Normand O. Dion, 89, of Worcester, died in his home on Friday, September 11, 2020, after an illness.
He leaves his wife of 66 years, Rita T. (Noel) Dion, (Rita and Norm observed their 66th wedding anniversary on September 6); he also leaves five children: Paul N. Dion and his husband, Allen M. (Deitch) Dion, of Barre, Ronald J. Dion and his husband, Dennis N. Rosencrance, of Worcester, Carol A. Dion of Worcester, Wayne M. Dion and his wife, Cheryl (Young) Dion, of Sutton, and Norma J. Dion of Worcester; six grandchildren; four great grandchildren; and nieces, nephews, and cousins. A sister, Jeanne M. Dion of Northbridge, and two brothers, Leo F. Dion of South Grafton and Lucien A. Dion of Northbridge, predeceased him.
Norm was born in Northbridge on July 15, 1931, a son of the late Ovide A. and Florida M. (St.Martin) Dion, and has lived in Worcester since 1974. He was a 1949 graduate of the former Assumption High School in Worcester. He completed his education under the G.I.Bill at the former Worcester State College, earning a bachelor's degree in sociology in 1977, and a master's degree in education in 1982.
Norm served 22 1/2 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Technical Sergeant in 1974. He was a Korean War veteran and he saw action in Korea as a member of a radio jeep squadron, establishing voice communications between artillery fire and air strikes on enemy positions during the third Korean winter campaign.
Subsequently, he held many world-wide assignments as a linguist and cryptographer. Back in the States, in 1954, between tours with two aircraft control and warning squadrons, Norm married Rita Theresa Noel in St. James Catholic Church, South Grafton. In 1960 he was assigned to Air Force Security Service, Texas. Before leaving again for the Far East, he received specialized communications training at the National Security Agency in Maryland. In 1964, after two years as a technical instructor in Texas, he was accepted for Cambodian language training at the Berlitz School of Languages in Washington, D,C, and was assigned to security service in the Philippines. Back in Texas, he was chosen for Arabic language training at the Presidio of Monterey, California. After serving three years on the island of Crete where he gathered and translated foreign language intelligence, Norm retired in 1974 and returned to Massachusetts.
During his career, Norm was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, the Korean War Campaign Medal with two battle stars, the United Nations Medal, five Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, and the NCO Academy Ribbon.
Back in Worcester and retired from the military, Norm began his second career in 1975 as an employment interviewer with the former Massachusetts Department of Employment and Training. He progressed to employment counseling and served as a veterans representative until his retirement from civil service in 1992.
He was a life member of Post 6907, Veterans of Foreign Wars, West Boylston. and Chapter 4, Disabled American Veterans, Worcester. He was also a member of American Legion Post 204, West Boylston. A longtime member of St. Christopher's Catholic Parish, Worcester, he served as a lector for many years before his illness.
Norm's family wishes to thank Laura's Guardian Angels home health care service, Millbury, and the staff of Jewish Healthcare Hospice, Worcester, for the caring, expert help they gave to Norm and the family during his final illness.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for Norm at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, in St. Christopher's Catholic Church, 950 West Boylston St., Worcester. Interment with military honors in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Whitinsville, will be private. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, donations in Norm's memory may be made to Mercy Centre for Developmental Disabilities, 25 West Chester St., Worcester, MA 01605.
Turgeon Funeral Home, 56 Main St., Millbury, is assisting the Dion Family with Norm's arrangements.
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