World War II veteran Lionel Duquette, of Winslow, seated, is honored Sunday by Christopher Soucy, quartermaster at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8835 in Winslow, and others during a gathering at the VFW Post to celebrate Duquette’s 102nd birthday, which is Monday. More than 100 people attended the gathering, including five generations of Duquette’s family members. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WINSLOW — Lionel Duquette, of Winslow, is still “sharp” 78 years after he served in World War II.

That is according to Duquette’s family and friends, who celebrated the U.S. Army veteran’s 102nd birthday with him Sunday.

World War II veteran Lionel Duquette, center, arrives Sunday to celebrate his 102nd birthday, which is Monday, at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8835 in Winslow. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Duquette turns 102 on Monday.

More 100 people, including five generations of family members, joined Duquette for the celebration at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8835 in Winslow.

It was a low-key gathering for the centenarian. After eating lunch with his family, Duquette came to the VFW post to enjoy cider and a slice of birthday cake, which a VFW official cut using a U.S. Marine Corps sword, following a military tradition.

That was all for birthday plans, Duquette said.


Believed to be one of the oldest veterans in Maine, Duquette is the oldest member of the Winslow post, according to post Quartermaster Christopher Soucy.

Duquette is also one of 864 World War II veterans still living in Maine as of 2023, according to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Nationwide, about 119,000, or less than 1%, of the 16.1 million Americans who served in World War II were alive as of September 2023, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Lionel Duquette is congratulated Sunday by Ericka Roy of Vassalboro during a 102nd birthday celebration for Duquette. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

To stay sharp and well after being alive for more than a century, Duquette said he does the Sudoku number puzzle in the newspaper every day. He also enjoys gardening and playing checkers and chess, family members said.

“Nobody can beat him,” his son-in-law, Roy Lord, said as Duquette smiled.

Duquette was born Jan. 29, 1922, in Lac-Mégantic, a small town in the Estrie region of Quebec, Canada. Duquette soon moved back to his parents’ hometown of Jackman, where he grew up and attended high school, according to a short biography written by a family member in honor of Duquette’s 99th birthday in 2021.


In December 1942, Duquette enlisted in the Army after having worked at a shipyard. In his three years of service during World War II, Duquette served as a member of an anti-aircraft unit in the U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps. He was sent overseas and served in several European countries, including Germany. Duquette was honorably discharged in January 1946, earning the rank of corporal and having won several awards.

Back home in Maine, Duquette bought a shingle mill in Pittsfield before he settled in Winslow, where he worked at Scott Paper Co. for 35 years.

With his wife, Wilma, Duquette raised a daughter and a son. He also has seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, his family said. Many, including the two youngest, celebrated his birthday with him Sunday.

The secret to living longer a century is a simple, according to Duquette.

“I eat oat bran for breakfast every day,” he said, laughing.

Those who know Duquette said they do not expect his birthday Monday to be his last.

“I hope we can do this at 103, 104, 105,” Soucy said.

World War II veteran Lionel Duquette, left, is congratulated Sunday by Evan Shorey during a 102nd birthday celebration for Duquette at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8835 in Winslow. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

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