GOUVERNEUR – Claude R. Gates, age 103, of Gouverneur, passed away on October 7, 2017 at home under private and hospice care.
There will be a graveside service in the Riverside Cemetery, Section Q, in Gouverneur on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. with military honors. Arrangements are with French Funeral Home, Gouverneur.
Claude was born on July 1, 1914 in Gouverneur, one of 16 children born to the late Claude H. and Agnes (Shortt) Gates. He graduated from the Gouverneur High School in 1935. Claude played the trumpet with the Don Bulger dance orchestra from 1933 – 1938 throughout the North Country and Western Florida. He also played the alto horn with the Gouverneur Senior Citizens Band, playing weekly concerts in the park.
In March of 1941, Claude was drafted into the United States Army where he lived in tents all summer as part of the 12th Infantry Division. He promoted up to Sergeant and then Master-Sergeant before his honorable discharge on June 28, 1945. He received the American Defense Service Medal with 1 bronze star, the American Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
Mr. Gates married Alma R. Bancroft on November 20, 1940 at the St. James Catholic Church and honeymooned at Rockaway Beach, NJ. Alma passed away on December 1, 2003 after a long illness.
Claude retired from the Natural Dam Paper Mill in 1983 after 23 years of employment there. He previously worked at Gouverneur Talc from 1948 – 1960 and the NYC Railroad from 1945 – 1948. He was a charter member of the Gouverneur Elks Lodge #2035, a member of St. James Church, and in the late 1950's was appointed by Sherriff Lefty Allen to head the Auxiliary Police (Civil Defense) to work under the direction of the Gouverneur Police Department.
He is survived by many nieces and nephews. In addition to his wife, he is predeceased by his brothers, Yale, Paul Kenneth, Jerome and James Kermit "Bill"; and sisters, Vena Davey, Orpha Bennett, Ann Brown, Teresa Mary Butler, Mary Moran, Elenor J. "Betty" Gates, Rita Gates, Edith Gates, and Leonilda "Jane" Gates.
Donations in memory of Claude may be made to Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley, 6805 US HWY 11, Potsdam NY 13676. Condolences may be shared online at www.frenchfuneralhomes.com.