Frances J. Conde Sr.
Carpentry was a constant in the life of Francis J. Conde Sr.
He earned his living in the trade, as a member of Local #117 in Albany. It brought him to his wife, and it was a skill he wanted to pass on to his children.
Mr. Conde, of Johnstown, died on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, at the Fulton Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Gloversville. He was 77.
He was born on Aug. 24, 1936, in Troy, where he grew up. His father, Alfred Conde, worked for the arsenal, and his mother, Bertha Harrison Conde, was a homemaker.
“He went to school and, like any other boy, he liked cars and girls,” said his wife, Theresa.
He also liked to fish, she said, in both salt water and freshwater. He liked boats and the serenity of being out on the water, said his son, Thomas DeMileo. “He loved lakes,” he said. “Pecks Lake was a favorite.”
When Mr. Conde was 18 or 19, she said, he joined the United States Air Force. He was honorably discharged. He didn’t talk about his service, Mrs. Conde said, but was a member of the Voorheesville Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, where their daughter was married.
How did the couple meet?
“My father asked him to fix my front door,” said Mrs. Conde, adding with a chuckle, “He took a couple of days. He was a good carpenter and he didn’t charge me much.”
The couple married on Aug. 21, 1970. Their union ended only with his death.
Mrs. Conde went on, “He loved being a cabinetmaker — that’s what he called himself.”
The couple enjoyed taking rides down different roads and picnicking along the Mohawk River. “He loved the country,” said Mrs. Conde, “and always wanted to move to the country.”
The Condes bought a shell of a house on Swift Road in New Scotland, back before the road was built up. “We paid $16,500 for it. It didn’t even have walls,” said Mrs. Conde. “We fixed it up ourselves.”
Mr. Conde put his carpentry skills to work for his family. “I helped him carry the Sheetrock,” said his wife. “And we did the wallpapering together. That was fun.”
The Condes enjoyed living on Swift Road, but it became too costly, Mrs. Conde said. “When the water came through,” she said of the municipal service, “a lot of big houses went up. It got to be too expensive with the taxes. It was just a country road when we moved in.”
So the Condes moved to Knox, “right outside of Thacher Park,” said Mrs. Conde. The Condes lived there happily for a decade.
“He liked to teach,” said Mrs. Conde. He taught his sons how to make jewelry boxes. “And he gave Tracey wood and nails and her own little hammer. She made boats,” said Mrs. Conde.
He also taught his sons how to mow the lawn and use a sickle, she said.
Mr. Conde suffered a massive stroke when he was 40, which led to dementia. “He couldn’t do carpentry anymore,” said his wife. “It was very difficult.” Mr. Conde was also in “a lot of pain,” she said, after two failed back surgeries.
Describing her husband’s personality, she said, “Up until the stroke, he would always tell jokes. He liked to have a beer — or two — and have a good time.
She concluded, “He was very loving…He was a good guy.”
In addition to his wife, Theresa A. Kallner Conde, Francis J. Conde Sr. is survived by three sons, James Conde, Francis J. Conde Jr., and Thomas DeMileo; four daughters, Jane Conde, Janet Conde, Julie Van Kuren, and Tracey Pisano; two sisters, Bertha Marinucci and Katherine Karowski; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and nieces, nephews, and cousins.
His parents died before him, as did his son John McCormick.
In keeping with his wishes, there will be no calling hours or funeral services.
Cremation was at Vale Crematory in Schenectady.
Arrangements are by the A.G. Cole Funeral Home Inc., 215 East Main Street, Johnstown, N.Y. Condolences to the family may be made online at www.agcolefuneralhome.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice.
— Melissa Hale-Spencer