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Saranac Lake woman being laid in Arlington with husband, a WWII spy

Suzanne Joyeuse (Photo provided)

SARANAC LAKE — A Saranac Lake woman who died last year will be laid to rest Friday at Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband, who served as an Allied spy in World War II.

Suzanne G. (Bouffon) Joyeuse, of McKenzie Pond Road, was 90 years old when she died at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake on March 4, 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to take hold. She was born Oct. 15, 1929, in Autun, France.

Inurnment has been delayed, but her son Remi Joyeuse said this week her ashes will be laid at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Friday. She will share a mausoleum with her husband Dr. Rene Joyeuse of Saranac Lake, whose ashes were laid there in 2013.

Arlington National Cemetery is for “soldiers who die on active duty, retired members of the armed forces, and certain veterans and family members,” according to the U.S. Army website.

The Swiss-born Rene Veuve changed his surname after World War II to his military code name, Joyeuse, French for “happy.” He worked with the French resistance for the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency, and parachuted behind German lines before D-Day to gather intelligence about German military installations and troop movements so the Allies could bombard them before the invasion. He is credited with helping to rescue many downed American servicemen behind the lines. He later served with the French military in Southeast Asia and was awarded numerous military medals by the U.S., France and Laos.

Rene (Veuve) Joyeuse during World War II (Photo provided)

He went on to study medicine in Paris, where he met Suzanne, a nurse. They married in Washington, D.C., and lived in the U.S. throughout their 57-year marriage. She worked as a surgical nurse at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, while he earned his master’s degree in surgery. He became a noted surgeon who worked on the first biological heart valve replacement and helped improve modern trauma treatment.

The couple lived their last decades quietly in Saranac Lake, where his accomplishments were mostly unknown until after he died in 2012 at the age of 92. A Saranac Lake Walk of Fame plaque in his name is now set on the Veterans Memorial Association building on Broadway.

Suzanne Joyeuse, in a wheelchair, attends an interment ceremony for her husband Dr. Rene Joyeuse in March 2013 at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. The couple’s sons Remi and Marc are also present. (Provided photo — Clyde Rabideau)

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