The luxury ocean liner S.S. America had been converted as a troop carrier to become the Westpoint, Lavin said, able to carry as many as 9,000 men to their deployment.
“We went all over the world,” Lavin said. “We circled the world four times.”
Once back from the war in 1945 and already the father of two, Lavin returned to his job at a Lawrence paper mill, later moving on to work in trucking transportation to support his ever-growing family.
Always returning to Seabrook Beach with his family by renting the converted carriage home from the Sheehans, in the early 1950s, just after his fifth child was born, Lavin bought the Lawrence Street cottage he’d slept in as a boy.
“My mother had just given birth to my sister, Sally, and my father walked into the hospital and said, ‘Guess what? I just bought the house at Seabrook Beach,’” said Lewis. “It was great for my mother, because she could bring all of us up here. We loved it here.”
As the family grew, Lavin continued to renovate the small cottage, enlarging it to accommodate his growing brood which would include: Ann, Barbara, Ray Jr., Sally, Jack, Jeff and Julie. To help pay the mortgage, he rented it out to others, but always it was a place to treasure summer holidays with his family.
Moving up to the beach in 1980, he and Marie spend the next 17 years there, until Marie passed away in 1997 after 55 years of marriage. But still the family homestead continues to bring his seven children, 16 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren around to spend time with the family patriarch.
More than 100 people will gather to celebrate Lavin’s 100th birthday milestone in two parties. Asked if he has a secret to his longevity, Lavin humbly replied he’s done nothing special.