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Rene J. Lacasse. (Courtesy photo.)

Rene J. Lacasse. (Courtesy photo.)

A fitting legacy for Claremont’s kids

Rene Lacasse of Claremont was an immigrant, a United States Navy veteran, a steel worker, a dad and a coach. He loved basketball, and he thought all kids should have the opportunity to play sports. Now, a fund in his name at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is covering registration fees for kids in need to participate in sports and other activities at the local community center

Rene J. Lacasse immigrated with his parents to Claremont in the 1920s. He discovered a uniquely American sport — basketball — that he adored. He played for St. Mary’s High School and helped his team win a state championship in 1939. He served in the Navy during World War II and returned to Claremont to work for four decades as a steel worker.

After his wife died from cancer, he raised their six children with support from extended family.

Lacasse was dedicated to his community, and understood the value of sports and other group activities in children’s lives. He thought all kids should have the opportunity to participate, so he coached youth sports and — long before girls and young women were encouraged to be athletes — he helped start and run a girls’ basketball league.

In 2018, his daughter Judith Lacasse Couture, a Claremont teacher, established a fund in his name at the Charitable Foundation with the support of her siblings. The fund is designated to give Claremont children the opportunity to participate in sports and other programming offered by the Claremont Savings Bank Community Center. The fund will support registration fees of children who otherwise would not be able to participate.