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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 1, 2005

Therapist hopes to buy his building

By Nicole Fay Barr

ALTAMONT — Brian Thornton, the village’s well-known physical therapist, is afraid he may lose the Maple Avenue building he’s used since he set up his practice six years ago.

The building is being foreclosed on by Capital Bank and, next week, Thornton will place a bid to purchase the building.

Still, he told The Enterprise this week that he’s frustrated with the bank. He had been trying to buy the building for over a year and the bank has been unresponsive, he said.

Thornton moved to the building in October of 1999, he said. He signed a three-year lease that he could renew four times, he said. Capital Bank took over management of the building when Thornton’s landlord, Dwight Mathusa, filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

In 2004, Thornton signed a contract to purchase the property from Mathusa, doing business as Dwight Properties, and put a small downpayment on it, he said.

At the beginning of 2005, Thornton found out that, instead of allowing him to purchase the building, the bank was foreclosing on it. He doesn’t know why, he said.

Neither a spokesperson from Capital Bank nor Mathusa could be reached for comment by The Enterprise this week.

Last Wednesday, Thornton said, he came to work and found a foreclosure sign in front of his office. He came to the newspaper with his story, he said, because he wants to set the record straight.

"It gives the impression that I’m not paying my bills," he said of the sign. "It’s affecting my business negatively."

Many patients have called with questions about the sign, Thornton said. Friends and neighbors, he said, have been pushing the sign down or hiding it; he puts it back up.

Thornton made it clear that he didn’t want to appear like a victim.

"I’m a business like any other business. I don’t expect special treatment," he said. "But, it’s been a long, drawn-out affair and I just want the people of Altamont to know that I pay my rent every month."

"Frustrating situation"

Thornton’s building was in the news early in 2004. Then, he shared the building with Dr. Hedy Migden. His office is in front; hers was in back.

Migden caused controversy the year before when she said she was outgrowing her rented office space. At an Altamont board meeting, she said she wanted to buy the village’s tennis court on Maple Avenue for her office; she received much public opposition.

She then got land re-zoned on Carman Road in Guilderland, only to find that the property had severe drainage problems. She later found office space to rent on Western Avenue in Guilderland and has since appeared before the New Scotland Planning Board to build an office on Route 156.

In March of 2004, before Migden found an office to rent on Western Avenue, she complained to The Enterprise that Capital Bank was evicting her from the 122 Maple Ave. building she shared with Thornton.

The bank had moved to evict the doctor because she was not paying rent. Migden told The Enterprise that she wasn’t paying rent because the building was in such disrepair. Among the problems she experienced were heating and electric malfunctions, a leaking roof, and lack of water, she said then.

As advised by her attorney, Migden decided to put her monthly rent payments into an escrow account until the bank agreed to fix the building, she said. She reported then that the bank refused to negotiate.

Capital Bank declined comment to The Enterprise then. However, a few days after Migden’s story ran, the bank agreed to drop the charges and settle outside of court.

When Migden left soon after, Thornton tried to purchase the building. He wanted to expand his practice and occupy the entire building. But, he said this week, he hasn’t been able to do that since he doesn’t yet own the building; the back of the building remains empty.

While he hasn’t had trouble with the electrical system in the building, Thornton said Tuesday that he has some of the same complaints as Migden.

Water in the basement of the building has been an ongoing problem, he said. And, a column that supported the main beam in a back office has "rusted and fallen away," Thornton said.

He paid for minor repairs on the building, such as changing the florescent lighting and servicing the furnace. These are things a landlord would normally do, Thornton said.

He has tried to contact the bank about this, Thornton said, but representatives never return his calls.

The roof of the building leaked so badly that Thornton paid $7,000 of his own money to replace it, he said. He had to fix it, he said; the winter before, it rained inside his office.

"I wanted to stay here, so I did my part," he said of why he made the repairs. "I thought I’d build some good will. I thought, if I did minor repairs and tried to be a good tenant, I’d be able to purchase the building."

The foreclosure sale is next week and Thornton will bid for the building.

Troy Miller and Jeff Thomas, developers who own several properties in Altamont, both promised Thornton that they won’t try to outbid him for the building. "I appreciate that," Thornton said.

Miller told The Enterprise Wednesday that, while he’d normally be interested in the building, he will not try to purchase it because he respects Thornton and his situation.

"Brian’s a friend who runs a good practice in Altamont," Thomas told The Enterprise Wednesday. "I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of him bettering himself."

