Racing legend Clem Lachance, age 80, of Lake Carmel passed away suddenly on December 12, 2012, while visiting friends and family in Quebec, Canada. Clem was more than just the owner/driver of the “Mad Frenchman” racecars. To his friends in the drag racing community he was The Mad Frenchman.
He was born in Quebec, Canada, on May 8, 1932. In 1954 he came with his brother Henri-Louis to the United States, where he joined the US Army in 1955 and became a citizen of the USA. His passion for racing began at the young age of 16 on the streets of Quebec. But it wasn’t just the speed that motivated him. He loved to work on cars and build engines that would do more than anyone thought possible. His 6 cylinder Maverick “Mad Frenchman” could take the ¼ mile in under 10 seconds!
It was that skill that enabled him to join the Teamsters Union in Tarrytown, NY. He began as a mechanic working on the trucks for A & P, then went on to work on the car carriers for GM at Anchor Motor Freight until he retired in 2000.
But he didn’t retire from racing or from building spectacular cars. He continued to work on his racecar and was still racing last season.
Through the years his car has graced the pages of multiple racing magazines. In October 2011 he was inducted into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame in Henderson, NC. He was predeceased by his wife, Jean Beaulieu Lachance. He is survived by two sons, Raymond Lachance of Patterson and Denis Lachance of New Fairfield, CT, two daughters, Debra Johnson of Plano, TX and Elizabeth Wolfe of Carmel, NY, six sisters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Calling hours will be on Friday December 21, 2012, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Cargain Funeral Home 10 Fowler Ave Carmel, NY. A Funeral Service will be on Saturday December 22, 2012, at 11 a.m. at the Mission Church, Rte 52, Holmes, NY. Burial will follow at the Raymond Hill Cemetery.