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Obituaries Archives The Altamont Enterprise, June 16, 2011
Leonard M. Richardson
STARKVILLE A farmer and a family man, Leonard M. Richardson died on Saturday, June 11, 2011, at his Starkville home with his loving family by his side. He was 72.
“He was quiet and hard-working,” said his sister, Lora Ricketts of Thompson’s Lake. “He was also very loyal and caring and would do anything for his children.”
Mr. Richardson was born on March 22, 1939 in Albany, the son of the late Willis and Martha Kolakowski Richardson.
“I remember the good times I had with Len as we grew up on a farm in North Pomfert, Vermont,” said his sister. “There were four of us kids in the family then and we lived two miles from all neighbors. We played baseball, two against two. Or, if our parents were gone, we’d ride the work horses, two on each horse, and try to have a race. We were fine if our parents didn’t come home early…. That was our way of being devilish.”
The Richardsons didn’t own a saddle so the children rode bareback. They lived in a house without running water or indoor plumbing, and they walked to a one-room schoolhouse where children from first through eighth grades were taught together.
Mrs. Ricketts went on, “We’d go fishing for hours on end…We always milked the cows together and did most chores together as we were the two oldest.
“Len was the best man at my wedding,” she said. Mrs. Ricketts got married on Oct. 13, 1956.
Soon after, in 1957, her brother joined the Army. He earned his GED (General Education Diploma, certifying high-school level academic skills) and also obtained a business degree while enlisted. Honorably discharged in 1960, Mr. Richardson was proud to have served at the end of the Korean War; he received a Purple Heart for the rescue of a fellow soldier, his family wrote in a tribute.
His family had moved to Knox in the Helderbergs.
He was married to Linda Carman Richardson on June 27, 1975. “They shared a beautiful 35 years of marriage,” his family wrote.
At the time of his marriage, Mr. Richardson had a small farm in the Hilltowns and also worked as a trucker. In 1978, he bought a large dairy farm near Fort Plain.
“Len loved farming and bought the farm of his dreams in Starkville, Herkimer County, just seven miles west of Fort Plain,” said his sister. “Then he didn’t have to do the trucking anymore…Len kept a large herd of dairy cows until just a few years ago and right up until the end, he cut and baled hay.
“He loved to be with his grandchildren after his children grew up, and he would often be seen at their games and other activities,” said Mrs. Ricketts. “As the Amish settled in their area, Len became a special friend to them and could often be seen driving them around. He and Linda would have their special Amish family with their eight children over for dinner.”
A sports fan, Mr. Ricketts liked watching the Mets and Giants play but most of all he loved to watch wrestling.
In 2007, Mr. Richardson and his wife traveled to Germany with his sister, Patricia Kykla, and her husband, George, to visit his son Thomas Richardson and his family.
While Leonard Richardson was serving in the Army, he married a German woman, Karola. “She didn’t want to move to the States and the marriage was annulled. He was devastated,” said Mrs. Ricketts. Their son, Thomas, was born after Mr. Richardson returned home so he never saw his child. Mrs. Ricketts went on, “In my mother’s living room was always a picture of my brother in his uniform with a separate picture of his baby tucked in the bottom of the frame.”
Thomas Richardson and his children found letters he had written to Karola, which she had kept all those years in a box in her attic; the letters were postmarked Berne, said Mrs. Ricketts. The German Richardsons found the town of Berne’s website online and contacted the supervisor at the time, Kevin Crosier, said Mrs. Ricketts. He got in touch with the town’s historian, Ralph Miller, who knew that Mrs. Ricketts was a Richardson. The link was made, and Thomas Richardson, at age 47, came with his wife and children to America to meet his father, who was then 69. “We had a day where all the family came to meet them at the firehouse,” recalled Mrs. Ricketts.
Then, in turn, Leonard Richardson traveled to Germany with his wife and his sister and brother-in-law to see his son and the extended family, including his ex-wife. “Her family embraced my brother,” said Mrs. Ricketts. “They are very kind and loving.”
Mrs. Ricketts said of her brother, “He loved all of his children.”
“He was a family man who very much enjoyed the company of his children and grandchildren,” his family wrote.
“He adored his kids,” said Mrs. Ricketts. “He would do anything for them. They farmed with him,” she said, and many of his children still live nearby. “He was even better with his grandkids,” said Mrs. Ricketts. “He always had a grandchild in his arms.”
Mr. Richardson had 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
“He was always involved in his children’s lives,” his family wrote, “always thoughtful of their needs, and contributing to their lives as much as possible.”
Leonard M. Richardson is survived by his wife, Linda Richardson; and his children, Thomas Richardson of Germany, Michael Richardson of Starkville, Teri Barton and her husband, Mark, of Starkville, Chris Richardson of Fort Plain, David Richardson and his wife, Wendy, of Fort Plain, Cheryl Lord of Troy, Donna Blanchard and her husband, Christian, of Fort Plain; and stepson, Bruce Garlock of Fort Plain.
He is also survived by his grandchildren, Sabastian, Anja, Kerstin, Cory, Kyle, Jason, Sarah, Natalie, Cassy, Steven, Kristy, Haleigh, Cameron, and Carolynn; and five great-grandchildren.
He is survived, too, by his brother, Kenneth Richardson, and his sisters, Lora Ricketts, Patricia Kykla, and Georgia Hallenbeck. Several extended family members and friends also survive.
His father, Willis Richardson, died before him, as did his mother, Martha Longacker, and stepfather, George Longacker, as well as his brother-in-law, Ray Ricketts.
