In Memoriam
By Fire Chief Robert Crowe
October 24, 2019

It is with great sadness that the department announces the passing of Firefighter Elmer Votra. Firefighter Votra passed away on 10/23/2019. Elmer joined the Canton Fire Department on October 3, 1963 and served faithfully for 56 years. He was a fixture around the fire station and was well respected by his fellow members, young and old. Arrangements are with the O'Leary Funeral Service. His obituary appears below.

Elmer N. Votra “Jr.”, 90, of Canton, died on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse. He was reunited with his beloved Norreen on their 71st anniversary.

Elmer was born on July 9, 1929 in Parishville, the son of the late Elmer Leo and Marion (Bush) Votra. He graduated from Parishville High School. On October 23, 1948, he was united in marriage with Norreen Andrews. She predeceased him August 16, 2013. Elmer was an avid truck driver for many years. First for the McCarthy Chicken Farm, delivering ice, he later went on to drive for Parish Oil, Pepsi Co. at Clinton’s Ditch and finished his career at Adirondack Asphalt at the ripe age of 80. Elmer was a hardworking, devoted husband and family man. He enjoyed playing softball, bowling, cutting fire wood and hunting. He was also a long-time member of the Canton Fire Department.

Surviving are his children, Donna Mattice; Robin (Bill) Votra-Dafoe; Tammy (Mike) Brown, Mary Jankiewicz (Mike Monette), a daughter-in-law, Gloria Votra; 16 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. Also surviving are a sister, Lena Weatherup and a brother, Gary Votra, many nieces and nephews, a long-time friend, David Stacy and his entire Canton Fire Department Family.

Elmer is predeceased by two sons, Stephen and James Votra, a son-in-law, David Mattice and three siblings, Peter Votra, Joyce Murdock and Joan Dafoe.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 10:00 am until the time of his funeral service at 3:00 pm at the O’Leary Funeral Home, Canton. Burial will follow in the Fairview Cemetery, Canton.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Canton Fire Department, 77 Riverside Drive; Canton, New York 13617 or online at

Memories and condolences may be shared online at Arrangements for Elmer Nelson Votra are under the care of the O’Leary Funeral Service of Canton.


Thomas Matzell October 24, 2019 at 3:09 PM
Condolences to Elmer's family, friends, and his fellow firefighters. It was my privilege to have known Elmer for many years and to have served with him in the department. He was the most kind and gentle man I've known, one always willing to help and teach others. Rest in peace, Elmer.