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Lena Wigger

April 28, 1922 — August 24, 2022

Lena Wigger passed away at the age of 100 on August 24th 2022. She was born April 28th 1922 to Andrew and Mary Francati in Rochester NY.

In the summer of 1943, 21 -year-old, Lena Francati, boarded an eastbound train from her hometown of Rochester, NY. Contrary to her parent’s wishes, she, like so many others of that time, was headed to Saranac Lake, NY, seeking a cure for tuberculosis.

Lena was admitted to the Ray Brook Sanatorium, one of the many cure hospitals in the area. It was there that she met a young man named Bill Wigger, who had been working at the sanatorium. Legend has it that, on many occasions, Lena would sneak out of her room at night and go down the outside fire stairs to rendezvous with Bill. They would often be seen out and about whooping it up. Of course, like any legend, the story has been embellished over the many years.

In June of 1945, Bill and Lena were married and eventually bought a home on the lake on Duprey St. This is where they raised three daughters, Cathy, Mary Beth and Marie. Mary Beth and her husband Walter, still live in that house today.

In addition to spending time with her three daughters and their families, she enjoyed reading, crossword puzzles, gardening, cooking and baking for the holidays. Lena looked forward to all the holidays and found ways to make them special. She is also well known in the community for running a tight ship at the St Bernard’s and St Pius cafeterias. Lena looked out for the kids and they loved her St. Bernard’s soup and grilled cheese sandwich. She was a life-long Syracuse Basketball fan and loved watching pro golf on TV, that is until recently when she commented “I don’t know any of these young players, it’s just not interesting anymore”. In April of this year Lena turned 100 years old. Being an avid fan of NBC’s Today Show, she was so excited when she saw her picture on a Smucker’s Jar, celebrating her birthday on TV.

Bill Wigger passed away in August 1999. On August 26th, after a long and memorable life, Lena was laid to rest next to her beloved Bill, at St. Bernard’s Cemetery, in Saranac Lake.

Lena is survived by her three daughters, Cathy Wigger, Mary Beth Wigger and Marie Morgan; their husbands: Si Flores, Walter McClure and John Morgan; five grandchildren: EJ Lawless, Keegan McClure, Eliza McClure, Rachael McClure and William McClure; three Great Grandchildren: Henry Lawless, Theo Lawless and Leo Angelini. She is also survived by two brothers: Gerald Francati and Richard Francati, both of Rochester, NY, numerous nieces and nephews and Lorraine Kelley who considered Lena her second Mother.

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. Those wishing to remember Lena may make a donation to St. Bernard’s school 63 River St, Saranac Lake NY 12983
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