My father’s life began on Wednesday April 2nd, 1941 in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, with the birth name of Joseph Benedict Fontaine. He was the son of Josias Fontaine, a Corporal in the Haitian military, and Floraine Pierre, a dressmaker. He was raised in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and attended Lycée Toussaint Louverture. After graduating from school, he worked as a mechanic in a local machine shop, a profession we would hold for the rest of his time in Haiti. It was during this period of his life that he first met his future wife and my mother, Jacqueline Fontaine. He would also welcome his first son, Alfred Fontaine, into the world on September 15th, 1968.
In the year 1969 my father made the decision to leave Haiti and immigrate to the United States. He traveled to New York City, New York on April 5th, 1969. Never one to rest for too long, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts shortly after and immediately enrolled in an occupational training program where he would obtain his certification as a dental lab technician. Shortly after arriving in the United States, he would reunite with my mother, Jacqueline, and kindle a near decade long romance that eventually grow into marriage.
The second half of the 70s were a very busy time for my father, as many life changing events would occur during this period. On May 19th, 1975 Benedict and Jacqueline would welcome my brother, Benedict Jr., into the world. On July 16th, 1975 Benedict’s third son, Richard Brazile, was born. While Benedict was working, he had also been attending night school to obtain his GED, which he would be awarded on December 20th, 1978. A year later, on my brother’s 4th birthday, my father and mother would finally be married. Not long afterward, my father would officially become a naturalized citizen of the United States on April 29th, 1982.
To the day of his retirement in 2006 my father worked to support his family and teach and raise his sons to be mature, informed, responsible, and self-sufficient adults. He taught us how to balance a checkbook, how to drive and maintain a car, and how to be good with our hands. He loved to be active; he was an avid fan of boxing and football, and one of his favorite activities was taking me and my brother to hike on Stone Mountain. No matter how old we got we knew we could always rely on him for advice on life. He did everything he could to set us up to succeed, to ensure that we would have a better and prosperous life then he did.
On Friday, January 10th, 2020, Benedict Fontaine was called Home to be with the Lord. He is also survived by: His Brothers: Michel Fontaine and family; MennouFontaine and family; Yves Fontaine and family; and Emmanuel Fontaine and family. His Sisters: Marlene Mahotiere and family; Jacqueline Dorleans and family; and Roselaine Fontaine Nelson and family, His Best Friend and my godfather: Dr. Franklin Casthely and a host of other family members and friends that have been affected by this loss.
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