'The Force will be with you. Always' - Veteran succumbs after fulfilling 'Last Jedi' wish

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
January 23. 2018 12:30PM
U.S. Air Force veteran Ron Villemaire offers a salute as emergency personnel wheel him into O'Neil Cinemas in Epping last month with Star Wars characters lined up at the entrance. (Jason Schreiber/Union Leader Correspondent/File photo)

BEDFORD -- The Manchester veteran who was recently granted his dying wish to view the latest Star Wars movie has taken his final breath.

Ron Villemaire, the diehard Star Wars fan whose daughter was on a mission to ensure her dad could see “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” before his death, passed away Monday night at a Bedford hospice facility.

“This evening at 7:27 p.m. my amazing father and best friend took his last journey home to heaven,” Elizabeth Ngo said in an online statement Monday night. “I know he will be with my grandparents and safe with God. I’m thankful he is no longer in horrible pain.”

Villemaire, a U.S. Air Force veteran, was arguably the biggest Star Wars fan in the state. From his hospice bed at Bedford HIlls Center, Villemaire joined his daughter last month to voice his passion and love for the Star Wars franchise.

“I have been a Star Wars junkie since the movie first came out in 1977. I was totally hooked,” Villemaire said last month.

Villemaire was struggling with stage-four colon cancer at the time, which had spread to his lungs, kidneys and bones. Although he could not sit in a typical movie theater seat, Villemaire’s daughter was on a mission to find a way for her father to watch “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” before he passed.

Hearing her plea for help, members of the New Boston and Bedford fire departments established a plan to allow Villemaire, 69, to be transported Dec, 16 to the O’Neil Cinema in Epping to view the film.

“Thank God, I am being blessed with enough health so I can watch this movie. I did not think I was going to make it, but when I woke up this morning I knew it was really, really going to happen,” he said the day of the big viewing.

Hours after Villemaire’s passing, Ngo thanked everyone for their continued prayers and support for her father.

“It meant the world to him,” she said of the Star Wars movie. “I’m sure he’s having marathons in heaven while waiting for the Super Bowl.”

Villemaire, who served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force and two years in Vietnam, said earlier that he is one of the lucky ones.

He was content knowing that he would miss the final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy -- possibly to be released in about two years.

“Hopefully God will grant my wish and I will see that one in heaven,” he said last month. “But right now I am in seventh heaven.”

khoughton@newstote.com


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