Croghan, NY ~ Donald R. (Frenchy) Proulx, age 91, of 9902 Main Street, Croghan, NY passed away Thursday, June 10, 2021. He had been a resident of the Lewis County Residential Healthcare Facility since August 2017.
He is survived by four sisters, Janet and her husband, Richard Mathys of Austin, TX, Elizabeth Leonard of Harrisville, Simone Ward of Grand Island, FL, and Patricia and her husband Robert Bramhall of Croghan, and two brothers, Wilfred “Stump” and his wife Ellen, and Kenneth and his wife Joyce, both of Croghan. He was predeceased by a brother Paul and two sisters, Theresa Rosiczkowski and Mary Ann Reed. He has five godchildren, dozens of cousins (both here and in Canada) and scores of nieces and nephews of three generations.
Frenchy was born on December 5, 1929, at the family home on Main Street in Croghan, a son of the late Wilfrid J. Proulx (a native of Rivierre Baudette, Quebec) and Marie Rachel Imelda Le Brasseur (a native of St. Godfroi, Quebec).
He was a very active youth who, at the age of 5 years, was struck by an automobile. This event resulted in a double fracture of the skull and rendered him in critical condition. Though the odds did not favor recovery, nor perhaps ever walk again, after 17 days in a coma Frenchy opened his eyes, smiled at the nurses and responded to their requests. Soon after that he was up and running.
His education at Father Leo Memorial School in Croghan was interrupted in the early 1940’s when he accepted a call to Mexico, NY to help his grandmother with her farm. While there he attended Mexico Academy for two years. He returned to Croghan and graduated from Fr. Leo’s in 1948.
Frenchy enjoyed many activities as a young man. Among them were skiing, fishing, trapping (skunks), selling newspapers, listening to western music, bowling in the Croghan K of C and Lewis County Triangle League’s, playing high school baseball and football, caring for the family animal stock, and flooding his parent’s summer vegetable garden as a skating rink each winter. Many people of that era still fondly recall “Proulx’s” ice rink.
In 1950 Frenchy began a career with Latex Fiber Industries. This was interrupted in 1951 by a call to military service for the Korean War. Following advanced training stateside as a surveyor with the combat engineers he boarded the “General Meigs” troopship in Seattle, Washington and sailed to Inchon, Korea. From there a three day/night ride on the back of an army truck took him to the 25th Infantry Division in Kumwha. The division there was not in need of a surveyor so, by the flip of a coin, he was assigned to the 64th Field Artillery as a member of an 8 man crew on a 105 mm Howitzer. Among the medals awarded for his service were the National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal and the Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Star.
Upon his return home Frenchy resumed his employment with Latex Fiber Industries where he was assigned to the saturator machine. In 1967 the Industry, citing such qualities as “initiative, cooperation, dependability, respect from fellow employees and a desire for quality workmanship” named him Latex Man of the Year. His career with the Latex (which eventually became Boise Cascade) continued until his retirement in 1992.
Frenchy also became very active in his community, especially with the Knights of Columbus Council -2175 which named him Knight of the Year in 1958, and with the Croghan American Legion where he served with the Post’s Color Guard for more than 4 decades. Also during that time he would be known as the assistant cook and the “pots and pans” man. Older members of the post continue to refer to the Legion’s kitchen sink as “Frenchy’s sink”. In 1976 the Post presented him with the Legionnaire of the Year Award.
During his adult years he served as a caregiver and chauffeur for the family, and especially his parents. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century he dedicated his efforts to their comfort and well-being. It was unusual to see Frenchy driving his car without his mother Imelda in the passenger seat.
A funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, July 17, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. from St. Stephen’s Church, Croghan, with the Rev. Donald J. Manfred, Pastor, officiating. Interment with military honors will follow in St. Stephen’s Cemetery, Croghan.
There will be no calling hours.
Arrangements are with Scanlon Funeral Home, Croghan.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Stephen’s Church Restoration Fund, PO Box 38, Croghan, NY 13327 or Beaver River Memorial Post -1663 Firing Squad, PO Box 217, Croghan, NY 13327.
Online obituary and messages of sympathy and remembrance at www.scanlonfuneral.com