Thornton loves Altamont, he said. He’s treated hundreds of patients and he knows nearly everyone in the village, he said.

The whole situation, he concluded, "is really frustrating. I’ve been here six years. My goal is to retire here. I don’t know what I’ll do if I have to move."

Lobbyist dies in car crash

By Nicole Fay Barr

GUILDERLAND — Michael E. Vacek, a well-known attorney and lobbyist, died Saturday after a weather-related car accident the evening before.

Vacek, 53, of 5 Devon Court, Guilderland, served as president of the New York State Beer Wholesalers Association. He was involved heavily in politics, but was also a dedicated family man. (See obituary.)

On Friday, at 4:55 p.m., Vacek was traveling alone in his car on Relyea Road, Guilderland Lieutenant Curtis Cox said. Vacek slid on a patch of snow and struck a tree, Cox said.

Asked if there were other weather-related accidents that day, Cox said there weren’t. Most roads in Guilderland and other parts of Relyea Road were clear, he said. For some reason, this spot on the street happened to be covered in snow, he said. No charges have been filed.

Although Vacek was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, his injuries were severe, Cox said. He died on Saturday, almost 24 hours after the crash, police say.

A helicopter from Albany Medical Center flew him to the hospital. The aircraft landed in the road, at the intersection of Relyea Road and Upper Wedgewood Lane, Cox said. This area is not heavily traveled, he said.

Assisting at the scene were Guilderland’s Emergency Medical Services, the Altamont Rescue Squad, the Guilderland Center Fire Department, and the Westmere Fire Department.

Providing pride,
Signs to help recruit firefighters

By Nicole Fay Barr

GUILDERLAND — The three Westmere firemen were about to pose for a photograph, holding a sign they are most proud of, which is designed to recruit new members and recognize current volunteers.

But, as they made their way to stand before a fire truck, an alarm sounded. They remained calm, but their laughter faded to sobriety. Like second nature, their legs went from walking to jogging.

With less dexterity, an Enterprise reporter fumbled and quickly snapped a picture of the trio. Then, two of them — Barry Nelson and Sean Maguire — leaped onto a fire truck and sped off.

Chief Anthony Carrow stayed behind, unperturbed by what some would call an exciting and intimidating moment.

Just half an hour before, Carrow, Nelson, and Maguire had relaxed in a conference room at the Western Avenue firehouse. They told The Enterprise about their love of the Westmere department and of the importance of finding new members.

Signs of pride

Recently, signs have appeared on lawns all over Westmere. They state, "A firefighter lives here...We are neighbors helping neighbors...Volunteer Today...Join Now."

The idea for the signs came from Maguire, who was asked to head a new recruitment and retention program. The program is part of a county-wide initiative.

Some Westmere residents aren’t aware of the department, Maguire said. With the fire station on Route 20, a busy multi-lane highway, they drive by it too fast to notice, he said.

"We’re trying to penetrate the neighborhoods," Maguire said.

The signs, in areas where many firefighters live, send a positive message, he said. On streets where only one sign is posted, it sends the message that volunteers are needed, he said.

"We constantly need people to step up," Maguire said.

Some people may see the signs and realize that their neighbors are firefighters, Carrow said.

"It gives a positive impression to the community," he said. "Some might say, ‘If they can do it, I can.’"

"Nationwide, there’s been a great observation about the level of volunteerism dropping...not just in fire departments," Maguire said.

Many residents think that the firefighters are paid, Carrow said. The signs will point out that this isn’t true, as they say "volunteer."

Nelson agreed. "People move to Guilderland who don’t realize it’s an all-volunteer fire department. They come from areas where there’s paid departments," he said.

"It’s important that people realize it’s volunteer," Maguire said. "It’s a very professional environment."

"It’s not just about responding to fires and coming to training classes," Carrow said. The Westmere department has a fire-prevention program and its members visit schools, he said. It holds fund-raisers and is involved in town planning, to make sure that new buildings are constructed safely.

"The signs give us community involvement," Carrow said. "It lets people know we are here for them. We have a great deal of respect for the community."

Carrow went on, "You can have many fire trucks, a large gorgeous fire department...but our most important resource is our members."

"We’re like a family," Nelson said.

Community involvement

Carrow and Nelson have both been members of the Westmere Fire Department for 18 years.

"My brother was a member, so I joined," Carrow said. "I really got a strong feeling of community involvement and personal satisfaction."

Nelson grew up in the Bronx, near a fire station. When he was a child, he said, he’d run outside to see the fire trucks every time the alarm sounded.

