POTSDAM, NY – Demilt F. Aitken, 92, of Leroy Street, peacefully passed away Wednesday morning, July 15, 2020 at home with family by his side.
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He was a man who brought a joie de vivre wherever he went. He was a loving and generous father, grandfather and great grandfather who influenced so many lives among his family and a wide circle of friends.
Demilt was born August 23, 1927 in Mount Vernon, NY, the son of the late Lawrence and Ann (Jacobsen) Aitken. He married Denise Roy at Saint-Esprit Catholic Church in Quebec City on August 23, 1952. They were blessed with five children and 64 years of devotion and love.
He graduated from A.B. Davis High School in Mount Vernon in 1945. As a teenager, Demilt was a competitive swimmer, diver, and lifeguard, and won team swimming and individual diving championships. He later would take great pleasure teaching his grandchildren how to dive. In 1945 he enlisted in the US Army, taking basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas and then in 1946 served in the US Army Constabulary Forces in Germany After earning a BS degree in civil engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Demilt went on to a long career in bridge and road rehabilitation, eventually forming his own successful construction company.
Demilt and Denise began their married life in Mount Vernon, NY and moved to Syosset, Long Island where they continued to raise their growing family. In 2006, they moved to Potsdam, NY. While in Syosset, Demilt, a proud convert to Catholicism, was an active member of St. Edward the Confessor Parish family, and served on the Parish Council, Holy Name Society, Knights of Columbus, Nocturnal Adoration Society and as a CYO coach. In more recent years, he was a communicant of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Potsdam. Demilt was an avid golfer, enjoying rounds with friends and family at many courses around the world, was proud to be a marshal at the 2002 US Open, and was a member of the Huntington Country Club on Long Island and the Potsdam Town & Country Club. He also enjoyed gardening, cooking, entertaining and the opera. He was most passionate about connecting family, whether through trips, parties, reunions or through intensive genealogical research which, among many projects, led to re-discovering family in Denmark. Demilt’s lifelong love affair with Quebec began when he met his French-Canadian wife, Denise, on the Chateau Frontenac boardwalk. To the end of his life his friends and family enjoyed his humor, wit and many stories that made them smile and laugh.
Demilt was a loving husband to his wife of 64 years, Denise (deceased in 2016); devoted father to his children, Elizabeth (Stephen) Fleury of Brewerton, NY; Peter (Patricia) Aitken of Calverton, NY; Michael (Betsy) Aitken of Chapel Hill, NC; John (Mary Beth) Aitken of Blauvelt, NY; and Nancy (Philip) Foisy of Potsdam, NY; beloved Gramps to Johanna (Matthew), James, Julia, Benjamin, Samuel (Marisa), Matthew (Dana), Myles (Jessie), Graham, Emily, Alexander, Joseph, Claudette (Michael), Caroline, Danielle, and Isabelle; and his great grandchildren, Nadia, Vivien, Jack, Sienna, Madeleine and great-granddaughter soon to be born.
Demilt will also be remembered by his sisters-in-law, Elaine Aitken of Richmond, VA and Suzanne Meucci of Quebec City and his brother-in-law, René Roy of Quebec City, and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends in the U.S, Quebec, and Denmark.
In addition to his wife and his parents, Demilt was predeceased by his brother, Lawrence (Bud), and his sister, Karen.
Due to coronavirus there will not be a viewing. A funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, July 22 at 11:00 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Potsdam, NY with Rev. Stephen Rocker celebrating. Burial will be held when circumstances permit in Notre-Dame de-Belmont Cemetery, Quebec City.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing may consider donations to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Potsdam, NY or Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley in his memory.
“ Dear, Dad, Gramps, Uncle/Mon Oncle…Nous t’aimons pour toujours! …Jeg elsker dig! …God bless all at this table! ”