VERNON >> Darwin J. La Clair, age 76, passed away unexpectedly Sunday afternoon June 22, 2014 from injuries sustained in a farming accident.
He was born on Oct. 23, 1937 in Ellenburg Center, N.Y. a son of the late Norman and Adah La Clair and was a graduate of St. Joseph's School of Utica.
During the Korean Conflict Darwin proudly served with the U.S. Navy aboard the USS intrepid in 1955; 1956 the USS Randolph, both aircraft carries and in 1957-1958 at the US Naval Air station at Quonset Point, R.I. While aboard the USS Intrepid while a tour was taking place a four year old girl ran from her family and fell from a 15 feet personal elevator and was caught in the arms of Mr. LaClair on the lower deck.
On May 18, 1968 Darwin and Mary Adele Strife were united in marriage in Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica and have shared a union of over 45 years together.
Prior to his retirement in 1994 Darwin was employed for over 50 years with the airline industry including, Mohawk, Allegany, Piedmont, US Air and US Airways. On Feb. 14, 1994 while Darwin and his co-workers were servicing an airplane a fire broke out and he and his co-workers were commended for stopping a near over-whelming disaster. He also served as the maintenance supervisor at Vernon Downs for 15 years.
At the young age of 14 Darwin started a career driving, training and caring for standard bred horses, a career that brought him much joy and success.
His memberships include, HHA of CNY, USTA, the Breakfast Club at Nothing Fancy Café, he was a Union Representative with the Sheet Metal workers, a member of the Teamsters Union and a past member of the Knights of Columbus.
Surviving is his wife, Mary Adele La Clair of Vernon; one daughter, Vanessa (Kevin) Lerch of Verona; two sons, Verne (Amy) La Clair of Oriskany Falls and Dean (Lisa) La Clair Esq. of Syracuse; his beloved grandchildren, Tiffany and Raymond Lerch and Alexis, Kendall and Eden La Clair; one cherished great-grandson, Owen; five brothers, Ronald, Russell, Peter, Norman and Keith La Clair; three sisters, Monica Shirley Laboda, Carol Ann Poupore and Barbara Ann Cook. Also surviving is his loyal canine companion Duke.
Darwin was predeceased by his parents and two sisters, Diana LaClair and Cynthia Venturini.
Family and friends are invited to call on Wednesday from 4-7 p.m. at the Malecki Funeral Home Inc., 23 Front St., Vernon. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Holy Family Church, Peterboro Street, Vernon. Burial with military honors will follow in St. Helena's Cemetery, Oneida, N.Y.
Published in The Oneida Daily Dispatch on June 24, 2014
Malecki Funeral Home
23 Front St Vernon , NY 13476