Funeral services were on Wednesday, June 15, at Lenz & Betz Funeral Home in Canajoharie with burial at the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery following the service.
Mourners may visit the family’s online guestbook at www.brbsfuneral.com.
GLENVILLE Michael Best, A World War II veteran who was a brother to many in his fraternal organizations, died on June 10, 2011 at the Kingsway Arms Nursing Home in Schenectady. He was 87.
Born on April 22, 1924 in Brooklyn, N.Y., he was the son of the late Walter and Pauline Chupko Best.
Mr. Best served in the United States Army during World War II and worked at General Electric in Schenectady for over 30 years, until he retired. He was a member of the GE Quarter Century Club.
Mr. Best was also a member of the Schenectady Lodge 1174 F&AM, the Sigma Bodies Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Schenectady, the Oriental Shriners, and the Schenectady Shrine Club.
He loved travelling all over the world with his wife.
Mr. Best is survived by his wife of 58 years, Helen McQuade Best, and by two brothers, Eugene Best of Rochester and Walter Best of Altamont, and several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Baxter-Andrew Funeral Home, 1867 State St., Schenectady, with a Masonic service to be held at 6 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be private at the Schenectady Memorial Park at a later date.
Frederick R. Edmunds
NEW SCOTLAND Frederick Edmunds, a man of many abilities but one focus, died on June 5, 2011 at his home in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 85.
“He loved his wife most, then his family, then the dogs, then the Civil War,” said his son, Geoffrey Edmunds.
The Rochester native began his life-long study of the war while he was a history major at the University of Rochester, where he met his late wife, Nancy Edmunds.
“He was caught up in the romance of the South,” Geoffrey Edmunds said of his father’s interest in what he saw as a misunderstood epoch.
After finishing his degree, Mr. Edmunds took his new bride to California, where he was stationed in the Air Force. Also in the early 1950s, he pursued professional baseball, after having played for the semi-pro Rochester Redwings, but gave it up in favor of a law degree when he threw his arm out.
“He wanted to be an athlete, but he turned out to be good at law,” Geoffrey Edmunds said.
After Mr. Edmunds graduated from Cornell Law School, the couple moved to Voorheesville, bringing their daughter and newborn son. Having lived in the village, they decided that they wanted their children to grow up in the country and bought an old farm in New Scotland that “needed a lot of love,” Geoffrey Edmunds said.
“I think they were of similar mind,” he said of his parents’ life-long love. They cared deeply for each other and shared a commitment to a happy family life.
There is a photo, Geoffrey Edmunds said, of all six of their children, each on a bike, in front of the farmhouse in 1963, the year they bought it. They grew up there, playing Little League and Scouting. Mr. Edmunds engaged in his children’s activities and provided for his family he sent each child to college.
Working as a trial lawyer, Mr. Edmunds named his first two boxers Tort, a legal term for an offense for which someone can be sued.
At that time, Albany was controlled by Daniel O’Connell’s Democratic machine, but Mr. Edmunds made a run to represent the county in the state legislature as a Republican.
“Good judgment, sincerity, integrity and political courage should mark the character of any man who seeks election to the Assembly of the State of New York,” he wrote for his campaign flyer in the early 1960s. Integrity was central his father’s character, Geoffrey Edmunds said.
He was also a compassionate father. When his teenage children got into trouble, he’d sit them down and ask: What did you do? Why did you do it? Are you sorry you did it? Are you going to do it again?
“We all came to the conclusion we’d never do it again,” Geoffrey Edmunds said.
Mr. Edmunds became a partner in the firm of Gary, Cahill, Edmunds & Breslin before retiring and moving with his wife to Gettysburg, Pa. in 1992 to open the Confederate States Armory and Museum.
He ran the museum with his wife and old English sheep dog, Stony, named for the Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson. An intuitive and fierce tactical commander, Jackson had died just months before the battle at Gettysburg, leaving Richard Ewell in his stead. Under ambiguous terms from General Robert E. Lee, Ewell did not take a Union stronghold when it might have been possible, which may well have led to the Confederate’s loss at Gettysburg, largely seen as the turning point of the war.
“That place has such gravity,” Geoffrey Edmunds said of the battlefield, which bore the most casualties of the war.
He concluded, “We’re going to remember him as an icon.”
Mr. Edmunds, who was born Aug. 23, 1925, is survived by his children: Stephanie Adams and her husband, David, of Atlanta, Ga.; Dr. Geoffrey Edmunds and his wife, Lynn, of Albany; Linda Friedrich, of Ft. Pierce, Fla.; Dr. Frederick Edmunds and his wife, Peggy, of Victor, N.Y.; Emme Edmunds, of Ithaca, N.Y.; and Thomas Edmunds of Schoharie. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
His wife of 58 years, Nancy I. Edmunds, died in 2009.
A Celebration of Life open house will be held on June 26 at the Cassidy residence, 1015 Ansley Ave. SW in Vero Beach, Fla. from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
A memorial service will be held on July 16 at 11 a.m. at The Great Conewago Presbyterian Church, 174 Red Bridge Rd., Gettysburg, Pa. 17325. Arrangements are by the Cox-Gifford-Seawinds Funeral Home & Crematory in Vero Beach, Fla. Condolences may be left at www.coxgiffordseawinds.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Great Conewago Presbyterian Church, 174 Red Bridge Rd., Gettysburg, PA 17325 or to the Old English Sheepdog Rescue Foundation, www.oesrescuenetwork.org/supportus.html.
Saranac Hale Spencer