1906-2003

FARMINGTON – During a lifetime spanning nearly a century, 97-year-old Edward (Eddie) Leon Le Clair always kept a close eye on ever-changing events of the 20th century. He tracked these transitions from a world bathed in candlelight, fields of hay, and horse and buggy travel, living on his grandfather Bourgue’s isolated farm in Coplin Plantation. His life’s finale brought space travel, computers, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Down-to-earth and hard headed, he committed his life to hard work and making sure his family “was warm and had enough to eat.” During his lifetime he wore many hats to ensure that goal.

Born in 1906 to Mary Bourque and Joseph Le Clair, he graduated from Stratton High School in 1924. In 1932 he married Irene Cox, the town hairdresser. The couple raised two daughters, Janet and Diane. During his school years he worked on his grandparent’s farm, and some summer vacations he pressed hay and worked in the woods with older men who passed on folklore about the area, the first settlers and the environment of the late 1800s. To the end, he never tired of reminiscing and relating these same stories to anyone who cared to listen.

In 1939, the Le Clair’s bought a house on Blanchard Avenue in the town of Stratton and he lived there for the last 63 years of his life. Over the years he worked at many diverse jobs: Foster Manufacturing, a woodturning mill in the center of town, bus driver and custodian for the Stratton schools system, town constable and Fire Chief, lumbering, pressing hay and guide and caretaker at King and Bartlett sporting camps.

At home he raised chickens and rabbits and trapped muskrats every spring for the furs, which one year paid for the addition of an oil furnace at the Le Clair home. He hunted and fished and always owned a boat of one type or another. He retired at age 68, which he later said was far too early. A dedicated pack rat, after retirement he tinkered with old lawn mowers and bicycles(most of which came from the dump) to keep busy. He gave these repaired items away to any adult or child that needed them.

An exceptionally healthy man, he lived to be 90 without taking any medication or suffering any serious illness. At 94, he spent his first night in the hospital where the medical staff marveled at his good health and mental acuity. He lived his modest life quietly, conscientiously tending his wife Irene for many years while she struggled with Alzheimer’s disease. Strong-willed and unrelenting, to the end, he always insisted on doing things “his way.”

He is survived by two daughters, Janet LeClair and Diane Spaulding; six grandchildren, Vaughn LaVigne, Vicki Savage, Sandra Thibault, Lawrence LaVigne all of Florida, Jeffery Spaulding of Auburn and Steven Spaulding of Madison; 15 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandson.

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