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Archives Remembering Father Robert O. Lamitie

December 15, 2021

By Darcy Fargo
Editor

While he’ll be remembered as a beloved pastor to many, Father Robert O. Lamitie will likely be most remembered for his love of the Adirondacks and the Catholic camp that opened in that part of the world he cherished so much.

“He loved the Adirondacks a lot,” said Father Donald A. Robinson, a friend of Father Lamitie’s. “He had a home in the Adirondacks. He loved taking people on boat rides on the Upper Saranac Lake. He loved the mountains, the lakes – all of it.”

Father Lamitie died Dec. 7 at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach, Florida, where he had been residing for the last several years. He was 90 years old.

Father Robinson noted that Father Lamitie was one of the individuals who drove the efforts to create the diocesan camp, Camp Guggenheim, in Saranac Lake.

“He was instrumental, along with (Father) Art LaBaff, in getting camp off the ground and promoting it as a youth camp and retreat center,” Father Robinson said. “He oversaw camp for many years, especially when he was pastor at St. John’s in Lake Clear for many years.”

In his role at the camp, Father Lamitie helped form a number of seminarians who now are priests of the diocese.

“A lot of seminarians who worked under (Father Lamitie) went on to ordination, including Father Pat Ratigan,” Father Robinson said.

Camp Guggenheim wasn’t the only camp where Father Lamitie served.

“When he was in Lake Clear, I think he started the Masses at Fish Creek (campsite),” Father Robinson said.

In addition to his work at Guggenheim and in Lake Clear, Father Lamitie served as a parochial assistant at Saint Andrew’s Church in Sackets Harbor, Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg, Notre Dame Church in Malone, Saint John’s Church in Plattsburgh and Saint Anthony’s Church in Watertown early in his priesthood.

Later, he served as pastor at St. Anthony’s, St. Brendan’s in Keene, St. Patrick’s in Brasher Falls and at St. Agnes in Lake Placid. He served as administrator of St. Bartholomew’s in Old Forge, St. Patrick’s in Port Henry and All Saints in Mineville.

He also served as pro-synolda judge of the Diocesan Tribunal for five years; camp director of Camp Guggenheim for eight years; and as prison Chaplain at Bare Hill Correctional, Adirondack Correctional and Federal Correctional Institute.

“He was missed greatly at the prisons when he retired,” said Father Robinson.

Though he was well known for his ministries, Father Robinson said he’ll remember Father Lamitie’s personality fondly.

“He was very outgoing, very effervescent,” he said. “He loved to entertain. He loved to be around people. He was a great cook and a great baker. He was a good guy.”

In addition to his parents, Oliver and Marie (Florida-Hamlin) Lamitie, Father Lamitie was predeceased by his brother, Father James Lamitie, who also served as a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Bishop Terry R. LaValley on Dec. 14. Priests of the diocese concelebrated. Father Lamitie will be laid to rest in St. John in the Wilderness Cemetery in Lake Clear.

A complete obituary can be found below.

 

Funeral Mass celebrated Dec. 14 for Father Lamitie

Reverend Robert O. Lamitie, age 90, passed peacefully into new life on December 7, 2021, at Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach, Florida. Kit, his faithful friend of many years, was at his side.

On Monday, December 13 at 3p.m. Reverend John Yonkovig presided over the reception of the Body at Saint Agnes Church in Lake Placid.

Calling continued until 6p.m. Evening Prayer then resumed the following morning.

Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley, Bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, December 14 with the priests of the diocese concelebrating. Reverend Donald A. Robinson offered the homily.

Father Lamitie will be laid to rest at Saint John in the Wilderness Cemetery in Lake Clear.

Robert Lamitie was born in Albany on September 11, 1931, the son of Oliver and Marie (Florida-Hamlin) Lamitie.
After graduating from Saint Joseph Academy in Schenectady, he attended college at Siena College in Loudonville. He entered seminary at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore in 1951. After graduating in 1953, he continued at Saint Mary’s Seminary for theological studies until 1957.

Most Reverend Walter P. Kellenberg ordained Father Lamitie on May 18, 1957, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg.

After ordination, Father Lamitie served as parochial assistant at Saint Andrew’s Church in Sackets Harbor, Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg, Notre Dame Church in Malone, Saint John’s Church in Plattsburgh and Saint Anthony’s Church in Watertown.

Father Lamitie stayed on at Saint Anthony’s Church to serve as pastor from 1963 to 1969. He then served as pastor of Saint Brendan’s Church in Keene for two years and then eight years at Saint John in the Wilderness. He loved the Adirondacks and was a great supporter in the formation and early years of Camp Guggenheim and served as Camp Director for eight years. During this time, he was appointed to a five-year term as Pro-Synodal Judge of the Diocesan Tribunal.

In 1979, Father Lamitie was named pastor of Saint Patrick’s Church in Brasher Falls. He was named pastor of Saint Agnes Church in Lake Placid in 1985. After a short time as administrator of Saint Bartholomew’s Church in Old Forge in 1988, he served as chaplain at Bare Hill Correctional Facility for eleven years followed by two years at Adirondack Correctional Facility.

Father Lamitie retired in 2001 but remained active serving as chaplain at the Federal Correctional Institute, Ray Brook until 2006 and as temporary administrator of Saint Patrick’s Church in Port Henry and the Church of All Saints in Mineville. He spent his later years in Florida with the support of his friend, Kit, and companionship of Carley, his dog that managed to make a hospital visit prior to his death.

Father Lamitie was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Reverend James Lamitie, who also served as a faithful priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Arrangements are in the care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home, Saranac Lake

 

 

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