Standing in front of the field that meant so much to him, friends and family members of the late Bert Decormier made a donation Friday afternoon which they hope will help preserve and keep alive his name and legend of service to Laconia Little League baseball.
A Laconia native, Robert "Bert" A. Decormier, died at his home on Aug. 3 at the age of 70. He had been employed at Verizon for 33 years, was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church and was involved with Laconia Little League for almost 40 years.
In Little League, Decormier was a groundskeeper at Colby Field in Opechee Park as well as serving as a coach and an umpire. Last year, the Laconia City Council honored Decormier and his good friend and fellow Little League volunteer Bill Tuttle with the Debra Bieniarz Award for service to the city's youth.
At the time, Mayor Matt Lahey praised both men for their combined 75 years of service to Laconia and to the Laconia Little League.
"It is impossible to list all of their contributions to the city on this page," said Lahey, while then Parks and Recreation Director Phil Rowley added that Decormier and Tuttle's volunteerism "saved the City of Laconia many dollars maintaining Colby Field and assisting with all the projects at Opechee Park."
Those projects, said Doug Ehmann, who worked with Decormier at New England Telephone which later became Verizon, included the bathhouse and lifeguard shack at Opechee Park as well as the concession stand and fencing at Colby Field.
Ehmann said the $1,100 he presented to LLL President Mary Nyhan in Decormier's name came from a "multitude of sources," including fellow telephone company colleagues from around the state and northeast. The hope is that the one-time donation will be used for something special, not just routine maintenance, at either Colby Field or at the concession stand, said Ehmann.
Nyhan said one possible idea is to create a "memorial wall" in the Laconia Room at Colby Field, honoring past volunteers like Decormier.
Whatever had to be done at Colby Field, you could likely find Decormier and Tuttle doing it, said Ehmann.
"He and Bill were the complete maintenance crew," said Ehmann.
Nyhan said the loss of Decormier "is huge."
"You can't fill it with one person."
"We won't be able to even remember all the things he did," added Ehmann.
Claire Decormier, his widow, agreed that her late husband "spent a lot of time" at Colby Field and enjoyed all of it, regardless of what he was doing.
His daughter, Debbie Smith, added that her father would be "pleased and honored that they did this in his memory."