Born: October 7, 1893
Died: November 30, 1957, buried in Pawling Cemetery, Pawling, Dutchess County, New York. His gravestone and the SSDI say Nov. 30.
Married: Rosalind Chapman
Children: Irene (Peck), Richard C. LaPan
George H. LaPan was president of the Adirondack National Bank and Trust Company. The George LaPan Highway was named for him after his death in an automobile accident. The formal dedication of the opening of the George LaPan Highway took place on Monday November 24, 1958, at the bridge over the Saranac River, and the celebration continued at the Hotel Saranac with various speakers including Mayor Frank Ratigan and Hayward H. Plumadore, who was the Town of Harrietstown Supervisor.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, December 2, 1957
George LaPan was born in Dannemora on October 7, 1893, the second son of John Henry and Addie Hutchins LaPan. He was one of seven children, one of whom died in infancy.
His older brother, Clarence, lives in Saranac Lake. Then, after himself, were Richard LaPan of Chazy (who died two years ago), Edna (Mrs. James F. Hickey of Brockton, Mass.), and James H. LaPan and William LaPan of Saranac Lake.
The family moved here in 1895. George went to school here and graduated with the Saranac Lake High School class of 1912. While in school he worked afternoons and during the summers at Gray's Book Store (now Moreaus').
After high school, he wanted to go to McGill University to study medicine. However, in order to try to save some money for his medical education, he went to work for the Adirondack National Bank and Trust Company as assistant to the bookkeeper.
That was to 1912 and he never left the bank's employment. He held many position at the bank, and in 1942, when he was vice-president and cashier, he graduated from the Graduate School of Banking of Rutgers University. This course, conducted by the American Bankers Association, required two years of extension work and two weeks in residence at Rutgers.
On January 14, 1944 he was elected president of the bank succeeding John Freer, and was re-elected every year since then.
Last June marked his 45th year with the bank but, in line with his general modesty, he refused to allow his associates to celebrate the occasion.
Mr. LaPan was active in many community and service organizations. He was for more than 20 years treasurer of the Elks. He was a Shriner. He was a member of the Rotary Club.
His activities were as wide as the community's activities. He contributed a great deal of time to the Boy Scouts and to the Trudeau Foundation of which he was treasurer and a director. He chaired many community drives, was a member of the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Adirondack Park Association.
In addition to his wife, three brothers and his sister, he is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Irene Peck of Freeport. L.I., N.Y.; a son, Richard C., 16, a student at Trinity Pawling in Pawling, New York; and two grandsons, Michael and Thomas Peck.
Some called him "Mr. Saranac Lake" and others called him "Uncle George." Anyhow George LaPan was tops in his community. Over and over as word passed around of his tragic death Saturday night, together with the death of his old friend Louis Ryan, people felt as if they had suffered a very deep, personal loss.
George LaPan had strength and wisdom and courage and a wonderful sense of humor. He loved his community and his bank, the Adirondack National Bank. He liked to fish and hunt and play poker. He was a regular guy. He was a banker with a heart. He knew his Adirondack people as probably no one else has known them for a long time. He knew our strong points and our foibles.
There were times when the bank board would not approve a loan, but George LaPan would make a loan anyhow, out of his own pocket, because he had faith in a man's idea and in the man himself. Yet he could, and sometimes did say "No" when a project seemed hopeless or would only bring a burden that could not be carried. And he would say "no" in a way that left the disappointed one liking George LaPan, and respecting him.
He was, too, a devoted family man and liked, for instance to contribute to his son's rare coin collection. And for many years, and this perhaps is not widely known, he was a bee keeper, just the other day he talked with enthusiasm of the marvellous ways in which bees operate.
While the bank absorbed many of his energies, and he worked there often on Saturdays and Sundays and evenings in addition to the regular hours, George LaPan somehow found time to work for the Boy Scouts, the Elks, Trudeau Foundation, the Village Planning Board and other civic activities. He disliked making speeches, but he would work hard at anything that would help the people or the community. And he was an optimist. He believed in the future of Saranac Lake and the Adirondacks at a time when there were plenty selling this area short.
On two occasions, a few quiet, persuasive words of his turned the tide at times of crisis in the community's life. The first was when the Trudeau Foundation Board seemed on the verge of closing not only the sanatorium in Saranac Lake, but also the research laboratories, and transferring funds of over $3,000,000 to another institution in a metropolitan center. Mr. LaPan's plea that the recommendation of eminent scientists be followed and that the labs be left in Saranac Lake led to a one-vote victory for his point of view. The labs are still here. The second was when a strike at the AMA Academy last spring led to officials of the American Management Association to consider moving the Academy elsewhere. George LaPan asked a couple of AMA executives to meet with a representative of local plumbing interests. The meeting was at the bank. A formula was worked out satisfactory to both sides. The work of the conversion of the Trudeau San into the AMA Academy continued.
These are but samples. A good man, a great man has left us.