ALFRED —  Brother Marcel Valmore Sylvestre, 90, died on Saturday, May 4 at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough after a year of gradual diminishment.

He was born on July 20, 1928 in Biddeford, the son of Romeo and Florida (Mailhot) Sylvestre.  He attended local Catholic schools before entering the Brother’s formation center in Alfred at the age of 12 and participated in the 1944-45 novitiate session.  Final Profession took place on July 1, 1970.

A graduate of La Mannais College (Alfred ’52) he did graduate work at Catholic University (D.C. ’61) and earned a PhD in sociology at Ohio State (’75.)

His professional career as a high school religious teaching Brother was spent in Brothers’ Institutions in Fall River, Massachusetts (1951-58, 60-61 as principal,) Plattsburgh, New York (58-60,) Detroit, Michigan (61-66.)  His association with Walsh University (then College) began in 1966, first as a professor of sociology and then as Academic Dean (1975-80.)  He was highly respected for his classroom excellence, fine administrative skills and diligent work habits.

At the congregation’s General Chapter in 1982 he was elected first assistant to the superior general, headquartered in Rome, assigned responsibility for English speaking regions.  He developed a great attachment to the mission regions of the congregation in Africa and especially to Haiti where in 1999 he helped the local Bishops established Univ. de Notre Dame d’Haiti.

In 1995 the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life appointed him for three years “Religious Assistant for the American Federation of the Sisters of the Precious Blood” with members in Maine, New Hampshire and New York.


In August 1999, he began six years of service as Project Officer for Terre Sans Frontieres, based in La Prairie, QC, with special responsibility for projects in Haiti, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.

His years in active retirement were spent on the Walsh University campus, as local superior and serving on the WU Board, being its chair for several years.  He took on responsibility for the annual edition in three languages of “Agencies for Development Assistance” to help non-profit organizations in 139 countries around the world locate funding for their programs.

In the summer of 2017 he relocated to the Brothers’ retirement facility on the Notre Dame campus in Alfred, Maine.  A fall in November, 2018 caused a gradual decline in his health.

Brother Marcel was predeceased by his brothers Paul and George Sylvestre and his sister Anita (Gosselin) Tousignant and her step-son Paul T.  He is survived by many nephews and nieces: Paul Sylvestre, Jr. and Marc S., of North Carolina; Marcel Denis Gosselin of Arundel; Claire G. of Boston, Normand G. of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, Lucy G. Vincent of Bishop, California, Janet G. Lambert of Biddeford, Carol T. Abbott of Arundel, Joan (Sylvestre) Eckman, Angela S. and Suzanne S., all of Albuquerque, New Mexico: George S. Jr. and Patti S. of California along with spouses and two more generations beyond the above named family members.

He will be greatly missed by his conference who are most grateful for Brother’s contributions to the U.S. Province and to the entire congregation.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 10 in the Brothers’ Our Lady Chapel in Alfred.  Interment will follow in the nearby Brothers’ cemetery.  Visiting will be possible at the chapel that afternoon beginning at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Walsh University Scholarship Fund, 2020 E. Maple Street, North Canton, Ohio 44720.

Arrangements are under the direction of Black Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Sanford-Springvale.