Leon Kenneth LaClair, age 100, born Oct. 24, 1919, in Danville, Vermont, died June 28, 2020 at Ledgewood Manor in Windham, Maine. He was the son of the late Clara Duclos LaClair and Albert LaClair. His wife Delphine Heath LaClair, predeceased him in 2000.
He leaves three daughters and a daughter-in-law: Brenda Wright and her husband Charles of Bolton, Massachusetts; Trudy Wright and her husband Richard of Poland, Maine; Lauri Perry and her husband Douglas of Temperance, Michigan; and Patricia Canty LaClair of Portland, Maine. His son Brian predeceased him in 2012. He also leaves a sister, Charlotte Bradburn. Brothers and sisters who predeceased him are: Eugene, Lorana, Odile, Cecil, Adella, Albert, Luella, Laura, and Raymond. He leaves nine grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.
Leon graduated as a draftsman from St. Johnsbury Vocational School in 1938 where he received incredible skills that he used the rest of his life in many ways and places including work and help to others. He began his career in Worcester, Massachusetts in a machine shop there, then Fellows Gear Shaper in Springfield, Vermont in the Mills and Drills Department working with milling machines. He then moved to Schenectady, N.Y. where he worked at General Electric during WWII. Upon moving to St. Johnsbury, Vermont he opened his own machine shop and worked at Ralston Purina for 25 years, while building his own home. Upon retirement from Purina, he used his education and experience to learn the sheet metal trade and opened and operated the LaClair Sheet Metal Shop in St. Johnsbury where his son later joined him and continued the business.
He used his talents and expertise to create, repair, and design equipment for Cary’s Maple Sugar, the St. Johnsbury Seventh-day Adventist Church, local restaurants, the hospital and many other places of business and for private parties and local maple sugaring businesses. He continued to help his church and to cut wood until he was 95 years of age.
He was very proud of his children and his grandchildren and was a member of the St. Johnsbury Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, a former member of Grange, and a Kiwanis member. He made many friends at Purina, his church, Grange, and Kiwanis.
A private graveside service will take place at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Donations in Leon’s memory can be made to the Caledonia Christian School, 54 Southard St., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819. Funeral arrangements are by Sayles Funeral Home, St. Johnsbury, Vermont.