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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 31, 2008

Raymond Ricketts

EAST BERNE — Raymond Ricketts, a farmer and a laborer, worked hard to provide for his family whom he loved above all else.

He died on Friday, July 25, 2008, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. He was 69.

“He never cared about material things,” said his wife of nearly 52 years, Lora Ricketts. “He didn’t need money in his pocket, just enough for gas to get to work.”

He was born in Argyle, N.Y. to the late Edith Barrett and Clifford Ricketts.

His family moved to a farm in West Pawlet, Vt. where he was raised. His parents divorced when he was 12 and his father took him out of school to work on the farm, said his wife. At 15, she said, “He worked a farm on shares for a widow woman.”

The Richardson family moved to the adjoining farm when Mr. Ricketts was 16. Lora A. Richardson, the woman who would become his wife, was 17.  They were married within the year.

“When we were dating,” she recalled, “he didn’t have a car. He’d pick me up on a big workhorse...He walked a good 12 miles to see me. I was the love of his life. He would do anything for me.”

Mr. Ricketts was “a great dancer,” she said. He did ballroom dancing, the jitterbug, and he square-danced, too.

The couple married on Oct. 13, 1956 and had their first child in 1957 when Mr. Ricketts was 17. Their second child came just after he turned 19 and their third when he was 23.

The Ricketts moved several times as Mr. Ricketts sought work, at a canning factory and farming. “We got $50 a week and could barely make ends meet. Every time we left, we took a chance,” said Mrs. Ricketts.

Her family had moved to Knox and knew of a Hilltown farmer who wanted a hired man. Mr. Ricketts took the job. “We rented an apartment on Thompsons Lake,” said Mrs. Ricketts. “He got a job in construction and we bought the farm on Saw Mill Road.”

She described the 80-acre farm as “a piece of heaven on earth.” The Ricketts raised beef cattle and pigs, and kept cows for milk and butter. They raised their vegetables in a big garden and did home canning and freezing. “We were self-sufficient,” said Mrs. Ricketts.

“His greatest, happiest times were spent on his farm,” said Mrs. Ricketts of her husband.

The family would have picnic lunches in the field with him when he was working. “When we did work, like putting in the hay, we’d have a picnic at the end,” said Mrs. Ricketts. “After we cut firewood, we’d have a hot-dog roast. We did it all together.... No matter what happened, we all stuck together.”

Birthday celebrations were particularly important for the family. Mrs. Ricketts, the Thompsons Lake correspondent for The Enterprise, frequently details those get-togethers in her weekly columns.

“Ray never had a birthday until he met me,” she said. “I made him a cake for his 17th birthday.” She recalled it was a homemade chocolate cake with white frosting — his first.

While he farmed, Mr. Ricketts also worked as a laborer. He was a member of Laborers Local 190 for 33 years and retired from the Hudson River Construction Company on June 1, 1999.

“He did very hard work,” said his wife. “He rebuilt manholes and he put the marble on the Empire Plaza. He worked on the scaffolding; he was not afraid of heights. He gave his all.”

Six years ago, for his birthday, the family went to eat downtown and admired Mr. Ricketts six years of work on the plaza. “He walked us around and talked about the buildings,” said Mrs. Ricketts.

 Mr. Ricketts was known for his homespun wit. “He was a legend here on the Hill,” said his wife. “He’d make jokes.”

She gave an example: “When he went down a road, if it had a hump in it, like on Beaver Dam Road, he’d call it a think-upon.”

His daughter Kathleen Neal recalled one of his many sayings: “If you have one dog, you’ve got a dog; if you have two dogs, you’ve got half a dog; if you have three dogs, you’ve got no dog at all.”

And, if someone were facing a big problem, Mr. Ricketts would advise, “This storm will pass.” Or he might say, “The sun will come up tomorrow with you or without you.”

“And he could tell you how to fix anything,” said his wife. “He left school in the seventh grade; he was never good at reading and writing, but he knew how to help people and how to fix things.”

