2011-11-03 / Obituaries

Ambrose Louis Lavigne

Ambrose Louis LaVigne, (Ambie), age 86, of Inverness, Florida, passed away Saturday, October 29, 2011.

Ambie was born on December 7, 1924, to Joseph and Mary LaVigne in Lyon Mountain, NY, a small mining town two miles from the Canadian border. Ambie starred in three sports in high school and graduated as class valedictorian. He turned 17 on Pearl Harbor day, and on graduation enlisted in the US Navy and served four years of distinguished service, including participating in the DDay invasion and the Pacific campaign.

On return from the war Ambie took advantage of the GI Bill and became the first LaVigne to attend college, graduating from Springfield College with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. Following a 10-year career in physical therapy at the Veterans Hospital in Syracuse, Ambie was accepted at and attended Cornell University where he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and embarked on a 22-year successful career as a hospital president. Ambie was a past President of the Rotary Club, a Vice President at the Inverness Golf and Country Club, a Fellow and Examiner for the American College of Hospital Executives and was appointed by two New York Governors to the Board of the Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center.

Ambie is survived by his first true love, Lillian Hopkins, his wife for 64 years. He truly loved his wife, his four children, his 13 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. He gave his children and grandchildren his greatest two gifts; a sense of humor and a steadfast value system. He loved to have a good time, was always quick with a turn of phrase and made everyone around him laugh. “Are your brothers all boys?” or “Are your parents married?” were always opening lines with the pre-teens. And for the older kids, “She doesn’t have to be pretty, just nice. You can always close your eyes but not your ears. ”

He also would not accept any weakness in work ethic, honesty or consideration for others. “Turn the coffee on in the morning and the lights off at night if you expect to get ahead” and “never stand and watch another person work” were often-heard remarks. None of his offspring ever lost a job as he was their hardest boss and prepared them for the world.

Ambie was an avid and accomplished golfer and earlier equally adept at baseball and other sports. He always was the father passing and kicking the ball with the neighborhood children and never missed one of his children’s sporting events. Steak and eggs for his sons’ high school football teams was a staple in the lives of many young men.

Ambie is survived by his wife, Lillian, of Inverness, Fla., son Robert and his wife, Kay, of Olive Branch, Miss.; son Jim and his wife, Mary Gavin, of Saratoga Springs; daughter Diane Pinakiewicz and husband, Bill, of Newburyport, Mass.; and daughter Dawn Trodden and husband, Bill, of Sussex, N.J.; and their 13 children and 10 grandchildren.

He made a strong impression on all those who met him and would often say, “If everyone likes you, you don’t have much of a personality.” If you met him you would not forget him and he was remembered by all and loved deeply by those whom he chose to like.

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