PITTSFIELD, Mass., April 29, 2009 – Francis T. Laurin, president of Laurin Publishing Co. Inc., has died, the company announced Tuesday. He was 92 years old.
Fran, as he was known to family and friends, was a native of Pittsfield, Mass., and graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1935. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
He began his career at his father’s auto service station and, during World War II, worked as a machinist in the US Navy yard in South Carolina.
After the war, Fran returned to Pittsfield, working as a machinist at E.D. Jones paper mill (later known as Beloit Corp.), where he eventually was promoted to design engineer and then to export engineering coordinator for all foreign sales.
In 1973, after 30 years with Beloit, he retired at age 57 to join his wife, Teddi, in the publishing business. Teddi had started Optical Publishing Co. in 1954 with Dr. Clifton Tuttle and by 1973 had eight employees. The company was renamed Laurin Publishing in March 1986 and today has more than 70 employees. Laurin publishes the leading photonics trade magazines, including Photonics Spectra
, as well as The Photonics Directory
, electronic newsletters and Photonics.com.
Fran was an active member and supporter of the arts, and of environmental and cultural organizations, particularly those that assist children. He was a director of the Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow, Mass., and established the Laurin Audiological Center in Pittsfield, which offered children free testing and services from a visiting audiologist. He supported the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, the Annual Catholic Appeal, Self Help for Hard of Hearing People Inc. and Shriners Hospital for Children.
“It has become a pleasing and gratifying life helping children from birth through high school gain their position through sign language, hearing aids or whatever to reach their deserved goal,” Fran once said.
Fran was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Massachusetts Society of Professional Engineers, the Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers, American Business Press, the Rotary Club of Pittsfield and the Smaller Business Association of New England. He was a registered professional engineer with the Commonwealth’s Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors. In 1989, he was awarded a certificate of appreciation for his support of the National Professional Engineering Hall of Fame.
In 1999, Fran was named the Philanthropist of Distinction for Berkshire County by the Western Massachusetts chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. Berkshire County organizations he supported include the Berkshire Museum, Shakespeare & Company, Massachusetts Aububon Society, United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Pediatric Development Center and Berkshire United Way. He received the Community Advocacy Award from Willie Ross School for the Deaf in 2003.
He loved reading and working with his collection of antique cars.
Both Fran and Teddi were inducted into the Western Massachusetts Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2005 (See: Laurin Publishing Owners Inducted into Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame
Besides Teddi, his wife of 58 years, Fran leaves four children and eight grandchildren. A service is planned for Friday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Church in Pittsfield.
Memorial donations may be made to Willie Ross School for the Deaf and St. Joseph’s Church, both in care of Dery Funeral Home