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Doug Bissonette

March 31, 2016
Lake Placid News

Doug Bissonette passed away surrounded by family and friends on March 22, 2016, at his home in Lake Placid.

Doug was born in Malone on Oct. 26, 1942, to Carl and Geraldine Bissonette. He moved with his family to Lake Placid in 1945, spending most of his life in that community and the mountains and woods that surround it. His outdoor training began with the Boy Scouts. He was active with Troop 10 of Lake Placid from 1953 until 1982. He graduated from Lake Placid High School in 1961 and proudly served in the Army from 1964 to 1966 as a cartographic draftsman. Following the Army, Doug enrolled at the state Ranger School in Wanakena and graduated in 1968. Immediately following graduation he began his remarkable career as a New York state forest ranger.

At nearly the same time, he began a lifelong journey with Debbie Cobane, whom he married on Dec. 23, 1967. They raised four sons: Todd of Glens Falls, Edward Scott of Lake Placid, Timothy of North Hero, Vermont and Paul of Saranac Lake. The Bissonette name and legacy continues in future generations. Todd has two children, Timothy is married to Rebecca and they are raising three children, and Paul is married to Laura and they also have two children. Doug shared and passed on his love for the outdoors to them as well as countless friends and scouts.

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Doug took great pride in his family and his career. In 1970, Doug would return to Lake Placid as a forest ranger. He patrolled the Forest Preserve, primarily in the towns of Wilmington and Jay, until his retirement in 1999. He participated in more than 225 search-and-rescue missions and countless wild fires. When assigned a task, Doug would immerse himself into the most finite detail. Perhaps Doug's greatest legacy to the forest rangers was the creation of the helicopter crew chief position. As helicopters came into wide use for rescue operations in the 1970s, it became apparent the pilot and co-pilot needed assistance in searching the terrain below, monitoring the crew or equipment, operating the hoist to insert people while the helicopter remained in a hover. Doug would pioneer this crucial position and train the forest rangers throughout the state.

After retirement, Doug continued his outdoor pursuits. He was an avid hunter and in later years began travelling to Florida in the winters. Doug was always happy to share his knowledge and did so to countless scouts and younger forest rangers, whom he always offered to help, even in retirement. Words like pride and integrity seem inadequate when trying to describe the life and career of Forest Ranger Doug Bissonette. He was beloved. He cannot be replaced, but his legacy and love will last with all who knew him, forever.

In addition to his wife, children and grandchildren, Doug is survived by sisters Gail White of Schenectady, Susan Brown of Boise, Idaho, and a brother Bryon, of Plattsburgh.

Calling hours were held Monday, March 28, at M.B. Clark Inc. Funeral Home in Lake Placid. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Tuesday, March 29 at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Forest Ranger Scholarship foundation at PPOB 72 Warrensburg, NY 12885.

Relatives and friends are invited to share a memory or prayer, upload a photograph, order flowers or leave online condolences at



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