Memorial Day around the Tri-Lakes

Parades, ceremonies planned around the region

Veterans and Saranac Lake volunteer firefighters march in the Saranac Lake Memorial Day Parade in May 2023. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

Monday is Memorial Day. First celebrated on May 30, 1868, the holiday was originally called Decoration Day and was commemorated by decorating the graves of soldiers killed in the Civil War. New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day as a legal holiday in 1873. It wasn’t until after World War I that the holiday shifted to celebrating all deceased American soldiers, and in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as an annual national holiday on the last Monday in May.

Across the Tri-Lakes, celebrations and parades have been planned to honor the memory of soldiers who died in service of their country.

Saranac Lake

The Saranac Lake Memorial Day parade and ceremony will kick off at 10:40 a.m. at the Saranac Lake Veteran’s Association at 202 Broadway, with parade line-up starting at 10:30 a.m. The parade route will go down Broadway, toward Main Street, and end in Riverside Park, where there will be a ceremony honoring Saranac Lake’s deceased soldiers. The ceremony will be followed by a public reception back at the Veteran’s Association.

Tupper Lake

In Tupper Lake, a ceremony is slated for 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park on Park Street. The ceremony will be hosted by the Marine Corps League and will include performances from the Tupper Lake Middle-High School band and the Tupper Lake honor guard.

Lake Placid

Lake Placid’s Memorial Day commemorations will start on Saturday morning, with veterans from the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, Adirondack Homeward Bound and St. Joseph’s Recovery Center meeting at 9 a.m. at St. Agnes Cemetery to place flags on the graves of all veterans. After St. Agnes Cemetery, the group will place flags at the North Elba Cemetery and Lake Placid Synagogue Cemetery. Volunteers are welcome to join the group.

On Monday, the Lake Placid American Legion Post 326 will lower six flags that have been flying since Memorial Day and raise six new flags in honor of local veterans who have died.

At 9:30 a.m. at the Adirondack Community Church, which is at 2583 Main St., a flag honoring Roland White will be lowered and a flag honoring Robert Fadden will be raised. White died in August at 90 years old. He was born in 1933 in Lake Placid and served during the Korean War. Following honorable discharge in 1955, he married Alta Supernaw and together they raised six children in Lake Placid. From 1976 to 2000, he worked as golf course superintendent at the Bald Peak Colony Club in Melvin Village, New Hampshire. Fadden died in May 2011 and served in the Army during World War II. He married Dorris Fadden in 1943 and was a father of two, grandfather of three and great-grandfather of one at the time of his death.

At 9:50 a.m. at Elderwood of Uihlein, which is at 185 Old Military Road, a flag honoring Henry “Hank” Trombley will be lowered and a flag honoring Dennis Smythe will be raised. Trombley died in June 2021 at 89 years old. He was born in Plattsburgh in 1932 and served in the Air Force during the Korean War as a surgical medic. Trombley married Gayle Reynolds Wilson in 1985 and was a stepfather of four, grandfather of five and great-grandfather of two at the time of his death. Smythe died in December 2013 at 62 years old. He was born in Lake Placid in 1951 and graduated from Lake Placid High School in 1969. He enlisted in the Army in 1971 and served for five years, then returned to Lake Placid, where he worked for village police. Smythe loved sports and fishing.

At 10 a.m. at the Lake Placid Health and Medical Fitness Center, which is at 203 Old Military Road, a flag honoring John Peters will be lowered and a flag honoring Clifford “Kip” Wells will be raised. Peters was a veteran of the Army. A transplant to Lake Placid, he loved to spend time at the ski jumps and volunteer around town. Wells died in December 2020 at 87 years old. He was born in Saranac Lake in 1933 and served in the Army in Germany and as an MP during the Korean War. After his discharge from the Army, he worked as a chef at Placid Memorial Hospital and the Lake Placid Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. Wells married Greta Maynard in 1956 in Lake Placid and was a father of one, grandfather of three and great-grandfather of eight at the time of his death.

At 10:20 a.m., the current flag at the North Elba Cemetery, which flies in honor of all deceased local veterans, will be retired and replaced with a new one.

Afterwards, at 11 a.m., there will be a parade on Main Street. The parade will kick off at the intersection of Main Street and Saranac Avenue and will make its way to the American Legion on Main Street. All local veterans are encouraged to walk in the parade.

Following the parade, there will be a closing ceremony and public luncheon at the American Legion. During the closing ceremony, flags honoring William “Bill” Kelly, James Staats and Betty Jean Trantham will be lowered. Kelly died in June 2023 at 95 years old. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945 and served with the Army Corps of Engineers, where he was stationed in Austria, until 1948. He was recalled to serve in the Korean War a few years later and was discharged after 10 months. Kelly returned to Lake Placid and worked in construction. He was also a member of the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department and the husband of Mildred Pelkey. Staats died in 2023 at 54 years old. He was born in 1968 in Lake Placid and served in the U.S. Navy for 27 years, retiring as a Gunner’s Mate, first class. With his wife, Lori, he was a full-time traveler in their RV. Trantham died in January 2023 at 72 years old. She was born in Lake Placid in 1950.

The American Legion will then raise flags honoring Robert Peacock, Douglas Bissonette and Alfred Von Dell, then place a wreath at the Legion’s memorial monument in honor of all veterans. Peacock died in November 2023 at 79 years old. He was born in Lake Placid in 1944, excelled at sports in high school and, following graduation, served in the Army, stationed in Korea. He enjoyed playing golf, driving his old car and going to garage sales — even meeting his wife, MarieLine Desilets, at a flea market in 2003. He’s survived by an extended family of siblings, nieces and nephews and in-laws. Bissonette died in March 2016 at 73 years old. Born in Malone in 1942, Bissonette served in the Army from 1964 to 1970 and later worked as a state Department of Environmental Conservation forest ranger. He married Debbie Cobane in 1967 and they raised four sons together. Von Dell died in 1997 at age 87. He married Phyllis Salem in 1931 and they raised seven children together in Lake Placid.


American Legion Marcy Post 1312 will host a Memorial Day ceremony at the Keene veterans memorial on Norton Cemetery Road at 10 a.m. on Monday. The ceremony will feature taps, music and a rifle salute.


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