North Lawrence – Leo J. Hourihan, Jr., 84, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, Sept. 15, 2015, in a room filled with the love of his children. Arrangements are entrusted to the Hammill Funeral Home in Winthrop.
Lee was born into a farming family on June 6, 1931, on the Wangum Rd. in Moira, son of the late Leo J and Lena M. (Savage) Hourihan. Dad attended the one room school house on the Wangum Rd. and left school after the eighth grade. When Dad turned of age, he answered his call to our Nation in 1948 and served proudly in the US Army during the Korean War earning the Korean Service Medal with 5 battles stars and a Good Conduct Medal . He was honorably discharged 1952. Upon his return, Dad met and married his "Babe" -Charlotte MacGibbon in Malone on August 30, 1952. With money saved from his discharge and working on the farm and as a "jack of all trades", he and Mom bought our family farm in North Lawrence. Dad & Mom cleared their way down the Burke –Delosh Road and started forging our family's future on the family homestead.
Dad got his first "high paying" job as a laborer on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Projects, working alongside many of his cousins, fellow veterans and friends. He also worked a short time as an electrician but continued his work mostly as a carpenter until being hired into the pot rooms at Alcoa. After Dad got a little pot room experience he jumped to Reynolds Metals starting as a laborer there as well and working his way into the Crane Operators position.
While working at Reynolds, he met another man named Ernie who had a similar life story and family and wanted fairness & safety in the workplace. Together with Ernie and many other brothers they joined and organized for the AFL- CIO. He was a staunch defender of union rights and brotherhood. Dad relished in helping create better working conditions and fair pay for his fellow workers at the plant. Dad was asked to take a leave from the pot rooms in 1970 and help the AFL-CIO down in Maryland. This was a huge sacrifice as Dad had to uproot his wife and six kids. He answered that call and took the lumps that went along with organizing, much to our dismay. We returned home in 1971 and first thing Dad did was to buy more cattle. Herefords, this time. Dad chased his cows until the early 1980's after all us kids had moved on.
"Whip" as he was known by his crews "banged in "for the last time in 1995 after some 35 years working in the pot rooms. Never one to be idle, Dad took up as a Project Manager for Al Tower and managed the construction of Al's place on the river, when he was well into his 70's. It is our belief that this project was one of Dads proudest accomplishments for a dear friend.
Dad also took a job as a first mate on a charter boat in Florida to keep busy during their winter stays in Goodland.
Dad was a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 939 in Moira and was also a member of the VFW in Goodland Fl. He was a lifetime member of the AmVets Post 4 in Massena as well. He was a longtime member of the North Lawrence Fire Dept. and was a legacy member of his beloved Camp Luck @Lake Ozonia. He was a former member of the American Hereford Association. Dad always took pride in his community and in 1996 he and Mom helped form the CC Dam Association. This association helped revitalize a long time camping and gathering spot in "No. Law". Both, Dad and Mom cherished and enjoyed those times with his fellow Board Members and good friends- Jackson, Al, Archie & Boat Barn Bill.
Dad will be remembered for his sacrifices for his country, family and friends. He had an infectious smile and disarming charisma. He had a grin that could light up a room, especially when he spun a yarn and had people believing one of his stories. There weren't many better than him when it came to pulling your leg…..just ask Harry. Dad was a diehard Democrat who liked Donald Trump and enjoyed constantly stirring the political debate with Cheney & Wilber. He loved to light them up and leave, much to the chagrin of the boys left in the bar that had to listen to the fallout.
Dad was always willing and ready to lend a helping hand. Dad made a difference in a lot of people's lives when they were in need. We are sure he will continue that generosity in heaven…right after God & Mom have a long talk with him.
Pop was an Irishman through & through and he saw the best in people and rarely did he complain. He was our Dad and everything good and bad that goes along with raising a family that tried his patience and made him proud. We cherished his presence and will forever keep him dear in our lives.
Leo is survived by four daughters: Patricia Hourihan and Companion Robert Lucey- Massena,
Jacqueline Hourihan- Brasher Falls, Brenda Hourihan and husband, Rick LaVare- Brasher Falls, Sue Anne Hourihan and husband, Larry Sheets- Brasher Falls, one son Larrie Patrick and Mia Hourihan of Nicholville, his grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Charlotte Bertha (MacGibbon) on April 16, 2007, a infant son, Shawn Michael in 1964, his son, Leo John III on January 4, 2003 and three brothers, Thomas, Clarence and Michael.
Visitation will be Thursday from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 at the Hammill Funeral Home in Winthrop. Leo's Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday at 11am at St. Lawrence Church in North Lawrence. Burial will follow in the parish cemetery.
Those wishing to express an act of kindness in Lee's honor, please consider the Massena Humane Society or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Memories and condolences can be shared with his family at www.hammillfh.com.