Harry Edward LaBrake
With heavy hearts, we regret to announce the passing of our beloved Harry Edward LaBrake, 92, of Lake Placid on Feb. 17, 2021, at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida.
Harry was born in August of 1928 at the Alpine Hotel in Saranac Lake. He was the son of Harry Edward LaBrake Sr. and Ella Mae Walker, but was raised by his mother and stepfather James Alfred Peacock after his father died in 1931. His maternal grandparents were Millard Fillmore Walker and Gertrude Livingston of Albany, and his paternal grandparents were Edward LaBrake and Mary Elizabeth Paye of Keeseville.
Harry grew up in Saranac Lake with his cousins George and Orville Paye, and all through his high school years he played football, baseball and basketball for the Saranac Lake Redskins, and was a speedskater along with teammates Linus Fobare and Tom Fina. He enlisted in the National Guard at 17 years of age in 1946 and rose to corporal status before being honorably discharged in 1950.
On May 5, 1951, he married Aline Wilcox, daughter of Horace William Wilcox and Blanche Louise Reyome in Lake Placid. He worked for his in-laws driving for Bill’s Taxi Service and also as a waterski instructor at Camp Caribou on Lake Placid lake, and he and Aline ran the Lakeland Beach Cottages’ Snack Bar for multiple seasons. In the late ’50s, they packed up and moved to Florida for the winters where Harry worked in construction and welding, building churches, houses and one of the first hotels on Sanibel Island. In 1962, Harry, along with his family, returned to Lake Placid, where he then helped build the Northway near Plattsburgh, the annex of Lakeside Motel on Mirror Lake, the Uhlein Mercy Center and the W. Alton Jones Cell Science Center, where he became building superintendent. After he retired, he and his son Mike started LaBrake Construction.
He was both a past president of the Lake Placid Historical Society and of the Skating Club of Lake Placid. He loved to dance, tell stories, write poetry and spend time with his ever-growing family.
Harry was predeceased by his parents, infant brother Charles, brother Kenneth (Scotti) and wife Helen, stepbrother Thomas Peacock and Harry’s son Michael James LaBrake. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Aline; his two daughters Yvette LaBrake Kirchgesner (Blaise) of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and Leanne LaBrake Matos of Wilmington; two sons, Jeffrey LaBrake of Miami, Florida, and Scott LaBrake (Brenda Watson) of Lake Placid; also Michael’s widow Kathleen Callahan McBride. He also is survived by 14 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, 11 step-great-grandchildren and seven step-great-great-grandchildren, his in-laws Carolyn Thompson, Babette Ledwith and Betsy Wilcox, along with numerous nieces, nephews and their families.
Harry will be cremated and in the spring will be returned home to his final resting place to be buried in the North Elba Cemetery in Lake Placid. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service. Please wear your masks and keep your families safe. We love you all.