Published: May 3, 2011
Thomas G. LeClair, 60, of Wethersfield and Old Saybrook, Conn., died unexpectedly at his home Saturday, April 23, 2011. Tom was the president of Clearing House Auction Galleries Inc, a family business where he worked as an auctioneer and appraiser for more than 40 years.
Husband for 27 years of Martha (Thompson) LeClair, he was born in Hartford, son of the late William L. and Lucille A. (Kamm) LeClair and had lived in Wethersfield for more than 50 years. He did many public service auctions and appraisals for various charitable organizations. Antiques and auctions were his life.
He enjoyed his time in Old Saybrook, and fished in the Long Island Sound while he was there. He was a member of the Jaguar Club of Southern New England and an avid Red Sox fan. In addition to his wife he is survived by his sister, Lucille K. “Missy” LeClair of Wethersfield and numerous cousins.
A funeral took place April 27 at the Dillon-Baxter Funeral Home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Corpus Christi Church, Wethersfield, with burial in the family plot of the Village Cemetery, Wethersfield.
Contributions in his memory may be made to Multiple Sclerosis Society, 659 Tower Avenue, First Floor, Hartford CT 06112. To share a memory with the family, visit the online guest book at www.dillonbaxter.com .
It is with great fondness that I recall first meeting Tom LeClair, a robust auctioneer who did things “his” way, and it was with great sadness that I learned of his passing. More than 40 years ago, I had been hauled as a teenager to a LeClair auction and was immediately impressed by the snap in Tom’s step, his authoritative ways, his great knowledge of antiques and his professionalism. It was years later as a fledgling reporter that I covered his auction featuring the Wethersfield highboy (and a matching lowboy) that he is pictured with here. While I don’t recall the year or what they sold for, my recollection is that it was well over $150,000, an unheard of price in those days.
For more years than I can recall, Tom’s visits to our office were a highlight of the week. Tom did things the old-fashioned way; he always hand carried his advertisements to our office and personally delivered them to Anita, and after her retirement, to Sue. It was the way that Tom LeClair conducted business; straight forward and face-to-face. And he continued to do business in that manner even in these days of Internet ease.
Tom would call Anita from time to time, well after deadline, and ask if we could squeeze his ad into the upcoming issue. Anita would always press him for a time of arrival, to which Tom would reply, “half-an-hour.” When he walked through the door, generally well over two hours later, he would claim with a broad grin, and amid laughter, that he had been “mugged by an old lady” on the way to his car.
While at our office, he always asked about me and I would stop whatever was going on, no matter how busy, to take time to visit with my friend of more than 30 years. Having also grown up in a family business, the twinkle in Tom’s eye would come alive when he would ask, “How’s the old man?” More often than not, it was just his way of asking where my father was. When Scudder learned of Tom’s presence, he, too, would drop the affairs at hand to trade a few chuckles and some news with Tommy.
I am pleased to have known Tom LeClair; he will be missed and his name will always be remembered fondly.
⁄avid S. Smith
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