Publisher, Novelist, Drama Critic, Jeb Ladouceur, Sr., 1933- 2022
Jeb Ladouceur, Sr., a 58-year resident of Smithtown, died on Saturday, March 26 2022, at the age of 89.
Founder of The Fire News in 1973, and still carried on the rolls as the iconic publication’s Publisher Emeritus, Mr. Ladouceur is survived by his wife of 64 years, Elizabeth, sons Jeb, Jr., Will, and Andrew, as well as daughters Meg Longpré and Carolyn Purcaro. He also leaves behind 14 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren.
Born in Buckingham, Quebec, Canada in 1933, Ladouceur emigrated to Long Island with his parents and sister, Bette Ann in 1944. He graduated from Riverhead High School in 1951 and immediately enlisted in the United States Air Force, during the Korean War where he served with distinction in this country and in North Africa. It was during his term in the military that Mr. Ladouceur became a naturalized American citizen, an event he always defined as the greatest privilege of his life.
Jeb was honorably discharged from the USAF, enrolled in St. John’s University, married his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth White in 1957, and graduated from SJU with honors in 1959. In the half-dozen years that followed, Mr. Ladouceur engaged in a number of advertising-related jobs during which the young couple lived in various Long Island towns before settling for good in their adopted Smithtown. There, the Ladouceurs raised their close-knit family in the Stony Hill Path residence, where Jeb and Elizabeth would spend the next 55 years, following Mr. Ladouceur's unsuccessful run for the New York State Senate in the politically charged year of 1968.
Conversely, Ladouceur’s 1973 launching of The Fire News proved eminently successful. The publication promptly became both an accepted communications vehicle for Long Island’s 20,000 fire and rescue volunteers, and an acknowledged effective conduit between the newspaper’s several advertisers and their Fire and Rescue Service buying influences. Mr. Ladouceur retired from active leadership of the ground-breaking publication when The Fire News was sold in 2000.
Printer’s ink continued to course through Jeb Ladouceur’s veins, and in the first 12 years of his retirement the indefatigable Smithtown resident penned no fewer than a dozen published novels in the thriller and mystery genres. All were well received, according to the author’s longtime publicist, Debbie Lange Fifer of Kings Park, and some won awards for excellence.
Long an aficionado of legitimate theater, Mr. Ladouceur turned his pen to drama criticism in 2010. He was syndicated with a number of Long Island weekly newspapers and online publications, and producers soon joined area editors, along with readers, in referring to his reviews as among the finest examples of literary evaluation in print.
Ladouceur once served as president of the Landing Civic Association, chaired the Fundraising Committee for Smithtown’s Tercentenary celebration, and was appointed to the N.Y. State Arson Task Force by former Governor Mario Cuomo. He was a charter member of the Long Island Author’s Circle, an organization he and five other area writers founded in 2015.