When Nelson moved to Guilderland, he decided to help out, he said. He enjoys the camaraderie of the department, he said; it has a softball team and a volleyball league.

"It’s important for the overall morale of the department for us to have fun together," Carrow said.

Maguire, who is younger than Carrow and Nelson, has been a member of the department for just a year.

He was an emergency medical technician in other towns and he’d always lived in a city with a paid fire department. When he moved to Guilderland, he decided to join, he said, also to help out.

"Everyone should take a couple of moments or hours out of the week and do something for the community," Maguire said.

The Westmere department has about 55 members and it purchased 50 signs at $4 each. The signs will be posted on members’ lawns for two- to three-week periods throughout the year. If the signs are always there, Maguire said, they won’t be effective as residents will be used to them.

Asked how many members he wants, Maguire asked, "How many lockers do we have""

"I’d love to go back to the community and say we need a bigger firehouse," Carrow said.

"It’s hard to say a number," Maguire said. The department needs a broad base of volunteers who can work at different times of the day, he said. Also, he said, the department doesn’t need members who can only fight fires. People are needed to assist with the business operation, he said.

"We need that spectrum of volunteers," Maguire said. "It’s like a stock portfolio. It does well when it’s diversified."

School board votes for cameras, not locks

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — The front doors at Guilderland’s five elementary schools will remain unlocked — for now.

Tuesday night, after months of discussion and deep division, the school board unanimously agreed to the superintendent’s recommendation for safety measures besides locks: adding surveillance cameras and recorders for the schools that don’t already have them and installing swipe-card systems, replacing keys for staff, for the doors that are locked.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the school board resolved another issue that had divided the board for a decade. In the past, the board had several times rejected setting up a committee to study alternative funding — that is, funding other than through taxes, such as through grants, foundations, business partnerships, advertising, or pouring rights.

In a 7-to-1 vote, the board agreed to form a committee of district residents, board members, representatives of the PTA and booster clubs, and administrators to explore plans seeking non-traditional revenue sources.

School security

The tone of Tuesday’s meeting was decidedly more civil, even cordial, compared to the meeting in July where board member Peter Golden had proposed that, if a child were to be harmed by an intruder, an intruder who would have been kept out by a locked door, then one of the board members who voted against the locked doors would be required to inform the family of the tragedy.

Tuesday’s meeting opened with parents speaking passionately on both sides of the issue.

"As a parent and taxpayer, I would like to know exactly what we are trying to protect our children from," said Coleen Knight.

The board is being "coerced" into a security plan that does little to promote safety, said Cheryl Albens, concluding, "A caring and vigilant staff...are the best safety measures Guilderland has."

"The most cost-effective way to keep the school safe is to just lock the doors," said Carolyn Kelly.

Don Hessler said he was "frustrated and disappointed" the district wasn’t enforcing its visitors’ policy, which would increase its liability. "Do the right thing," he urged the board.

Both Kelly and Hessler served on an advisory subcommittee of the district’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools Committee that had produced a report with a security plan for the elementary schools.

The matter became a budget issue in April when the board had a lengthy and heated debate before adopting a $76 million spending plan that was ultimately passed by voters.

Members of the subcommittee made a last-minute request in April to fund front-door monitors at the elementary schools; the district’s middle school and high school already had such monitors. The board allotted $60,000 to spend on security.

In June, the subcommittee presented its plan to hire five part-time security monitors for the elementary schools, at an estimated cost of $32,500, and to install magnetic locks with entry buzzers at the main entrance of each school, at an estimated cost of $10,000.

Additionally, a pass-key entry-access system would be installed at three of the elementary schools with the most outside use — Guilderland, Pine Bush, and Westmere — at an estimated cost of $16,500.

The board compromised on hiring just the monitors — after some members expressed concern that locked doors would change the culture of the Guilderland schools — and planned to evaluate response before locking the doors.

At its Nov. 15 meeting, the board, still deeply divided, heard a report on security from the elementary-school principals.

Tuesday, Superintendent Gregory Aidala, in making his recommendation said, "I certainly believe our elementary schools are safe but we should find appropriate ways to make them safer."

He praised the work of the part-time monitors who, he said, created a welcoming atmosphere and were well-received by parents and staff. The locked-door system, he said, has drawn a "mixed reaction at best."

He told the board members it was important to "reach consensus," not necessarily total agreement but to have "a willingness to support the final result."

Aidala proposed spending $11,500 on surveillance cameras for the schools’ front lobbies. Lynnwood and Westmere already have them; recording equipment would be added there.

