Roland Vaillancourt, 79, graphic artist, tax activist

December 30, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Roland J.O. Vaillancourt, a retired graphic artist and North Baltimore neighborhood activist, died of liver disease Friday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Towson resident was 79.

Born in Berlin, N.H., he earned a diploma from Indiana State Teachers College in Terra Haute. He served in the Navy and later, as a civilian, did Army intelligence work at Fort Holabird. He then earned a bachelor of arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

He worked for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. at its downtown headquarters, designing the company's annual reports and assisting in the decoration of its windows along Lexington and Liberty streets. He retired in 1994 after 29 years with BGE.

Mr. Vaillancourt also created sculptures and paintings that he sold at area art shows.

A founder of the Lake-Walker Community Association in the late 1970s, he organized a group affiliated with the Northeast Community Association that sought changes in tax assessments after a city property tax reappraisal in late 1977.

"He was concerned about people being treated fairly and was always involved in politics," said his son David Vaillancourt of Boulder, Colo. "He was never afraid to speak up. He was a righteous man."

When he was successful in getting an assessment lowered on his block but not on others, he told the News American, "They were trying to pacify me."

"Dad was not afraid to be different. Image meant little to him," his son said. "His inner character was what always stood out and was what he cared about most."

A memorial Mass was offered Tuesday at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church, where Mr. Vaillancourt was a member.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 46 years, Joan Wilhelmsen; two other sons, Greg D. Vaillancourt of White Hall and John A. Vaillancourt of Baltimore; a brother, Rene Vaillancourt of Gorham, N.H.; two sisters, Doris Newman of Bel Air and Annette L'Heureux of Berlin, N.H.; and three grandchildren.

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