractors and spouses in those years - dedicated to their profession, focused on the health and wellbeing of their patients, and steadfast in their commitment to chiropractic access for all. They were aided by a handful of equally talented and committed allies on Beacon Hill. Far more than work colleagues, these people all became lifelong friends.

Outside the chiropractic profession, Sandra was involved in various organizations in Methuen and the Greater Lawrence area over the decades. These included the Methuen Historic Society and the Festival of Trees, from which Tom and Sandra received a "Special Friend of the Festival" award in 2013. At the time of her death, Sandra was serving as chairperson of the Methuen Commission on Trust Funds (The Edwin J. Castle Trust), a position she held for many years. She also continued to serve as co-chair for the Tenney/Searles Joint Reunion Committee, another position she held for years.

Later in life, Sandra assisted her husband Tom in returning the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council (GLCAC) to regular agency status, following a period of turmoil when the organization was given a "Troubled Agency" designation by the state. At the time, GLCAC had hundreds of employees, and served thousands of local families in need. With their decades of experience advocating on behalf of the chiropractic profession, Sandra and Tom knew they had the skill set to help right the agency, and felt compelled to do so given what was at stake for the clients and employees of the agency. Many others assisted them. The turnaround process took nearly two years, with Tom later receiving special recognition for his and Sandra's efforts, and also having the Dr. Thomas S. Perrault Childcare Center named after him.

One of the greatest gifts Sandra and Tom gave to their family was the tradition of annual summer vacations at Sandy Island Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Starting in 1967, the family traveled north year after year to their favorite place in the world, forging lifelong friendships with so many other Sandy Island families. When they were old enough, all five Perrault children worked on the staff, and in recent years, four generations of the family have attended camp on the island at the same time. Sandra leaves behind so many wonderful Sandy Island friends whom she loves. She goes now to rejoin many others, who await her in the Great Dining Hall in the Sky.

With the exception of her time in Iowa, on Sandy Island, or traveling with friends, Sandra lived most of her 85 years within one-half mile of the house in Methuen where she was born.

She loved Methuen, its people and its history. She always said how blessed she was to have such wonderful friends. These included classmates, neighbors and friends from Forest Street, Smith Avenue and Woodland Street, friends met during Tom's years on the School Committee, and friends made over the years through her activities with other organizations in Methuen and the Greater Lawrence Area.

Greeting Sandra in heaven is her beloved daughter Elisabeth Perrault Hooper, her husband Dr. Thomas S. Perrault Sr., parents Frank Stuart Giles and Dorothy Elizabeth Moore Giles, sister Dorothy Giles Ham, brother Scott Lee Giles Sr. and his wife Barbara, niece Wendy Giles, brothers-in law Albert F. Perrault Jr. and his wife Marguerite, Edward G. Perrault and his wife Mary, sister-in-law Barbara Perrault Huard and her husband Alfred, and cousin Andrew Moore.

She is survived by four of her children: Dr. Thomas S. Perrault Jr., Jon Christopher Perrault, Jean Perrault and David Perrault; son-in-law Timothy Hooper; daughters-in-law Denise Perrault and Amy Perrault; grandchildren Amanda Perrault Bhatia and her husband Ronak, Jessica Perrault Klabunde and her husband Dillon, Joshua Perrault and his partner Carissa Saab, Melissa Perrault, Abigail Hooper, Amelia Hooper and Alexandra Perrault, who lived next door to her Nana; great-granddaughters Anabelle Klabunde and Charlotte Klabunde; nieces Beth Giles and her partner Bill Dolan, Lisa Ham Thomas and her husband John, Nina Giles Giuditta and her husband Edward, Julie Giles Keefe and her husband John, Jane Perrault Sigillo and her husband David, Cynthia Huard and her husband Jeffrey Lundstead, Diane Huard and her partner John Prusak, Gwendolyn Huard Taylor and her husband Allan, Susan Perrault, Tammy Ham, and Colleen Huard; nephews David Ham and partner Ellen fa*gan, Frank Giles Ham and his wife Lissa Sarro Ham, Frank S. Giles II, Caleb Ham and his partner Rebecca Paulu, Scott Giles Jr. and his wife Kristin, Edward Perrault Jr. and his wife Bridget, Charles Perrault and his wife Beth Anastopoulos, Mark Huard, and Gene Huard; cousins Charleen Mahoney Moran, Marilyn "Bonnie" Moore Bourdelais and her husband Richard, Glen Moore and his wife Bert, Stephen Moore and his partner Billie Crawford; special friends the Cadarette, Varitimos, Boes and Sciacca families.

Sandra absolutely adored her family. A week before she passed, all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren traveled to 76 Woodland Street to be with her. They stayed with her in her house for four days. The house was full of warmth, love and children's laughter. Sandra was content and filled with gratitude. She passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by those who loved her.

The family would like to thank Gricelda Martinez, who provided excellent in-home care for Sandra for the last eight months, and provided nearly round-the-clock care in the final two weeks. We appreciate you and will be forever grateful.

The family would also like to express special gratitude to Dr. Graeme S. Steele of Brigham & Women's Hospital. In 2004, with precision, knowledge, expertise and general excellence, Dr. Steele performed miraculous work that extended Sandra's life by more than 20 years. He did so with humility, compassion and a wonderful bedside manner. We wish to thank him and all those who worked with him on the initial and follow-up care that extended her life for so long. She made excellent use of all the extra years you gave her.

Donations in Sandra's name may be made to either: "Chiropractic Foundation of Massachusetts, 800 Providence Road, Whitinsville MA 01588" or "Friends of Dana-Farber, 450 Brookline Ave., SW120, Boston MA 02215."
Calling hours will be held this Sunday, April 7, 2024 between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Kenneth H Pollard Funeral Home, 233 Lawrence St, Methuen, MA.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, June 9, 2024 at
1 p.m. at First Church Congregational, 26 Pleasant St, Methuen, MA, with a gathering to follow at The Lanam Club, 260 North Main St, Andover, MA.

Remembering the life of Sandra Perrault (2024)
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