Second, he recommended a pass-key system be installed in the three largest elementary schools — Guilderland, Westmere, and Pine Bush, at $5,500 each for a total cost of $16,500.

While the front door of each school would remain unlocked, staff would be given swipe cards to enter the building. Such systems are already in place at the district’s middle school and high school.

If the surveillance cameras cost more than estimated, Pine Bush Elementary School would not have a pass-key system installed now, Aidala said.

He also said the elementary-school principals supported his recommendation.

One by one, the board members voiced their support for the superintendent’s proposal.

The real issue, said Richard Weisz, is balancing the cost with the perceived risk. He at first appeared to believe the proposal called for locking the front doors, but, on understanding that the pass-key system would leave the front doors open, he said, "I think the administration has come up with a fair answer...I support the proposal although I do think we're going to need to come up with protocols."

Vice President Linda Bakst said the proposal would improve surveillance without locking front doors, which is impractical.

She wondered what training would allow a monitor to "spot an evil-doer" and so prevent him from being buzzed into the building. "I am skeptical of that," she said.

"A public school is not analogous to a private home," Bakst went on. She also asserted, "I don’t think we’ve heard data that even what we’ve done so far has made us safer."

She also said, "I think we are in compliance with our visitors’ policy." And she stated, "We will be sued, no matter what we do."

Cathy Barber, a lawyer, said there had been "a lot of rhetoric about liability." Because school security is a discretionary function, she said, the district wouldn’t have liability without a special duty. So, Barber said, having the locked-door system may actually increase liability. "People can sue you for anything," she said, "but it doesn’t mean they’re going to win."

Barber also said that the cameras will not be obtrusive and they could determine if theft or vandalism were going on in the schools, which could be a bigger problem than intruders.

Golden said, "Let’s get back to the original issue." He recommended a formalized process to check the visitors’ policy. The superintendent responded that the board’s policy committee will discuss it at its next meeting.

In the end, Golden voted for the superintendent’s recommendation.

Thomas Nachod, the only other school board member who, in July, had voted with Golden against having just the monitors, was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Colleen O’Connell, who had opposed locking public schools, supported the superintendent’s proposal but was critical of the way it had been arrived at.

"What a flawed process this has been," she said.

The subcommittee, she said, was made up of parents who joined because of their own safety issues and the subcommittee was not balanced. She pointed to the citizens’ committee that reviews the district budget as one that is balanced since critics are invited to join.

The next step in the flawed process, O’Connell said, was when $60,000 was added to the budget at the last minute for school security without being vetted by the citizens’ budget committee.

Then, she said, two PTA’s still have not had security presentations as the school board had required.

"What has scared me the most is how uninformed some people have been," said O'Connell. While people who subscribe to The Altamont Enterprise were informed, she said, not everyone reads the weekly newspapers. "We have to do a better job of communicating these issues," she said.

Barbara Fraterrigo, who supported the superintendent’s proposal, maintained, as she has all along, that locked doors are the safest system.

"We probably will get there," she said.

Another option would be using the remaining money for the buzzer system, she said. "It doesn’t mean we have to lock doors immediately," said Fraterrigo.

She asked the Assistant Superintendent for Business Neil Sanders about the costs. He said the district could look at running wires for the doorbell system.

She also said the subcommittee was not a pre-selected group and it welcomed anyone.

"It has certainly improved the district and the safety of the kids," said Fraterrigo. "We can carry the conversation further."

John Dornbush said the superintendent’s proposal "strikes a fair balance between the competing interests...It’s responsive and responsible."

President Gene Danese called it "a workable option" and he said it "serves as a starting point for our discussions next year."

Alternative funding

A discussion that has gone on for a decade finally ended in a vote Tuesday that reflects the changing times and the change of board members.

Linda Bakst was the lone hold-out for what once was the board majority’s position.

She has long opposed private funding for public schools — on both philosophical and practical grounds.

In casting the sole dissenting vote Tuesday, Bakst said that studying alternative funding is "not a fruitful use of our resources" and that it would "open up a can of worms."

She recommended two amendments to the proposal — one passed, the other didn’t.

The first was to require representation on the committee from the booster clubs and the PTA.

"I think it’s important to include these groups; they are raising funds alternatively," said Dornbush.

Bakst has frequently asked for an analysis of how much money volunteer groups already raise in the district and she has questioned how many fund-raising groups a community can support.

That motion passed unanimously.

Her second motion was that the committee’s report, due on June 30, not be written by the administration.

