MANCHESTER – Msgr. William R. Charbonneau, a brigadier general in the Connecticut Air National Guard, 61, of South Windsor, formerly of Manchester, died on May 5, 2010, at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.
Born on July 28, 1948, in Norwich, he was the son of the late William R. Charbonneau Sr. and Mildred E. (Jalowski) Charbonneau. He was a member of the first graduating class of East Catholic High School in Manchester. He also graduated from St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from St. John Seminary in Brighton, Mass.; a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; and a Master of Education degree from the University of Hartford.
He was ordained to the priesthood on July 2, 1973, at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Following his ordination, Msgr. Charbonneau served as a parochial vicar at St. John of the Cross Parish in Middlebury; as a member of the faculty at South Catholic High School in Hartford; as vice principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain; and as principal and president of East Catholic High School in Manchester.
He was commissioned as a chaplain in the Connecticut Air National Guard in November 1979, and served as Catholic chaplain at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts. In March 1981, he joined the Connecticut Air National Guard, for which he served as the installation staff chaplain and wing chaplain until he was assigned to the National Guard Bureau in July 1986.
Pope John Paul II named him a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor in 2002. Msgr. Charbonneau served as chaplain, deputy chief and chief of the Air National Guard. Throughout his career with the military, Msgr. Charbonneau was promoted several times, most recently on May 1, when he became a brigadier general. He also received many awards and decorations, including, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, the National Defense Service Medal and the Humanitarian Service Medal.
He is survived by his sisters, Diane Kristof of Lehigh Acres, Fla., and Joan Winters of Ogunquit, Maine.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell was the principal celebrant of a Mass of Christian Burial May 11 at St. James Church in Manchester. Burial in St. James Cemetery followed.
Donations in Msgr. Charbonneau’s memory may be made to the East Catholic High School Athletic Department, 115 New State Road, Manchester, CT 06042; or the St. James School Foundation, PO Box 254, Manchester, CT 06045.