Mr. Vernon "Mac" J. MacPherson, 93 years, a longtime resident of Massena (and more recently Partridge Knoll in Canton) died Friday morning (July 15, 2011) at the Canton-Potsdam Hospital. He was born in Tupper Lake on January 31, 1918. He was the son of the late Roy and Blanche (Yelle) MacPherson. As a young boy he moved with his family to Cornwall, Ontario and then Nyando, NY (now Rooseveltown).
He attended Massena High School on Bridges Avenue, and on February 3, 1941 was married to his beloved wife, Emily Mae (Fregoe) in Sacred Heart Church in Massena. He worked for a time at the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) on Center Street in Massena. In 1942 he began what was to become a 38 year career with the Massena Post Office. (He continued a family tradition in the Postal Service in the sense that his father Roy had been a Railway Mail Clerk on the New York & Ottawa Railroad.) When Vernon began work with the Postal Service it was still the day of a three-cent letter and a penny postcard.
His career was interrupted when he was called to duty during the Second World War. He served under General Alexander McCarrell Patch in the 15th Corps of the 7th Army in the European Theatre. He was involved in the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp, and was an observer at the Nuremberg Trials. He was honorably discharged with a rank of Master Sergeant, returned to Massena, and resumed his career at the Post Office. He was promoted to Superintendent of Mails in 1958, and in 1971 received his Commission as Postmaster - the first Postmaster in Massena to be promoted through the ranks. He served as Postmaster until his retirement on December 31, 1979. During the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, Vernon also worked part-time as payroll administrator for the B. P. Perini Company. His efforts contributed to the completion of the Grasse River Lock (renamed the Snell Lock).
Vernon was active in community affairs. He was a director of the Massena Chamber of Commerce and served on the Canton ATC Advisory Board for Continuing Education. He was a member of the Massena Rotary Club, a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary, a member of the Massena Country Club, the National Association of Postmasters, the National League of Postmasters and President of the St. Lawrence County Postmasters Association. He was also a life member of both the Knights of Columbus Council # 1141 and the American Legion Post # 79.The American Legion Post # 79 will pay their respects Friday evening at 7:15 pm at the funeral home, The Knights of Columbus Council # 1141 will hold a memorial service Friday evening 7:45 pm at the Philips Memorial Home,
Vernon and Emily were enthusiastic dancers and were members of the Seaway Squares Dance Club and the Canton Carousel Round Dance Club. He enjoyed golf, reading, crossword puzzles, card games (especially bridge), oil painting, and going out for breakfast with family and friends. He was an active parishioner at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and had served on the parish council.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 70 years, Emily; his son, Brian and his wife Donna of Burlington, VT; his daughter, Patrice and her husband Bo Lysell of Atlanta; four grandchildren, Maximilian MacPherson of Burlington, VT, Augusta MacPherson of Napa, CA, Kerstin Lysell Bagley and her husband Ben of Lakeville, and Anna Lisa Lysell and her fiancé Matthew McLaughlin of Boston, MA; a brother, Vaughn; a sister, Donna Sheffield; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by three brothers, Duane, Glenn, and Dale.
Calling hours will be Friday (July 22, 2011) from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Phillips Memorial Home, Massena. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Saturday (July 23, 2011) at 10:00 a.m. with full Military Honors at St. Mary’s Church, Massena with Rev. J. Michael Gaffney presiding. Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery on Maple Street in Massena.
Online condolences may be made to www.phillipsmemorial.com.