She gave an example: Referring to their son, she said, “When Danny’s starter wouldn’t work, he got under the truck and fixed it.”

Next to his family, Mr. Ricketts loved his animals. ”He was a Doctor Dolittle to the end,” said his wife, referring to the character from Hugh Lofting’s children’s books that shunned human patients, preferring animals he talked to. Recently, since Mr. Ricketts was ailing, said his wife, “We sold the bull. All the rest of us were afraid of it. Ray was using his cane, but he went right into the barn with him. He wasn’t afraid. He talked to the bull and he got him on the van. He could talk to the animals and they’d listen.”

Mrs. Ricketts said that her husband treated her so well that “some people were jealous.” She went on, “He always filled my car with gas. He’d vacuum for me, and wash all the windows, and start supper.”

She concluded, “He was a wonderful husband. I didn’t want to let him go. I wanted a little bit more.”


He is survived by his wife, Lora Ricketts; his daughter, Marcia Pangburn and Chuck Swan; his daughter Kathleen Neal and Garry Carnevale, and his son, Daniel. He is also survived by his five grandchildren — Brandon Clark and his wife, Veronica, Kassi Rae Neal; Miles Pangburn; Danielle Ricketts; and Kyra Lora Swan — and two great-grandchildren, Samson and Nichole Clark.

His brother, Arthur, died before him, but he is survived by two siblings, Betty Bates and her husband, Chuck, of Granville, and Norma Ayers and her husband, Chuck, of Middle Granville; and he is survived by his favorite uncle, Fred Barrett, of Argyle.

He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Martha Longacker; brother-in-law, Leonard Richardson and his wife, Linda, of Starkville; sister-in-law, Pat Sykala and her husband, George, of Schenectady; brother-in-law, Ken Richardson and Mary Badcock of Greenville; sister-in-law Georgia Hollenbeck and her husband, Everett; and many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

His funeral was held at the Thompson Lake Reformed Church on Tuesday morning, July 29, with Rev. Timothy Van Heest officiating. Interment was in Thompson LakeRrural Cemetery. Arrangements were made by Fredendall Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Thompson Lake Reformed Church, the East Berne Volunteer Fire Company, or the Helderberg ambulance squad.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Sam S. Clevenson

Sam S. Clevenson was “one of the last real journalists,” said one of his staffers at The Jewish World.

Mr. Clevenson founded the weekly in 1965 and remained its publisher until his death on Friday, July 25, 2008, at his home in Schenectady.

His daughter, Laurie Clevenson, is the paper’s editor and his son, James Clevenson, is its business manager. The Clevenson family is sitting shiva this week to mourn and grieve.

Staffer Eugene White said that the Clevenson children want to emphasize that they will stay with the paper and continue to publish it. “They will remain and ensure the continued success of The Jewish World,” said Mr. White. “We’re going to carry on his legacy as best we can.”

White, who has reported news for The Jewish World for a year, went on about Mr. Clevenson, “Right up until a month ago, he was here every day and involved in the daily operation of the paper. It was an incredible privilege to be able to work for him and learn from him.”

Mr. White said that, although he had gone to school for journalism, Mr. Clevenson made him a better writer. “He demanded accuracy and paid great attention to detail,” said Mr. White. “He was sharp as a tack…. He was sharper than anybody in the office. He had a remarkable gift for the craft.”

Mr. Clevenson began his newspaper career in 1931, covering sports as a high-school freshman in Laconia, N.H. Reporting and editing jobs throughout New England followed before he joined the Air Force in 1941. After the war, he worked at papers including the Syracuse Herald Journal and the Boston Traveler.

The Union-Star brought Mr. Clevenson; his wife, Pearl, and their children to Schenectady in 1962, where he became actively involved in the local Jewish community. On Sept. 23, 1965, The Jewish World debuted.

His newspaper helped make a community of Jews in the Capital Region.

