William A. "Bill" Delahant, 72, of 13 Placid Heights Lane, died suddenly, with his loving family by his side, on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at CVPH in Plattsburgh.
Born Oct. 18, 1944, in New York City, he was the oldest son of John F. "Jack" Delahant Jr., and Helen M. (Trouve) Delahant.
The family moved to Saranac Lake shortly thereafter, where his love of downhill skiing was born. Bill went to work for Mr. Meyer at Meyer's Drug Store, which began his path to being a pharmacist and later, business proprietor. Bill graduated from Saranac Lake High School in 1962 where he was on the ski team, played football, baseball and basketball. He then went on to graduate from the Albany College of Pharmacy in 1967, with a professional degree in pharmacy.
Upon returning to Saranac Lake from college, Bill was drafted into the United States Army on Oct. 22, 1968. He was then sent to Quang-Tri Province in Vietnam, where he served as a pharmacist and medic in a field hospital, assigned to the 44th Medical Brigade of 5th Infantry Division. Upon his honorable discharge on July 23, 1970, Specialist (E-4) Delahant, was asked if he would like to be instantly promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, due to his pharmaceutical background and the critical need for their services. The only catch was he would have to return to Vietnam and serve another tour. Bill graciously declined.
He met the love of his life, Terry J. (Praeger) Delahant in Plattsburgh, and the couple married on New Year's Day in 1978, at the Community Church in Lake Placid. They only told family and one friend, about their wedding. Bill proudly bragged they got it done during the half-time of the AFC Championship game that day, "making it home and only missing three sets of downs.
In 1975, Bill purchased Marshall's Drug Store in Lake Placid. He changed the name to Lake Placid Drugs, which became a well-known local gathering place. Many people recall visiting the lunch counter, where so many friendships were born in our community. Bill was very proud to open early, have the coffee ready, and be open every day of the year. He often bragged about being a short-order cook, "slinging hash and home fries."
During the 1980 Winter Olympics, Bill offered up his extra space in the building, to sleep the "Solomon Ski" company employees on cots, while they operated a small ski repair shop inside, 24 hours a day during the games. His only known regret was not buying the tickets he was offered for the famous Miracle on Ice hockey game. Bill eventually closed the Lake Placid Pharmacy, converting it to just an over-the-counter sales store, along with the lunch counter.
He purchased Pleasant Valley Pharmacy in Elizabethtown a few years later, running both businesses simultaneously. He would later "retire" his pharmacist duties in Elizabethtown, after he sold it to Kinney Drugs. His service to his community made him a very well-known person in Lake Placid, Elizabethtown and the surrounding communities where he worked as a fill-in pharmacist.
Bill was a second-generation Yankee fan, which passed on to his oldest son. He would perfect his Mickey Mantle batting swing in front of the mirror as a child, which ended abruptly when he accidently sent his brother to the hospital for standing too close to him. This became family tradition when his oldest son did the same thing to his brother while trying to perfect his Don Mattingly swing. Bill also loved the New York Giants football and New York Rangers. He gave up on the New York Knicks. He spent many winter days cutting powder on the slopes of Whiteface Mountain and talking about the old days of skiing in Colorado.
He enjoyed taking his family on trips to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, in the old family station wagon, as well as trips to Disney World and Yankees' spring training games.
Although "retired" at the time of his death, Bill was proud to be able to work side by side with his youngest son at the Lake Placid Christmas Company, being "fired" only once.
He was the president of the Stevenson Society of America, Inc., which owns and operates the Robert Louis Stevenson Memorial Cottage in Saranac Lake. He served on the vestry at St. Eustace Episcopal Church and was an active member of American Legion Post 326 in Lake Placid.
Survivors include his wife; two sons: Nicholas P. (Diane) of Saranac Lake, and Scott M. of Lake Placid; two brothers: Thomas H. and J. Michael (Karla) of Saranac Lake; two grandchildren who will miss their "Pop Pop": Alexander C. and Madelyn L. of Saranac Lake; and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents, several close friends, and his many four-legged friends.
Calling hours were held Monday, Jan. 9 at the M.B. Clark Funeral Home in Lake Placid. An American Legion Prayer service took place at 7:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 at St. Eustace Church in Lake Placid with the Rev. David K. Ousley officiating. Cremation followed.
Memorial contributions may be made to "North Country Life Flight" at www.northcountrylifeflight.org, the Tri Lakes Humane Society of Saranac Lake, www.attlhsny.webs.com, or the Stevenson Society of America Inc. to a charity of your choice in memory of Bill.
Relatives and friends are invited to share a memory, order flowers, upload a photo or leave online condolences at www.mbclarkfuneralhome.com.