Cover photo for Gabriel Willette's Obituary
Gabriel Willette Profile Photo
1937 Gabriel 2021

Gabriel Willette

April 12, 1937 — May 3, 2021

Gabriel Theodore (Bucky) Willette, 84, of Saranac Lake passed away on May 3, 2021 at home surrounded by his family.

Gabriel was born on April 12, 1937, to Delia (Gates/Barriere) and Phillip Willette (Ouillet) in Saranac Lake, the youngest of 13 children. He spoke French before he spoke English and was very proud of his French Canadian heritage. He was raised on Santanoni and Shepard Avenues. He attended St. Bernard’s School and Petrova School. He was a devout Catholic and member of the St. Bernard’s Church Community. Gabriel served in the Air Force as an Aircraft Engine Mechanic. He and the crew were responsible for flying and patrolling along the Atlantic coast near the end of the Korean War.

On November 16, 1957, he married the love of his life, Connie Brooks, who was born on Payeville Road, literally just across the tracks from where he had been born. They were married by Rev. Peter Riani at St. Bernard’s Church in Saranac Lake. He and Connie raised four children: Yvonne, Randy, Connie and Geniene. They celebrated their 63rd Wedding Anniversary in November 2020.

As a teenager he worked with his older brothers in the roofing and contracting business. As a result he became an accomplished “Jack of all Trades” and used this knowledge throughout his working years. He was a great problem solver and could fix almost anything. He did carpentry, plumbing, electrical, furniture repair and refinishing to name a few. He was a true Craftsman.

His occupations included Purchasing Agent for Trudeau Institute, Caretaker for Walt Otto’s camp, Construction Worker for Commercial Roofing, and Maintenance Supervisor for North Star Industries from which he retired in 2003, after 18 years.

Gabriel’s greatest accomplishments were his family, the beautiful home he built, as well as a pond, bridge, garage, gazebo and numerous stone garden walls, all under his wife’s supervision. He played the guitar, piano, spoons, harmonica and piano. He was also an avid bowler with a wicked left hook, up until about a year ago. He was an active member of the “Old As You Feel Bowling League”, the American Legion, The Loyal Order of The Moose and the Veteran’s Memorial Association. He was a lover of animals, especially his beloved Pekingese, spent hours sitting in the bow window and gazebo watching the Adirondack wildlife.

Gabriel was predeceased by his parents, Delia and Phillip Willette; 6 brothers, Lawrence, Adolphus Paul, Raymond, Authur, Roger, and Victor; and 5 sisters, Marcelline Fanning, Katherine Scoursi, Lillian Premo, Mary Willette and Hilda Thompson.

He is survived by his wife, Connie, and numerous posterity: a son, Randy Willette of Argyle; three daughters, Yvonne Parrish (Lester) of Saranac Lake, Connie Martelle (David) of Saranac Lake, and Geniene Willette-Burman (Dale) of Bloomingdale. There are 8 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 3 step great-grandchildren. He is also survived by 1 sister, Antoinette Willette of Saranac Lake, and 2 sisters-in-law Shirley Willette of Eustis, Florida, and Joan (Brooks) Burgess of Ocala, Florida. There are numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral Arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home. Calling hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at 11:00am at St. Bernard’s church. Burial will take place at St. Bernard’s Cemetery. Covid-19 safety protocols remain in effect and everyone is reminded to wear facemasks and social distance. Family and friends attending in person calling hours and funeral services are asked to please follow all COVID-19 recommendations including social distancing and wearing a mask. Due to extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic the Willette family understands that it may make it difficult to attend funeral services in person. For those unable to attend the funeral service will also be webcast on Fortune-Keough Funeral Homes Facebook page.

In lieu of flowers, family and friends wishing to remember Gabriel T. Willette can make memorial contributions to St. Bernard’s School and High Peaks Hospice, in Gabriel’s name in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, 20 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. Family and friends can also view Bucky’s Tribute video, share their memories, leave condolences and sign the online guest book at
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gabriel Willette, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, Inc.

20 Church Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church

27 Saint Bernard Street, Saranac Lake, NY 12983

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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