In Memory of




Obituary for Erwin H. Dessaules

Erwin H Dessaules, 85, of Pawcatuck CT entered eternal rest at The Westerly Hospital on January 15, 2020
after a lengthy illness. He was the beloved husband of Alice Whitehead Dessaules for 61 years.

Erwin was born in Bronx, NY to the late Gustav and Elise Dessaules who immigrated from Germany in the late 1920’s. The family moved to Stonington Borough when Erwin was a senior in high school. After graduation, Erwin joined the U.S. Army and served with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, NC.

Returning to his roots, Erwin opened up Pawcatuck Auto Body with his father and brother. So began his legacy of commitment and service to his customers with the business still open more than 60 years later. He made friends far and wide with the reputation of being able to fix anything as a master in his trade and a great teacher. He worked side by side with his brother who was his life-long best friend, and together they developed a strong bond with the community.

Erwin was an avid outdoorsman. In his early years he enjoyed many happy times hiking and camping with his wife and son. He was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, climbing and hiking many high peaks throughout the US and Europe. He had a love of white water kayaking in remote areas and built his own kayaks. Some of his greatest adventures were sailing the Caribbean and the Eastern Seaboard. On land, Erwin enjoyed competitive cycling with his brother Gus. Together they pedaled 100+ mile races throughout New England. He also had a love of photography that captured the beauty surrounding his many outdoor adventures.

Erwin was a life member of the Groton Sportsman Club, a member of the Masonic Lodge AF & AM formerly #90 and now the Coastal Masonic Lodge where he was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Scottish Rite, a member of the Pawcatuck Workingman’s Club and a member of the United Congregational Church in Pawcatuck.

Erwin could do it all and will be sadly missed.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Mark (Liz) of Groton, CT, cherished granddaughters, Emily (Raul) Apodaca of Washington and Amanda Dessaules. Erwin’s most recent joy was meeting his first great-grandson Carson. Erwin is also survived by his brother Gus (Patricia) Dessaules of Pawcatuck, his sister Elizabeth Walker of Westerly and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his son Erwin Jr.

A memorial service will be held at the United Congregational Church, 9 Castle Hill Rd, Pawcatuck on Saturday January 25 at 1pm. Burial will be private. Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce St., Westerly is in care of the arrangements. For online condolences please visit
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Erwin’s name to the Masonic Lodge, Masonicare or United Congregational Church.