"If this initiative is to have any success, you need other people to come forward and take the bull by the horns," said Bakst. "I really don’t think it is wise for them to do the legwork."

"There is no way board members are going to know enough without asking the pros," said Golden.

"I don’t see how we can divorce the administration from some role," said Weisz, who has for years pushed for the formation of a committee. "It’s a collaborative process...The purpose of the committee is to see what is out there."

"Let me speak for the administration here," said Aidala. "We’ll do the best we can. If we feel we’re overburdened, we’ll speak up."

Ultimately, only Bakst and Danese — who has also pushed for years to explore alternative funding — voted for the amendment to limit the administration’s role; the other six board members opposed it.

Weisz then outlined his views on how the committee should proceed. He said Aidala should come up with a meeting date and publicize it, much as is done with the citizens’ budget committee.

At an organizational meeting, assignments will be given and different teams will be approved, Weisz said.

Weisz said he would like to find 30 or 40 alternative methods of raising money throughout New York State and then determine which to explore.

He said he would volunteer to be president because he had said he would but that the group could pick its own leader.

"If only four people show up and there’s no community support," Weisz said, he would concede alternative funding won’t work since community support is necessary.

Aidala said that, at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 13, he will provide an outline of steps to be followed.

Larche mourned: Public servant, decorated pilot, and man of faith

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Louis Herve Larche was a man who — despite stellar credentials and widespread successes — remained humble.

"He had all the impressive records, but he would never boast about what he did," said his son, Rev. Jeffrey M. L’Arche.

He was a leader in his airlines career and in many local civic organizations, and he was elected to public office in Guilderland. He was also a deeply religious man and a devoted family man.

"He was a people person," said his son. "What he talked about were the special friendships he made; they were more important to him than the organizations."

Mr. Larche died on Friday, Nov. 25, 2005, at Teresian House. He was 90.

He was born on Nov. 11, 1915 in Malone, N.Y., the son of the late Louis N. and Sylvia Chagnon Larche.

"He was the youngest boy of eight children. His father, Louis Napoleon, worked on the Canadian railroad. They were a poor French-Canadian family that settled in Malone," said Rev. L’Arche.

The family’s original French name was L’Archeveque, meaning "the archbishop," said Rev. L’Arche. The priest said he often kids with people that, because of the shortened name, he knew he would never become an archbishop. He uses the more original French, although still shortened, version of the name — L’Arche — while his father and other family members stayed with the simplified Larche.

Mr. Larche was a graduate of Franklin Academy in Malone, and he later married his high-school sweetheart, Barbara Herrick. They were married for 63 years at the time of his death.

"Dad went to Syracuse University on a football scholarship. He was the only boy in the family that went to college," said Rev. L’Arche.

He continued to love football for the rest of his life.

"During football season, he’d be in a trance in front of the television," said his son. In later years, golf became his passion. But Mr. Larche didn’t push his children to follow his passions, said his son, with admiration.

"I’m big in stature, but he never interfered and said I should follow in his footsteps and go out for the Guilderland High School football team...Later, I wanted to get into golf because he was such an avid golfer. I never could get the swing right...He was very respectful of what the three of us wanted to do," said Rev. L’Arche of himself, his brother, and his sister. "He was supportive of us and would encourage us in our interests."

It wasn’t until after his father died and Rev. L’Arche was going through his papers that he discovered his father had majored in zoology at Syracuse. But it made sense, once he knew it.

The family home on Willow Street in Guilderland was in a rural area at the time the Larche children were growing up; a cow pasture was next to the house.

The late Richard Langenbach, a neighbor and chicken expert, served as a mentor to Rev. L’Arche when he was young, he said. "Dad built me chicken coops," he recalled fondly. Rev. L’Arche, who lives now at La Salette, said, "I have quite a menagerie here."

Mr. Larche minored in abnormal psychology. After graduating from Syracuse University, he studied for one year at the McGill University Medical School in Montreal.

High-flying career

He then served in the United States Navy during World War II, and flew five years in the U.S. Naval Air Force as a pilot in South America, the Caribbean, Greenland, Iceland, and England, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three medals, and several other awards.

Rev. L’Arche said his father didn’t often speak about his war experiences to his family.

"He kept in touch, though, with his co-pilot, his radio man, and his navigator...They used to enjoy reunions," he said. "Dad was never one to tell war stories."

But his son did recall talking to one of his father’s war-time friends while visiting him at Teresian House, where he lived in his final years. "We won the war again," said the friend, recounting their conversation.

