June 24, 2013

Doc was surely one for the ages

Another lifetime member of the now-defunct French Quarter Comedy Club — also known as Fountain & Lucas Market — has passed on.

Ira “Doc” Rowlson made it through 92 years. With his death, the area has lost a historian, super sports fan and a legitimate straight man.

Doc was the perfect foil for the Montcalm merchants of mischief — John Fountain, Les and Gary Lucas. Fountain & Lucas shall always be remembered as a place you could get a nice cut of meat and be skewered by the best. The Plattsburgh landmark closed its doors for the final time a decade ago after more than 100 years of pushing beef and baloney.

Doc was dentist to many in the North Country, including the Lucas brothers who couldn’t resist getting in a dig. “Doc, we saw your old dentist chair at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont,” referring to an old wooden seat bearing the deep scars of traumatized patients.

Doc always tried to counter-punch, but rarely landed a telling blow. One thing about Doc, though. He could take a shot and be back for more the next day.

I first got to know Doc shortly after arriving in Plattsburgh in 1971. We became good friends, especially after discovering he was one of the few baseball Giants fans around to trace his loyalties back to New York.

It didn’t take long for Doc to bring me up to date on area sports and to learn he was arguably Plattsburgh High’s No. 1 fan — at least through the sixties when his three sons (who he seldom referred to by name, but as No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 son) were seeing active duty in the Orange and Black.

He was very vocal in his support of PHS, so much so that officials got to recognize the Doc’s harsh assessments. He never let on whether he was ever tossed, but I suspect he received more than one yellow card over the years.

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