Captain John Francis Hoague-Rivette, 11, of Whitehall, passed away on October 23, 2019, after a months-long battle with brain cancer.

John Francis was truly a special boy whose life and perseverance touched many people across the U.S. in recent months. His incredible spirit as he faced his harrowing battle brought together the community of Whitehall and the Capital Region in a truly remarkable way. And this is John Francis’ legacy – to unite people and bridge divides and to show us the gentle ways we can come together to bring solace and comfort to those among us experiencing pain.

During his short 11 years, 4 months and 1 day on this earth, John Francis always put others before himself. He did this on and off the baseball and football field and basketball court, in the classroom and in his community. In fact, that’s how he received the title of “Captain” in the first place. He went out of his way to encourage and support his teammates, classmates, and friends, pushing others to strive higher and do better.

In return, when John Francis faced the battle of his life, the Capital Region poured so much love and kindness into the Rivette and Hoague families — compassion that will never be forgotten. A request to ride along in a Washington County Sheriff Department squad car blossomed into an honorary captaincy with the department. And from there, many others came alongside John Francis’ family. These experiences brought John Francis into a very special and very dedicated tribe of selfless individuals.

The law enforcement community, in particular, did all it could to brighten John Francis’ days. They visited in the hospital while he received chemotherapy and radiation. They escorted his ambulance home from Albany Medical Center to Whitehall when he was discharged into hospice care. And they visited him at home time and again to bring hope, love, and kindness. On his last day on earth, a detachment of officers stood at his bedside encouraging and supporting him and our family.

This little man will be remembered best as sarcastic and smart; as kind and generous; as an old soul who never met a person he couldn’t connect with.

To John Francis’ classmates: We love you more deeply and dearly than you know. His mom, Carrie, wants you to know you are a part of our family now and you will always have a place at her table and on her couch. Never hesitate to visit or invite her to games and know that she will always be there to support you and aide you in whatever life sends your way. Please prepare to dress in your best Whitehall maroon and white jersey or uniform to honor John Francis and his love of being your teammate and Captain. This is how John Francis will always remember you: cheering for the Railroaders and for him.

In lieu of flowers, we are setting up a memorial fund in his memory. This fund will aide students at Whitehall Central School and ensure they have what they need to succeed academically and provide the memorable school experience that John Francis will not have, but so rightfully deserved. Donations can be sent to:

Community Bank

c/o Captain John Francis Memorial Fund

92 Main Street

Whitehall, NY 12887

Be sure to include “Captain John Francis Memorial Fund” in the memo line for the funds to be correctly deposited.

Services will be held at the Whitehall Athletic Club (the former Whitehall Armory) at 62 Poultney St, Whitehall on October 30, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A Memorial Service will be held at 8:00pm following the visitation at the Whitehall Athletic Club, the Reverend Kevin Gebo, Pastor of the Truthville Baptist Church officiating.

Arrangements are under the care of the Jillson Funeral Home Inc., 46 Williams Street, Whitehall, NY 12887

Online condolences may be made at



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