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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 4, 2008

Grace C. Filkins

RENSSELAERVILLE — Grace C. Filkins of Rensselaerville — a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother — died on Dec. 1, 2008 at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn in Albany. She was 91.

“Grace loved life and lived it well,” her family wrote in a tribute. “She was an active bowler; she enjoyed snowmobiling, riding her moped, and paddle-boating on Crystal Lake. She liked to do jigsaw puzzles, was a fan of the New York Jets and loved Snoopy.”

She was born in New York City on July 23, 1917, the daughter of the late Mentone and Sara (Lutz) Kuhn. She was a graduate of Bethlehem Central High School and a former sales clerk at the Woolworth’s in Elsmere.

She attended the Trinity Episcopal Church since she was 13 years old.

“Grace was proud of the fact that she has a grandson and great-grandson serving in Iraq,” her family said. Her husband, Lloyd J. Filkins, and a daughter, Marion Duffy, died before her.

She is survived by her three sons, Ralph Filkins and his wife, Rosemary, Judson Filkins and his wife, Sandra, and Richard Filkins, and his wife Bettyann; her daughter,  Barbara Joslin and her husband Robert.

She is also survived by 12 grandchildren; Pamela Brush and her husband, Robert, Kimberly Stempel and her husband, Patrick, Andrew Joslin and his wife, Lisa, Donald Filkins and his wife, Debra, Terri Buchardt and her husband, Brian, Robert Tanner and his wife, Khristina, Stacy Woodworth and her husband, Lance, Monica Castilli and her husband, Scott, David Filkins, Laurin Sgroi and her husband, Ray, and Karin and Sharin Duffy; 19 great-grandchildren, and her special son-in-law Richard Duffy.

Funeral services will be Friday, Dec. 5, at 11 a.m. in the Trinity Episcopal Church in Rensselaerville. Friends may call at the Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 Route 81, in Greenville today, Dec. 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. Interment will be in the Rensselaerville Cemetery.

Nellie B. Roberts

GUILDERLAND — Nellie B. Roberts, who loved her country and the soldiers who defend it, died on Nov. 27, 2008. She was 76.

A woman who centered on family, she welcomed the veterans from the Boyd Hilton Post as though they were her own family, said her daughter, Susan Sweet.

“She always had open arms,” Mrs. Sweet said of her mother.

“She was patriotic to a fault,” Mrs. Roberts’s daughter-in-law said with a note of admiration.

Every year, during the sticky August weeks of the Altamont Fair, Mrs. Roberts managed the Veterans of Foreign Wars booth, said her son, Eugene Roberts.

She called him once from the fair and asked, “So, what nights can I put you down for?” Mrs. Sweet recalled. “She had a way of volunteering us,” Mrs. Sweet said, and added, “in a loving way.”

Mrs. Roberts grew up not far from the fairgrounds. Her father owned Ken’s Roller Skating Rink, “between Dutcher’s and the Bozenkill,” Mr. Roberts said, referring to the ice cream landmark. His mother worked at the rink, he said, and she made many friends there.

“It was the place to go for all the youth in those days,” he said.

There are “pictures of our whole family on roller skates,” Mrs. Sweet said.

Their children weren’t sure if Nellie and Pat Roberts met at the rink, but, Mr. Roberts said, “The first was a blind date [on] Memorial Day at the Altamont fairgrounds.”

Pat Roberts served in the Navy during the Korean War and the couple were both active in the Boyd Hilton Post.

Mrs. Roberts was a member of ladies’ auxiliary for more than 50 years and held the title of president and secretary over the course of those decades. She and a few others began a Loyalty Day celebration in Altamont, which is held annually on May 1.

“She had been to other Loyalty Day programs,” Mrs. Sweet said of what prompted her mother to organize one here. Mrs. Roberts liked “the fact it’s a remembrance,” she said.

“She just wanted to give back to the community, and had a soft spot for veterans,” Mr. Roberts said of his mother’s volunteer work.

“I couldn’t keep up with her,” he said, especially after she retired from her work as an insurance office manager and dedicated more of her time to her charitable efforts. Mrs. Roberts liked her work, he said, since her line of work was helping people. “It’s a recurring theme,” he said.

Mrs. Roberts served as Albany County Council president and secretary, past District Number 3 president and treasurer, past Department of New York secretary and treasurer, a member of The Military Order of the Cootie Auxiliary, a past grand president of New York, and an associate member of the Northeast Chapter of the Korean War Veterans, according to a tribute from her family. In addition to her service for the VFW, Mrs. Roberts was a member of the Woodlawn Reformed Church, the Rotterdam Democratic Club, and an honorary member of the Woestina Young at Heart Seniors.

