Richard J. Flansburg

Richard J. Flansburg

Richard J. Flansburg worked for 30 years as a truck driver for the Freihofer Bakery and one early morning saved a woman from a burning house.

VOORHEESVILLE — Richard J. Flansburg, a hard-working but fun-loving man, kept his sense of humor till the end.

His daughter recalled, “In the hospital, he’d say, ‘I feel like running with scissors.’” No matter how tough the times, she said, “He always had a joke.” She also said, “He loved to chat.”

Mr. Flansburg died on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at the Albany Medical Center Hospital. He was 85.

Born in Albany, he was a lifelong resident of Voorheesville. His father was a painter and his mother worked for the war effort.

“The whole family was here for years and years on the family farm,” said Sue Soloyna who lives there still, on Flansburg Lane, although the farm animals are long gone. She is the middle of the three Flansburg daughters.

In his boyhood, Mr. Flansburg loved hunting and fishing. He and his siblings would walk to school. “He used to be able to take his shotgun to school so he could go hunting,” said his daughter.

Mr. Flansburg was a lifelong sportsman and was a member of the Voorheesville Rod & Gun Club.

“During the war, his parents sent him up north. He went there the rest of his life,” said Ms. Soloyna of Black Lake in St. Lawrence County. “It was his favorite place in the world.”

Mr. Flansburg served in the United States Navy from 1955 to 1959. “He enjoyed being on the Mediterranean. He loved his ship,” said his daughter. He was proud of his service “and very proud that one of his grandsons followed in his footsteps,” she said.

Mr. Flansburg met Norma Gage, the woman who would become his wife, at a square dance at Pat’s Ranch in Altamont. “He saw her across the floor — she tripped and fell. He told someone he would marry that woman,” said Ms. Soloyna.

“They were pretty much inseparable,” she said of her parents who, in their later years, spent winters in Florida. Mrs. Flansburg died in 2003.

Mr. Flansburg had worked for 30 years as a truck driver for the Freihofer Bakery before retiring in 1992. He loved his work and made friends with the people on his house-to-house delivery route in Albany, Ms. Soloyna said.

He rose very early to start his route and one morning he saw a house on fire. “He saved the woman who lived in the house,” said his daughter. Mr. Flansburg also served in the Voorheesville Volunteer Fire Department.

He was a Mason and a former member of the Voorheesville American Legion. He also liked to play pool and bowl.

And Mr. Flansburg had a great love of playing the banjo and listening to music. He taught himself to play and had three or four banjos, a mandolin, and a guitar. His favorite song was “The Unicorn,” popularized by The Irish Rovers.

“There was green alligators and long-necked geese,” said his daughter, recalling one of the verses to the song. “My kids are very musical. I attribute that to him.”

She described her father as “fun-loving with a really good sense of humor.”

Ms. Soloyna went on, “He was the party parent. My mother was the boss. My dad was in charge of the fun stuff. He took us fishing and gave us love of the outdoors. He wouldn’t go to school for a function but went to your softball games.”

Her father kept his good humor through good times and bad times, Ms. Soloyna said.

“He taught me a love of the outdoors and animals,” she said. “And he taught me to care for people.”

In the end, she said, “I cared for him here.” Mr. Flansburg came to live with his daughter’s family for the last eight or nine years and became particularly close to his youngest grandchild, Madison.

“He loved all of his grandkids but had a soft spot for her,” said Ms. Soloyna. “Madison spent a lot of time with him, especially during the pandemic … He was her source of history.”

****

Richard J. Flansburg is survived by his children, Sharon and Austin Miller of Citronelle, Alabama, Sue and Mike Galvin of Voorheesville, and Connie and Jeffrey Zuraff of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, and by his grandchildren, Jay Lucas, Katherine Flansburg, Richard Soloyna, Morgan Galvin, Madison Galvin, Shawn Kelly, and Ian Kelly.

He was the brother of the late Chet Day, Dorothy Bradtke, and William Flansburg.

He will be entombed with his late wife, Norma, in the Gerald B.H. Solomon National Cemetery at a later date. A service will be held in June.

Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 4 Atrium Drive #100, Albany, NY.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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