Virus Claims Second Allen Harbor Marine Employee

By: William F. Galvin

Harwich news.

HARWICH — A second employee at Allen Harbor Marine Service has succumbed to the coronavirus.

Bob LeBlanc, 87, the marina's facilities manager, and father of Craig LeBlanc, owner of the business, passed away last Monday after a week of hospitalization.

COVID-19 has hit the business exceptionally hard. On March 28, Julie Bruchu Bradley, 59, a sales administrator at the marina, died after a brief battle with the virus. She died five days after first showing symptoms.

Craig LeBlanc announced the passing of his father on the business's Facebook page on Wednesday evening. LeBlanc and his sister, Joyce LeBlanc Kramer, work at the marina facilities. LeBlanc wrote that his father was admitted to the hospital on April 1 and fought hard for several days. After being told by doctors at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge there was nothing more they could do for him, the family made the decision to remove Mr. LeBlanc from the ventilator April 6.

Bob LeBlanc was facilities manager at the marina for six years. His son praised his father for bringing to the job countless skills he acquired in the Army and working in construction over the years. Those skills allowed him to solve a multitude of issues for the business, the younger LeBlanc wrote.

“He treated the business like it was his own and I could always count on him to be here to help, day or night,” LeBlanc said. “Any fellow employee would tell you he would be the first one to offer a helping hand or advice on a project. He loved being around boats and fishing. He should have worked at a marina his whole life. He was truly irreplaceable.”

The business will remain closed through at least the rest of this week. Board of Health Director Meggan Eldredge stated in an email Thursday that she is only informed of cases of people who live in Harwich.

“I have not been officially notified of any COVID-related deaths in Harwich with the exception of the one previously announced, and so cannot comment on the AHMS situation,” Eldredge stated.

Mr. LeBlanc was a resident of Millis. He stayed in Yarmouth during the work week and went back to Millis on weekends. Craig LeBlanc said his father had to “go through hoops to get tested.” Even with the previous death of Bradley from COVID-19 at AHMS, Mr. LeBlanc couldn’t get tested in Millis, his son said, even though he had symptoms.

“He had to be driven all the way to the Cape to be tested, it was frustrating, ridiculous,” Craig LeBlanc said. His father was tested at the Cape Cod Community College drive-up location.

“During the last couple of days we were open, I observed that it is very difficult for the staff to maintain any social distance,” LeBlanc wrote in his Facebook post. “Whether it’s lifting/moving something together, consulting on a job or just passing by each other in one of the buildings. I am very concerned about my employees’ health and well-being during this pandemic.”

He said on Friday AHMS will remain closed for at least the next week and maybe beyond. He was not sure of the length of closure.

LeBlanc said the AHMS staff is “physically OK, but everybody is sad about it, losing Julie, everybody was shaken and everybody loved my father.”

The medical community is not tying the two cases together, LeBlanc said, given the separation in times of the symptoms. He also said his father had no pre-existing health conditions to exacerbate the virus.

Bob LeBlanc was born and raised in Waltham. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a helicopter mechanic. He moved to the Cape in 1975 and ran his own construction business for many years. He had five children and 10 grandchildren. There are no services planned at this time given the social distancing limits in place.

This story was updated on April 11 at 5 p.m.