The Tri-Lakes area bid farewell to several widely beloved community members in 2012.
Forrest "Dew Drop" Morgan died on Nov. 10. He was the patriarch of a big extended family in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, and will be remembered as one of Saranac Lake's most famous figures. A restaurant owner, bobsled champion, World War II prisoner of war and rabid New York Yankees fan, Morgan was called "Mr. Saranac Lake" by Saranac Lake Mayor Clyde Rabideau.
"No other person was so emblematic of Saranac Lake's zest for life," Rabideau said in a statement released after Morgan's death.
If Morgan was Mr. Saranac Lake, Joyce Morency was Ms. Bloomingdale. The town of St. Armand's longtime supervisor died on Dec. 3 after a hard-fought and lengthy battle with cancer.
Morency was remembered as one of the most influential female politicians in Essex County history. She was among the county's first women elected as a town supervisor, and in 1994 she became the first chairwoman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors. She was also chair of the county's Republican committee for many years.
The town of North Elba lost its "elder statesman" in 2012. Matt Clark, who served as the town's clerk for nearly 30 years and as supervisor for 14 years, died on Nov. 23 at his home in Lake Placid.
Clark had dedicated his life to public service. The town's current supervisor, Roby Politi, said Clark taught him that nothing is more important than serving one's home community.
Dennis Ryan, another beloved Placidian, died unexpectedly on May 21. Ryan founded the J. Bernard Fell Olympic Torch Restoration Committee and led the effort to light a restored Olympic torch on opening day of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The greater North Country region also mourned the death of former Congressman Dave Martin, who died on Nov. 20. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Martin has been widely credited with persuading the Army to station its 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum near Watertown, a move that helped reinvigorate that area's economy.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.