Donald A. Crate
Enfield, N.H. — Donald A. Crate, 89, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at home on Sargent Street, surrounded by his wife, daughters and sons. Don was born on Mahan Flat in Lebanon, N.H. on Nov. 1, 1923. He was the seventh child of Albina Nareau and Joseph Crate formerly from Quebec. He grew up on Methodist Hill in Plainfield, N.H., with his siblings Irene Estabrook, Alexander Crate, Sr., Beatrice McLain, Alice Langley, Maurice Crate, and Margaret Ashey, all who predeceased him.
Don attended schools in Plainfield and Lebanon. After leaving school, he began working as a grocer. Shortly thereafter he opened his own grocery store called Don’s Cash Market in Lebanon.
In 1946, Don married Evelyn Sanford from Randolph, Vt. Together, they purchased the Mascoma Hotel (formerly the Webster House) on Main Street in Enfield. He and Evelyn ran the hotel and a new Don’s Cash Market while they began a family, which eventually grew to eight children.
After settling in Enfield, Don became a devoted community member. He joined the Enfield Fire Department, later becoming Fire Chief, a position he held for 35 years. Don, along with his fellow Enfield Firefighters, was instrumental in raising funds to purchase Enfield’s first ambulance through three years of fundraising including raffles, bingo, and the Enfield Fair, which later became known as the Enfield Family Fair. The fair continues today and just last month, Don, too ill to attend, watched the festivities from his car. In addition, he was Fire Ward for the Town of Enfield for 35 years and he served as a New Hampshire State Fire Warden/Deputy representing Enfield for over 65 years.
He also worked for the Town of Enfield as Road Commissioner for eleven years. During that time, he was Town Water Commissioner. In addition, he was an early member of the Enfield Grange, he served as a special police officer in Enfield and he was a member of the Grafton/Sullivan County Forest Fire Association. He was a lifetime member of the Lebanon Lodge of Elks.
In 1973, Don began working for the State of New Hampshire as an inspector in the Motor Vehicle Department. He made many friends while working in Concord and the North Country of New Hampshire. Over the years he was active with several of his friends and colleagues in supporting Republican Representatives to the State Government.
As he aged, he continued his involvement in the community by encouraging his offspring to become involved in the town, and in his late seventies he became a member of the Superintending Committee of the Oak Grove Cemetery Association, a position he held at his death.
While running his hotel and grocery store in Enfield, Don started Don Crate & Sons Trucking and Excavating. Up until his passing, Don ran the trucking company with his wife Evelyn, his sons Donald and David and his grandsons Donald and Duane. Thinking he didn’t have enough to do, he also opened and ran Lakeview Sports Center with his son-in-law, Robert LaCroix.
In later years, Don and his wife Evelyn spent winters in Zephyrhills, Fla., but he never completely retired and up until his recent illness, he continued to work every day. In these later years, Don’s favorite position was overseeing his sand and gravel operation on the Bog Road in Enfield where he ran his loader and screened and crushed gravel. In his spare time, he enjoyed being with his family, playing bingo and cards, vegetable gardening, and watching wildlife at his Bog Road pit and in the field in front his home overlooking Mascoma Lake in Enfield.
Don’s real legacy was his family and the example he set for a strong work ethic and his contributions to the Enfield Community. He leaves his wife, Evelyn; his eight children: Donna Wheeler and her husband Philip, of Sharon, Vt., Donald J. Crate, Sr. and his wife, Peggy, Richard Crate, Sr. and his wife, Patsy, Dianne Nelson and her husband, David, Deborah LaCroix and her husband, Robert, Dolores Struckhoff and her partner, John Kluge, David Crate, Sr. and his wife, Judy, all of Enfield, and Doreen Kelton of Westminster, Vt.; 18 grandchildren: Tammy Pratson and her husband, Jim, Donald J. Crate, Jr. and his wife, Kelly, Denise Crate, Duane Crate and his wife, Darcie, Michael and Angela Muzzey, Michael Crate and his wife, Terri, Richard Crate, Alesha Depalo and her husband, Joe, Brett Nelson and his wife, Angelene, Beth Nelson Downing and her husband, David, Robert LaCroix, Ian Struckhoff, David Crate, Jr. and his wife, Wendie, Daniel Crate, Damara Crate, Elizabeth and Mallary Kelton; 16 great grandchildren: Benjamin and Kyle Pratson, Ryan Crate, Taylor and Chole Crate, Amanda and Meagan Crate, Owen Crate, Joey and Chelsea DePalo, Lauren, Sarah, and Jacob Nelson, Rylie Downing, Jeffrey Martin and Jordan LaCroix.
Don will be forever in their hearts.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday, July 14, 2013, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ricker Funeral Home, 56 School Street, Lebanon, N.H.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 15, 2013, at 11 a.m. at the Community Lutheran Church of Enfield, followed by a graveside gathering at Oak Grove Cemetery where Don will be laid to rest.
In addition to flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Enfield Fire Department, the Enfield Fast Squad or the charity of your choice.
A special thank you to the staff of Bayada Home Health Care of Norwich, Vt., for their support and compassion to Don and his family during his last days.