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Around The Grange
Do You Remember: Harry LaBonte

By Betty Jane Gardiner

  JUNE 6, 2012 --

Wood as smooth as satin- now what could that be?  It was the beautiful hand carving of harry LaBonte.  There were spoons, bowls, household items, all made to perfection!  It was his hobby- a labor of love and something he enjoyed sharing.  Hours of work done with plenty of care- a real talent.

He loved setting up his carving table at meetings, senior centers, and at the Big E where he could demonstrate his skills and talk about his work.

In addition to a countless number of spoons, he made beautiful bowls and other items.  Elsie is especially proud of a pair of cherry wood lamps she still has in her home.

Harry was Mater of Tolland Grange for a number of terms was known for carrying on a special recycling project of collecting newspapers and glass.  For a long-time, the Grange Hall (which has high ceilings) was filled from floor to ceiling with stacks of newsprint waiting to be taken away to bring in a good amount of cash.  It was a tremendous undertaking- but the funds (although pretty well depleted) are still being used to help the Grange.

Harry and Elsie served several State Masters as Deputies, starting with Al Beckwith.  Harry put in many hours at Camp Berger building the Gret-Al Cottage and maintaining the buildings.

The LaBonte’s were a part of the Beckwith Installing Team.

Harry was known for making maple syrup.  I remember one time we did a sort of “This is Your Life” for Harry on his birthday.  One part I did was to tell him how I knew you could make wine by stomping the grapes- and I gave him a branch of my maple tree and advised him to start stomping!  I can still hear him laughing.

Do remember Harry!

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