“She was a very caring person,” Mrs. Sweet said. “She thought of others before herself.”


Mrs. Roberts is survived by her son, Eugene W. Roberts, and his wife, Kim, and by her daughter, Susan Sweet, and her husband, Larry. She is also survived by four grandchildren: Kevin Sweet and his wife, Karen; Eric Roberts and his wife, Sheri; Kevin Roberts and his wife, Catherine; and Melissa DeLacey and her husband, Daniel. She is also survived by five great-grandchildren, Brendan, Lauren, Wesley, Lincoln, and Avery, and by her brother, Kenneth Alexson, and many nieces and nephews.

Her husband, Walter Roberts, known as Pat, died before her, as did her brother, William Gilman, and her sister, Esther Pieniazek.

A funeral service was held on Dec. 1, at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont with interment in Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Contributions may be made to the Saratoga National Cemetery Honor Guard, 200 Duell Rd., Schuylerville, NY 12871 or to the Fisher House (Albany) c/o Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 113 Holland Ave., Albany, NY 12208.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Beatrice C. Rukat

KNOX — Beatrice C. Rukat was “one heck of a lady,” according to her husband of 54 years, Chester J. Rukat.

The Rukats were best friends who worked and played together, according to their own rules. The pair were inseparable as they toured the country in their motor home or went camping or square dancing together.

Mrs. Rukat died on Friday, Nov. 28, 2008, at Albany Medical Center Hospital after a long illness. She was 75.

Born in Knox to farmer Elwood Saddlemire and his wife, Helen, she graduated from Berne-Knox Central School.

“She loved school,” said her husband.

The two of them met at the Knox Cave Skating Rink. “We had fun roller-skating,” recalled Mr. Rukat. “We weren’t fancy skaters but we didn’t fall down.”

He went on about what attracted him to Beatrice Saddlemire: “I thought she was a good-looking girl, and she seemed to have common sense — that helped,” he said.

During the Korean War, Mr. Rukat was drafted. “I didn’t know if I was coming back,” he said. “I told her to go ahead and have fun.”

He wrote to her from Japan and she wrote back but still he didn’t think she would wait for him. She did. They were married on May 2, 1954.

Their marriage was a happy one.

“I mean this from the bottom of my heart,” said Mr. Rukat who said he was self-educated. “She was the manager. Because of her, I always had a buck in my pocket.”

Mr. Rukat worked first at the Army depot and then at the Watervliet arsenal. Mrs. Rukat worked for General Electric for 37 years, retiring as a leader in keypunch.

“She worked and I worked,” said Mr. Rukat. “I came home tired and she came home tired. I’m not going to sit on my butt while she makes the meal and waits on me. I helped her. I’d dry the dishes every night. We’d make the bed together, one of us standing on each side. When you work together, you understand one another better.”

He went on, “We lived by four things: One, you work together; two, you play together; three, when you argue, you communicate, you talk it out; four, no matter how disappointed or annoyed you are, you kiss goodnight because it could be the last one.”

The Rukats’ work was close to home, but their play was far flung.

“We loved to travel, her and I,” said Mr. Rukat. “We slept in every state except 10, even little Rhode Island...We had our own motor home, a 32-footer; I pulled a car behind it.”

Mr. Rukat spoke with feeling about the depth and breadth of their travels. “We had our hands in the Suwannee River and we saw how they built cars at the Ford Museum. We saw the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.”

He went on, “The Badlands of South Dakota are beautiful. The rocks are colored yellow and orange.”

His wife’s favorite place was Bryce Canyon in Utah. “She enjoyed that the most,” Mr. Rukat said. “It’s smaller than the Grand Canyon but it has rock formations like an arch. It’s like something pushed the rocks up in the air.”

The Rukats also enjoyed a bit of the wild West at home, square dancing Western style. “Her and I danced to a hundred different callers in the 1960s,” said Mr. Rukat.

He wore a bolo tie and she wore a red skirt. “Her skirt was 21 feet around with crinoline underneath,” Mr. Rukat said.

A favorite caller was an Altamont barber; another was from Massachusetts. The Rukats regularly danced three-hour sets. “Maneuverability” is what defines the Western style, said Mr. Rukat. “It was challenging.”

Recalling a high point, he concluded, “She even danced on television on the Pete Williams Show.

The Rukats also enjoyed snowmobiling and camping out. “She loved camping,” Mr. Rukat said. The couple camped often in the Adirondacks, and also in the Catskills and in Canada, including a trip to the Bay of Fundy.

“When we got there, the ocean was out where we couldn’t even see it; the boats were in mud,” Mr. Rukat said of a visit to the Bay of Fundy. “When we finished eating, the boats were floating again. The tide goes out 48 feet every 24 hours. You can watch it from a cliff.”

