West Arlington, Vermont
Details of services
A memorial service will be scheduled for the spring. Memorial donations in his name can be made to the Vermont Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice of the Southwest Region, 7 Albert Cree Drive, Rutland, VT 05701.
Gedeon A. LaCroix, 99, died peacefully at home in West Arlington, VT, on January 21, 2023. He was born in Bennington on November 1, 1923, to Gedeon and Hazel (LaFlamme) LaCroix and graduated from Bennington High School. He briefly attended the University of Vermont in the fall of 1941.
Not long after Pearl Harbor he hitched hiked with a buddy to Pittsfield to enlist in the Marines Corps. He spent 38 months in the South Pacific first as a grunt and later as an intelligence officer and served at Bougainville, Guadalcanal, and Iwo Jima, witnessing both flag raisings on Mount Suribachi on February 25, 1945. He received a Purple Heart medal after being wounded by shrapnel there on March 8. Later he was also part of the invasion of the Mariana Islands including Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. A member of the 1st Battalion Intelligence Section, 21st Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, he often recounted that he captured one of the first Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima and escorted him to Marine Intelligence. US casualties were so great during the battle for the island, he was made chief of the intelligence section and given a battlefield promotion from private first class to corporal. After Japan surrendered, he was among the first to be discharged based on his long service.
Back home in Vermont through the GI Bill he enrolled at Middlebury College. He soon married his childhood sweetheart Jean Griswold who supported him at Middlebury working as a department assistant. Upon graduating in 1949, he entered a master’s program in public administration at Wayne State University in Detroit. During his first few years after graduating, he worked at the Pennsylvania Economy League doing public research. He next entered the steel industry working for thirty years at Shenango Incorporated, a family-owned company based in Pittsburgh. His assignments were in western Pennsylvania & Ohio and finally in Pittsburgh ending his career as vice-president.
Taking early retirement at age 62 in 1985, he and Jean acquired a farm in West Arlington. Through their career they always longed to be back home in Vermont. They soon entered the antiques business (a lifelong passion). Gedeon briefly served as the president of the Vermont Antiques Dealers’ Association. He also served on the Bennington County Regional Planning Commission and treasurer for the Bennington Museum where he served on the board of directors for many years.
An avid skier he maintained a season’s pass at Stratton Mountain until his eighties. He was often seen mowing his extensive lawns and tending his property in West Arlington.
His wife Jean predeceased him in 2016 as did his sisters Claire Casey and Dolores Chapman. He is survived by his son Christopher, his daughter-in-law Katherine Hart and his sister Elaine Reynolds and several nieces and nephews.