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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Jack Lacombe

Jack Lacombe, a long-time resident of Gilford, N.H. and Shelter Island, passed away on Saturday, May 18, 2024 in Gilford at the age of 86.

He loved to travel, and he and his wife Jessie had many wonderful adventures all over the U.S., Canada, Europe and Latin America. For the past 20 years, they enjoyed spending summers at their family’s generational home on Shelter Island. There, his home was known as “Camp Jack,” where he spent countless hours pulling his grandchildren and neighborhood children behind his boat on water skis, tubes, and wake boards.

On Shelter Island, he was on the board of their neighborhood association, and everyone’s “go-to guy.” No problem was too great for Jack to solve.

After moving his family to Gilford in 1975, he enjoyed skiing at Gunstock, sailing on Lake Winnipesaukee, and hiking the beautiful Belknap and White Mountain ranges.

Jack was born in Massena, N.Y., the youngest child of Leon and Elizabeth (Hurteau) Lacombe. His parents instilled a drive for education and worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for their children.

He graduated from Clarkson University in 1961 with a degree in Civil Engineering. It was there that he met his beloved wife Jessalyn (Guenther) Lacombe, then a student at Potsdam State University.

After graduating, he was hired by Dravo Corporation in Pittsburgh, Penn., as an engineer on large projects including the building of locks and dams on the Ohio and Arkansas rivers, and the impressive construction of the Washington, D.C. subway system (the Metro). The family moved often, and in the mid-1970s decided to build a life in New England.

Jack worked in commercial construction in New Hampshire before starting his own company. Later in his career, he had a successful consulting business on national projects requiring him to travel frequently.

He always found time for family, and enjoyed ski trips, hiking, and boating on the lake with them.

The 1990s brought grandchildren, and they became the light of his life. He was a “play-on-the-floor-with-them” type of grandparent, and spent endless hours developing a close bond with his grandsons. He never missed a baseball game, ski race, golf match or band concert.

Jack was a founding board member of the Gilford Village Bank, and instrumental in the building and operations of the Gilford Public Library, where he served as a trustee. As a master wood-worker, he built little libraries, which he installed at the town docks and beach where people are free to borrow books.

His laughter and sense of humor will never be forgotten, his family said. In addition to his wife Jessie and children, John Lacombe, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and daughter Beth Lacombe Shafer, of Dover, N.H., he was loved by many: his grandsons, Stephen Shafer and his wife Thom of Hanoi, Viet Nam; Sam Shafer and his beloved Julia Dean of New York, N.Y.; brother Robert and his wife Alyne (deceased); sister Mary and her husband Herbert (both deceased); and many nieces and nephews.

He was blessed with a loving family and wonderful friends in New Hampshire, Shelter Island, and scattered across the country for which he was very grateful.

A Celebration of Jack’s Life will be held on Saturday, June 29, 2024 at noon at the Gilford Community Church, 19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford, N.H., followed by a reception in the fellowship hall.

A private family burial at the Raymond C. Wixson Memorial Garden will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation in Jack’s name can be made to the Gilford Public Library, 31 Potter Hill Road, Gilford, NH 03249, or the Gilford Community Church, 19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford, NH 03249.

For more information and to view an online memorial, please visit wilkinsonbeane.com.