Methuen Officials Surprise Generous World War II Army Veteran on Her 100th Birthday

On left, Sen. Pavel Payano presents citation to Ethel LaSalle. On right, she receives her birthday cake. (Courtesy photographs.)

Ethel LaSalle, a World War II Army veteran who has donated more than 300 blankets to area veterans’ organizations over the years, was recently surprised on her 100th birthday by Methuen police, fire and city and state officials.

Last month, officials said, the police department received a request for cards for LaSalle’s centennial. Methuen police officers, who also were the beneficiaries last fall of the woman’s blankets, worked with others officials to plan a party. LaSalle was surprised Sunday with cards, balloons, gifts, cake and many well-wishers.

The longtime Methuen resident also received citations from Sen. Pavel Payano and Rep. Ryan Hamilton.

LaSalle entered the Army shortly after her high school graduation during World War II. While in the service, she met her husband, Norman Francis LaSalle. The two married during a three-day pass. The eventually raised two daughters, Ethel and Marguerite.

She went on to become the first female commander of the AmVets, served three years as the commander of the American Legion in Stoneham and was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council for Women Veterans. She is also past president of the Women’s Army Corp, Chapter 14, in Boston, and past president of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. LaSalle was granted lifetime membership in the Disabled American Veterans, Queen City Chapter 4 DAV, in Lawrence.

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