Mr. Rukat concluded of time spent with his wife, “We had a ball.”

“I’ll never have another good friend like her,” he said wistfully. Then, with his voice growing stronger, he went on. “I’ll tell you, best of all, I loved my wife but she was more of a friend. We never had any children...We had each other. Friendship is stronger than love.”


In addition to her husband, Chester J. Rukat, Beatrice C. Rukat is survived by her brother, Robert Saddlemire and his wife, Mary Ann, of Berne; her sister, Doris Lott and her husband, Warren, of Wright; her nephews, Michael Lott of Wright, Kenneth Saddlemire of Berne, and Larry Lott of Palmyra, N.Y.

Her sister, Marjorie Kane, died before her as did her niece, Gloria Kane.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont, with interment in Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National Kidney Foundation, 30 East 33rd Street, New York, NY 10016, or to the American Diabetes Association, Albany Office, 7 Washington Square, Albany, NY 12205.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Ingrid Wood

VOORHEESVILLE — Ingrid Wood, a loving mother, grandmother, and avid gardener, died on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008, at her home. She was 74.

 “She was a wonderful wife and mother,” said Mrs. Wood’s stepdaughter Donna Susi, of Saratoga Springs. “Anyone who knew her would feel the same. She loved Voorheesville, and all her friends. She was very loving and outgoing.”

Mrs. Wood was born and educated in Germany, and moved to Voorheesville with her family in 1953.

She and her husband, Orville E. Wood, had a quiet wedding ceremony in Altamont and a small reception afterward at her parents’ home, Mr. Wood said. The two would have celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary on Dec. 31.

“I thought we were going to make it,” Mr. Wood said. “She was doing just fine until the last week.”

Mrs. Wood had been ill for six years, following two strokes.

“This was her third stroke,” Mr. Wood said. Her family was with her when she died, he said. “She was happy for that, I’m sure,” Mr. Wood said.

After the second stroke, Mrs. Wood began to lose her speech, he said. She also had difficulty hearing, he said. “She did her best,” Mr. Wood said.

“Her main enjoyment was babies, anybody’s or her own,” he said. “She just loved babies and little kids.”

The Woods met when they both worked at a hospital.

“I always worked nights at the hospital and days at construction,” Mr. Wood said. After their wedding, Mrs. Wood stayed at home with her daughters from Mr. Wood’s previous marriage.

“She liked that. She loved to do her housework and, in the afternoon, she would be in the garden with her flowers,” he said. Mrs. Wood used to keep a vegetable garden, but, with the increase in deer, she began growing only flowers, he said.

The Woods had two more children, both boys.

After the children were grown, Mrs. Wood helped elderly people with their errands and households. Mr. Wood remembered one 103-year-old man, a former minister, whom Mrs. Wood helped.

“She used to take him shopping. She used to sort of enjoy him. He never lost his ability for speech, so to speak,” Mr. Wood said. The gentleman would meet someone he knew at the store and talk for an hour, he said, but Mrs. Wood did not mind. She cooked one meal each day for him, but not more, Mr. Wood said.

“She felt like she needed to be home,” he said.

“She was very kind. That’s partially the way they were taught in Germany,” he said. She attended school through the eighth grade, and then learned housekeeping for other people.

“She worked for some rich people,” he said. One story Mrs. Wood told was about a woman for whom she worked.

“She spilled soup all over her shoulder. That was a no-no,” Mr. Woods said with a laugh.

“She had a great deal of faith,” Mrs. Wood’s family wrote in a tribute. She was a member of the Voorheesville First United Methodist Church where she had been active for many years in the women’s group.

Mrs. Wood also enjoyed taking pictures.

“She always loved a camera,” Mr. Wood said. “She has 17 albums. She’s got pictures of the boys as little runts and the same with the girls.”

He said that she did not ask for many things. She only asked that he pave their driveway, after a long winter.

“We always seemed to carry on between the both of us, do for each other,” Mr. Wood said. “I can’t think of anything in her life that she didn’t enjoy.”


Ingrid Wood is survived by her husband, Orville E. Wood; her daughter, Bonnie Lynn Buddenhagen, and her husband, David, of Schenectady; her daughter, Donna L. Susi, and her husband, Frank, of Saratoga Springs; and her son, William C. Wood, and his wife, Lisa, of Averill Park; seven grandchildren; several nieces, and four nephews in Florida.

Her son, John Al Wood, died before her as did one of her grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are by the Reilly & Son Funeral Home in Voorheesville. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association at 7 Washington Square, Albany, NY, 12205.

— Jo E. Prout

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