Cornell MacDonald Grout
Cornell MacDonald Grout, Don, died peacefully and well cared for on Oct. 19, 2023, while surrounded by his loving family at Hospice of Jefferson County, in Watertown, New York.
Born on Dec. 17, 1931, in Albany, New York, he was the son of Emily Cornell and Harold MacIntyre Grout.
Don attended Harvey School through sixth grade, and then Hackley Preparatory School in Tarrytown, New York, for the remainder of his college prep school years.
He spent a lifetime of happy summers and ski seasons at the family houses in Sugar Hill and Franconia, New Hampshire working for the Appalachian Mountain Club. He staffed several of the New Hampshire huts and was especially fond of his time at the Greenleaf Hut on Mount Lafayette. Among the highlights of Don’s time working for the Appalachian hut system was one adventure in which the Old Man of the Mountains somehow acquired a large spruce tree goatee overnight.
At Colby College, Don majored in geology, receiving his bachelor of science degree in 1954. While at Colby, he was a member of the Air Force ROTC, Outing Club and the varsity ski team. It was while at Colby that he met the love of his life, his beloved wife Nori. He loved to tell the story of how he tried to meet the pretty girl in the red sweater at the activities fair by recruiting her for an Outing Club canoe trip. She didn’t go on the canoe trip, but she did go on the date. Don was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation and he served as an instructor pilot from 1954 to 1959.
Don married Nori on June 23, 1956, in Bayside, Long Island. After the wedding, they moved to Waco, Texas, where he was stationed at James Connelly Air Force Base, continuing as an instructor pilot. Don loved to share a story of a close call in which one of his students flew them underneath some power lines and still managed to land the plane safely. After leaving the Air Force, Don went to work as a field geologist for St. Joseph Lead Company first in Bonne Terre, Missouri, and then northern New York.
The Grout family spent many happy summers together swimming, sailing, fishing, boating and socializing on Sylvia Lake. Nori and Don were among the founders of the Sylvia Lake Sailing Club, racing Sunfish. For many years Don was a director of the Sylvia Lake Association, ultimately serving as its president. Don’s lifelong love of skiing was an instrumental part of his becoming a co-founder and owner of Juniper Hill Ski Resort in Harrisville, New York, where the whole family learned to ski. Don was a member of the Ski Patrol, and an organizer of the youth ski racing program — the Lollipop Races.
Upon his retirement from the St. Joseph Lead Company, Don worked for many years as a popular and busy substitute teacher in the Gouverneur Central Schools. After the death of his wife, Don moved from Gouverneur to the Adirondacks and built a log home in Lake Placid near three of his daughters and their families. In the last four years, he was also joined by his younger sister, Ruth, who established a residence next door and visited with him often.
Don was an avid outdoorsman and throughout his entire life spent as much time as possible in nature — skiing, hiking, gardening, birding and adventuring. Don knew how to make friends and made many in his time on this Earth. He was unfailingly warm, wise, fun and friendly to all. Don was a Master Gardener with the Cornell Cooperative Extension and relished his time at the Lake Placid farmers market, sharing his vast knowledge and love of plants with those who stopped by the table. For many of the years he lived in Lake Placid, Don was active with the Lake Placid Curling Club and spent much happy time with his friends on the ice. He was also an avid reader and enjoyed his Book Club meetings with fellow readers at the Bookstore Plus.
Don was predeceased by his beloved wife, Nori, and his sister, Janet Grout Williams.
He is survived by his sister, Ruth Vaill; four daughters and three sons-in-law, Emily and Phil Sprague, Margie and Patrick Gallagher, Tricia and Bob Garrett and Andrea Grout. Don loved his seven grandchildren: Caroline (JJ) Sprague, Julia (John) Wright, Carleigh, Conor, and Brenna Garrett; Glenice Gallagher; and Eleanor Evans; and his two great grandsons, John and James Wright. Eva Eich, once the family’s exchange student, now and forever a member of the family also mourns her American dad. Don also leaves behind many loving extended family members and friends.
Don’s final days were made more bearable by a legion of wonderful caregivers — his daughters and their families and some incredibly kind and invaluable home health caregivers. Don’s family would like to thank Jefferson County Hospice for their expert, kind and compassionate care of their beloved Papa in his final days.
We will honor Papa Don’s memory in Lake Placid on the weekend of Oct. 27-28. Calling hours will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27 at the M. B. Clark, Inc. Funeral Home in Lake Placid. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday Oct. 28 at St. Agnes Church, 169 Hillcrest Ave., Lake Placid.
Arrangements are with M.B. Clark Funeral Home, 2310 Saranac Ave.
Visit www.mbclarkfuneralhome.com to share a memory or leave condolences for Don’s family to cherish.
Those who wish to honor Don’s memory can do so by donating to Jefferson County Hospice at www.jeffersonhospice.org or to Essex County Cornell Cooperative Extension.