MASSENA – Francis B. LaDuke, 81, a longtime resident of Allen Street, passed away early Friday morning, December 30, 2022 at the Massena Rehabilitation and Nursing Center after a brief stay.
Fran was born on February 19, 1941 in Potsdam, the son of the late Louis and Irene (Ruddy) LaDuke. He was raised in Potsdam, graduating from Potsdam Central High School in 1959. He proudly served his country in the US Army, honorably discharging on January 31, 1969. On June 27, 1964, he married Ann Backus at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Potsdam with his uncle, Rev. Francis Ruddy, officiating.
Fran worked for a short time for Antenna Systems, before starting a career with New York Telephone and Verizon. He retired as a lineman after 30 years of service. After his retirement, Fran worked with the Donaldson Funeral Home in Massena for several years. Fran committed many years to his community as a fireman, starting with Potsdam Volunteer Fire Department and continuing with Massena Volunteer Fire Department for 50 years. He was currently a member of the Massena Exempt Firemen. He was active with the Massena Pirates Firematic Drill Team and was a member of the Massena Elks Lodge, American Legion, and played for the Massena Warriors Football Team. Fran was an avid waterfowl hunter and although unsuccessful, he enjoyed fishing being claimed as the “Best Bottom Catcher North of Watertown.” Sports were always a big part of Fran’s life, he coached boys and girls hockey and girls softball, played softball with the fire department, bowling, and enjoyed watching his kids play sports. During the summer months, he could be found tinkering on various projects at the camp on the St. Lawrence River.
Fran is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ann; his children, Brian J. and Pam LaDuke of Livonia, F. Heather LaDuke of Middlebury, Vermont, and Chad B. and Marlene LaDuke of Walworth; his grandchildren, Alysha, Lauren, Justin, Josephine, and Juliana LaDuke; his grandpets, Kia, Keuka, Drake, and Genny; and his great grandkitties, Mila and Duke.
He is also survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Oppelt of Greece, New York; his brothers, James and Susie LaDuke, Thomas LaDuke and Carole Reid, and Ronald and Nora LaDuke, all of Watertown; his sisters-in-law, Faith and James Armstrong of Lisbon and Marge Backus of Acton, Massachusetts; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his mother and father-in-law, Kenneth and Helen Backus, and his brother-in-laws, Gail Backus and Peter Oppelt.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Donaldson Funeral Home, Massena where services will be held privately. A celebration of his life and burial in White Church Cemetery, Lisbon will be held in the spring of 2023.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing may consider memorial contributions to be made in his memory to Massena Volunteer Fire Department or the National Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
Friends are encouraged to share memories and offer condolences online at www.donaldsonfh.com.