G ordon Laverne “Lucky” Luckenbaugh, 78, passed away early Wednesday morning, Jan. 26, 2011, at Pleasant Valley after a long illness.
Born Nov. 5, 1932, in Shrewsbury, Pa., to Fred and Minnie (Warehime) Luckenbaugh, “Lucky” was predeceased by a brother, Ken.
“Lucky” spent his childhood in Glen Rock, Pa., and was a star athlete for the high-school basketball and baseball teams. As a baseball pitcher, he threw many shutouts, including a one-hitter in the first varsity game he ever pitched when he was only a freshman. His senior year, he was named the “most modest,” “neatest,” “quietest,” and “best dressed” member of the graduating class. In 1951, he graduated from Glen Rock High School, the last graduating class from the school before it was consolidated.
From 1951 to 1953, “Lucky” was in the Naval Reserves and also lived in Schenectady for a time while pursuing a career as an electrician. In February of 1954, however, “Lucky” joined the Navy full time, and for two years he served aboard the battleship USS Iowa. During those 24 months, he was a radio mechanic and radar technician, and he traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. He was honorably discharged in February of 1956 after being awarded the National Defense Service Ribbon as well as the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Upon leaving the service, “Lucky” enrolled at Penn State University. He met his future wife, Jayne Kyner, during his college years, and they were married on Dec. 22, 1957, in Green Village, Pa. Eventually, “Lucky” earned a bachelor of science degree in forestry in 1960, and then went to work for the U.S. Forest Service.
After serving as a game warden at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland until 1966, “Lucky” earned a promotion and joined the Hoosier National Forest in Tell City, Ind. As a timber management specialist during that time, “Lucky’s” division was one of the few within the government – even at that time – that actually made a profit. In 1973, Lucky made one last move, transferring to the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. Finally, in 1985 after 26 years with the Forest Service, he retired.
Soon after, he opened “Lucky’s Gunshop” three miles south of Granville on Route 22, and he enjoyed operating this business for the next 20 years. During that time, he remained a proud member of the Masons and continued with his first love: hunting and fishing. As an avid sportsmen, he traveled to Wyoming to hunt mule deer and elk, as well as visiting Arkansas to hunt for wild boar. He was also proud to be a member of the National Rifle Association, and made no apologies for his conservative philosophies or politics.
In his later years, “Lucky” further expanded his skills, becoming an expert wildlife photographer. He also found time to sell real estate as well as being employed by the Granville Central School District as a bus driver. As long as he was able, “Lucky” continued to enjoy the outdoors and nature, and he was still bagging deer and turkey until he was well into his 70s.
“Lucky” is survived by his wife of 53 years, Jayne; as well as his son, Greg (and Sharon and daughter Amy) of Queensbury; and daughter, Sue, of Ballston Spa, in addition to his older brother, Gene (and Lou) of Hanover, Pa.; and younger sister, Betty, of Dover, Pa.
There will be no calling hours. Interment and a graveside service will be conducted in the springtime at the Mettowee Valley Cemetery in Granville.
Donations in Lucky’s memory may be made to the National Rifle Association.