Obituary of Alton La Plante
Alton La Plante passed away at 89 years, surrounded by his loving family on July 3, 2019 due to kidney cancer and other medical complications. He was an amazing husband, father and grandfather and friend. His family always came first. Alton J. La Plante was born in 1929 to Joseph and Alma La Plante, in Crookston, Mn. The third of three children, Al had an older brother Don and sister Lenora. He grew up in the wheat fields of Minnesota and attended high school in Houston, Mn., where he lettered in football, baseball, basketball and track & field. He graduated from high school in 1947 and enlisted in the Navy, then served in the Korean war as an aircraft mechanic stationed in the South Pacific and in Japan.
After serving his country, he said “Californy is the place I oughta be” and enrolled at San Jose State University. He married his college sweetheart Barbara in 1956, graduated from San Jose State University with a Business degree in 1958 and went to work for New York Life Insurance in 1959. As of this year, he was an active agent culminating in a 60-year career that included opening the downtown office in Campbell CA. Al & Barbara raised seven children in the San Jose and Campbell area.
Their warm and inviting home was a gathering place for their children’s friends, as well as, those Al and Barbara met while traveling. Al’s interest in people was reflected in the frequent dinner guests of folks he had just met and his easy rapport with others.
As an all-around athlete, Al made sure that his kids were exposed to as many sports as possible, as well as outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing, swimming, boating, fishing etc. He also instilled in his family a love for homecooked food with his trademark breakfast dishes like sourdough pancakes, Dutch babies and crepes. He was known for many other signature dishes like sautéed abalone steaks freshly-caught by the La Plante clan and homemade tomato and basil sauce pasta.
One of Al’s passions was fishing, whether it be in the backcountry wilderness for trout or in the gulf of Baja for Dorado. He was also hooked on golf, playing whenever possible and scoring the ultimate golfer’s dream, a “Hole in One” at the Beale AFB course in 2007. Al was an avid tennis player and enjoyed many lifelong friendships with his tennis partners off the court.
Al & Barbara retired to Nevada City, Ca. in 1999 where Al was an active volunteer at the Interfaith Food Bank of Nevada County and attended the parish of St. Canice. As a faithful lifetime Blood Donor Al donated over 10 gallons to the Red Cross. Even in their later years, Al & Barbara had a sense of adventure and loved to travel. They visited Australia, China, Switzerland, Panama, Italy, Israel, Egypt, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii and even Spring Training in Arizona and many more.
Al is survived by his wife Barbara of 63 years, his seven children: Brian (Bambi), Jeff (Sandy), Laura (Paul), Mark, Lynda (Kent), David (Kim), Chris (Michele) and his twelve grandchildren: Justin, Josh, Eric, Katy, Sarah, Garrett, Jacob, Thomas, Meredith, Jenna, Adam and Gabriel, all of whom he would handily beat in competitive games of both cribbage and dominoes. He is preceded in death by his parents, his siblings and granddaughter Lindsay.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Interfaith Food Bank of Nevada County, the American Cancer Society and Wounded Warriors. A Memorial Mass will be held on July 27, at 12:30 pm at St. Canice Church in Nevada City, Ca. with a celebration of life immediately following.
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