SARANAC LAKE - Wallace C. "Wally" Gay, 85, of 24 Maryland Ave., Saranac Lake, died Saturday, March 3, 2012, at AMC-Mercy in Tupper Lake.
Born in Saranac Lake on Jan. 13, 1927, he was the son of Wallace and Mathilda (Colby) Gay. He married Donalda Maple on May 12, 1951, in Rochester.
Wally attended local schools and participated in many school activities, such as assemblies and intramural sports, as well as being captain of the safety patrol and president of the Hi-Y Club. His favorite pastime was sports. He played baseball for three years and was the team captain for all three years. He played hockey and football. He was "first string" to all three sports. He graduated in 1944, when he was voted class athlete.
Wally enlisted in the United States Navy after graduation and served as a radar man aboard the U.S.S Savanna. This ship was a light cruiser and saw much action during World War II. Wally was honorably discharged in 1946 and was in the Naval Reserve for seven years.
Wally worked at the Trudeau Laboratory on Church Street for nine years. He then worked as a patrolman for the Saranac Lake Village Police Department for 10 years and the New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation for 13 years. He also worked as chief of security at Paul Smith's College for seven years, retiring in 1989. He has worked as a monitor at Saranac Lake High School since 1995.
He is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Saranac Lake, where he served as head usher for over 20 years and on various committees. He was also a member of the church's Men's Club. He is a life member of American Legion Post 447, having served two terms as commander. He was also a member of the Legion bowling team for 20 years.
Wally was involved as both a player and manager of several baseball and softball teams for many years, including the Saranac Lake Chiefs, the Brighton Blues, the Mar-Mac softball team and the Saranac Lakers' entry into the Champlain Valley Baseball League. He was also involved with Meals on Wheels.
Wally enjoyed being with the young people at school and was very surprised and thrilled when he was chosen as archbishop of the Saranac Lake 2004 Winter Carnival. Wally was always the proud grandfather of two sets of twins: Katie, Madie, Emily and Andrew
He is survived by his wife Donny Gay of Saranac Lake; one daughter Barbara Fitchett of Los Angels, Calif.; one son John Gay and his wife Robin of Vermontville; four grandchildren: Katelyn, Madelyn, Emily and Andrew Gay, all of Vermontville; two sisters Alice Grinnell of Cleveland, Ohio, and Esther Miller and her husband Allan of Manlius.
He was predeceased by his father, mother and one brother-in-law Roy Grinnell.
Calling hours will take place at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 6. A Veterans Memorial Association Service will take place Tuesday evening at 6:45 p.m. at the funeral home. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 7, at the First United Methodist Church in Saranac Lake with the Rev. Michael Richards officiating. Burial will take place in North Elba Cemetery in the spring.
Friends wishing to remember Wallace C. Gay may make memorial contributions to High Peaks Hospice or Saranac Lake Police Benevolent Association in care of the funeral home. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.