In 1946, Mr. Larche joined the operations department of American Airlines; he worked in all departments and advanced to the auto-sales department in 1948, becoming district sales manager in 1960. He retired in 1980 after 34 years.

"Mayor Corning came to his retirement party. Sophisticated types were there and so were those who were simply relatives," said his son.

Civic contributions

Mr. Larche belonged to and led a wide range of civic organizations.

Although his children knew he was involved in many activities, they were surprised to read his résumé after his death and absorb the extent of his many commitments, said Rev. L’Arche.

"He never boasted. It was a surprise to read the résumé," he said. "He liked the simple things. Everyone was special to him. He wasn’t interested in honors or citations."

Mr. Larche was a member of the Albany Kiwanis; he was past president and lieutenant governor, a member of the bowling team, and he attended five international conventions.

He was past president of the Delta Nu Alpha Transportation Fraternity. He was president of the Capital District Transportation Association, the only airline person to head the organization.

He served as president of the Guilderland Fire Department for three terms and was a fireman for 35 years. He was also a Guilderland fire commissioner.

"In those days, the firemen built the firehouse themselves," said his son. "I remember spending Saturdays there while he worked on it. He was always one to pitch in and help."

Mr. Larche was also director of the Capital District Bon Vivants.

He was a Fourth-Degree Knight of Columbus, Joseph Boldt Council.

He was also a member of the Berkshire County Traffic Club; the American Legion, Fort Orange Post; the advisory committee of the Capital District Travelers Aid; the advisory committee of the Hudson Valley Community College Transportation and Distribution Management; the Three Diamond Society; the American Association of Retired Persons; and past president of the Syracuse University Alumni Club of the Capital District.

Mr. Larche was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Association.

He was also a former member of the Albany, Schenectady and Troy Chamber of Commerce, past director of the Albany Chamber, past chairman of State Affairs and the National Affairs Committee.

Public service, faith, and family

Mr. Larche was elected to public office in Guilderland. When the town’s assessor was an elected post, he served for eight years.

"Guilderland was Republican in those years," said his son, "and there was much rejoicing when he was elected...He was involved in many Republican events at the local level."

He was also appointed to the Board of Assessment Review for 10 years; he became its chairman.

Mr. Larche was a deeply religious man and past president of the St. Madeleine Sophie’s Men’s Club.

He was lector and Eucharistic minister and minister to the sick at Christ the King Parish.

"His faith permeated his whole life," said his son. "After I was ordained, my father liked to introduce me by saying, ‘I want you to meet my son, the father.’"

Rev. L’Arche continued, "He went to mass daily." Mr. Larche was called "the parish curmudgeon," which, his son stressed, "was said in a benevolent and pleasant way."

He went on, "People often described him in superlative ways — as a good man, fine and accomplished. There was a certain reverence people had for him."

Despite his many civic and professional activities, Mr. Larche always made time for family and their activities, said his son. "He was very much a family man," said Rev. L’Arche.

Mr. Larche served as past president of the Altamont PTA and he was a member of the original centralization committee of the Guilderland school system.

"He supported all three of us kids — with scouting, 4-H, whatever we were doing," said Rev. L’Arche. "He knew the movers and shakers, but he was also involved with the little people...We were taught our relatives were the greatest in the whole, wide world."

Rev. L’Arche went on about his father, "He had high expectations for his kids. He would encourage us, but not make us take a certain path. He allowed us to become ourselves."

It was hard for Rev. L’Arche to watch his father’s health decline in recent years. "He was this very athletic football star...It was heartbreaking to see."

Rev. L’Arche was comforted recently by the words of a friend: "Brother Donald said, ‘Your father outgrew his body.’"

Rev. L’Arche concluded, "Basically, he was a very unassuming, humble man."


Louis Herve Larche is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara (Herrick) Larche; his sons, Rev. Jeffrey M. L’Arche of Altamont and James Larche of Guilderland; his daughter, Linda Ford of Guilderland; and his granddaughter, Erin Ford.

He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

His seven siblings all died before him — sisters Lorette Jennings, Rhea Brewer, Lucille McNulty, and Pauline Mischler — and his brothers — Alcide, Florant, and Orance Larche.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday at Christ the King Church in Guilderland. Interment followed at Prospect Hill Cemetery, also in Guilderland.

Arrangements are by NewComer-Cannon Family Funeral Home of Colonie.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Christ the King Building Fund, to Teresian House, to the La Salette Missionaries, or to the Guilderland Fire Department.

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