Local legend passes

Frank Pabst was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago

PLATTSBURGH - Frank Pabst sailed off into the sunset.

The sailor, historian, diver and businessman passed Tuesday at Fletcher Allen Healthcare in Burlington. The 79-year-old was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and died during surgery.

“He was truly appreciated for what he did for our community,” said Plattsburgh City Mayor Donald Kasprzak.

The Brooklyn-born man began working on ships at age 11 and moved to Plattsburgh in 1957.

Pabst was captain of the Juniper, which he purchased in 1976 and converted to a tour boat. The Juniper toured Lake Champlain until the early 2000s.

“I enjoyed the Juniper very much, like many people back then did,” Kasprzak said. “We enjoyed his steaks and socializing on the Juniper.”

The Juniper was packed on the weekends as people flocked to the infamous “Booze Cruise.”

Pabst was also known as a local historian, often sharing stories of Lake Champlain and the surrounding region for the thousands of visitors that stepped foot on the Juniper. He even shared tales of “Champ,” a possible relic from the dinosoaur ages swimming in the depths of Lake Champlain.

“I knew Mr. Pabst for more than 30 years,” Kasprzak said. “We enjoyed many conversations.”

Pabst also ran a restaurant in the 1980s on the corner of Bridge Street and City Hall Place known as the Captain’s Table and worked in underwater salvage.

Kasprzak most remembered Pabst for his local contributions.

He helped discover and retrieve the anchor from the British warship Confiance. The U.S. Navy defeated Confiance in the Battle of Plattsburgh on Sept. 11, 1814, and the anchor is displayed in City Hall.

Pabst helped discover other artifacts around the region and wrote the book “Cannons and Anchors,” which was published in 2005.

Kasprzak worked with Pabst when the mayor was a member of the Common Council and said he appreciates the man’s contributions.

“He did a lot for this community,” Kasprzak said. “He will certainly be missed throughout the North Country.”

A memorial service is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., Saturday, in Trinity Episcopal Church in Plattsburgh. Arrangements are being handled by the R.W. Walker Funeral Home, 69 Court St., Plattsburgh.

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