“There are people of different feelings and beliefs inside Judaism,” said Mr. White. “He united them all. It was a constant juggling act. The Orthodox, Conservative, and Reformed would come together on the pages of The Jewish World.”

A former board member of Congregation Agudat Achim, Mr. Clevenson was secretary of the Jewish Community Council before it combined with Albany to form the United Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.

He received the Israel Bonds Award and the Federation’s top award for community service.

Mr. White concluded of Mr. Clevenson, “He was respected by everyone in the Jewish community.”


He is survived by his wife, Pearl; his son, James Clevenson of Schenectady; his daughter, Laurie Clevenson of Albany; his brother, Sherman Clevenson of Newport News, Va.; and his sister, Diane Stone of Worcester, Mass.

Services at Congregation Agudat Achim in Schenectady were held Sunday. Interment was in the Agudat Achim Cemetery in Rotterdam. Arrangements were made by the Levine Memorial Chapel of Albany.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center, 180 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY  12203 or any other Jewish charity.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Akiho Miyashiro

ALBANY — Akiho Miyashiro was a revered, award-winning scientist and professor who was a pioneer of plate tectonics. 

Mr. Miyashiro died unexpectedly on Thursday, July 24, 2008.  He was 87. 

Born Oct. 30, 1920 in the city of Kasaoka, Okayamo Prefecture, Japan, he was the elder son of Miyashiro Tsunemoto and Hideyo. 

“He lived a happy life with his beloved wife, Fumiko Shido, together for 45 years and here in Albany for 38 of those years,” said his family in a tribute. 

In 1941, Mr. Miyashiro graduated from Seijo High School.  He then studied at the Geological Institute, Faculty of Science, University of Tokyo and got a bachelor of science degree in 1943.  On a Fulbright Scholarship from 1952 to1953, he took graduate courses at Harvard University.  In 1953, Mr. Miyashiro got a doctor of science degree from the University of Tokyo. 

From 1958 to 1968, he was an associate professor at the University of Tokyo.  From 1967 to 1970, he was a visiting professor of Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University in New York.  From 1970 to 1990, he was a professor of geology at State University of New York, Albany, and in 1991 until the present time, was a professor emeritus at SUNY. 

In the 1950s, he became famous as a researcher of mineralogy and, in the 1960s, he established his name as a world-famous metamorphic petrologist.  He was a plate tectonic pioneer, defining the concept of paired metamorphic belts (high-pressure and low-pressure) that represent island arcs or orogenic mountain belts of continental rims, and unified metamorphic petrology and tectonic movement of ocean spreading. 

He published numerous original research articles and wrote many important geological books, some of them translated into Russian, Chinese, and German.  Metamorphic Petrology and Metamorphism and Metamorphic Belts are among these books that became classic textbooks. 

In 1965, Mr. Miyashiro was invited to be a visiting international scientist by the American Geological Institute and gave lectures to many universities throughout the United States, including in Berkeley, Calif. 

Through his research, he was given many prizes — Geological Society of Japan in 1958; Arthur L. Day Medal of the Geological Society of America (one of geology’s highest honors) in 1977; Paul Fourmarier Medal of the Royal Academy of Science of Belgium in 1981; P. Bose Memorial Medal of the Asiatic Society (Calcutta, India) in 1985, L.A. Spendiarov Prize of the 29th International Geological Congress in 1992; Manjiro Watanabe Prize of Japanese Association of Mineralogists, Petrologists, and Economic Geologists in 1995; and the Japan Academy Prize of the Japan Academy in 2002. 

He was a life fellow or honorary member/honorary fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America, Geological Society of London, Geological Society of America, Geological Society of Japan, Geological Society of India, and American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

He was an extensive reader of philosophical and social science books, and, especially in his later years, enjoyed hiking, photography, and gardening. 


In addition to his wife, Mr. Akiho Miyashiro is survived by his daughters, Yumiko and Keiko Osawa, and her husband, Ushi, both of whom live in Japan; and his younger brother, Hayao, and his children. 

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial wake today (Thursday) from 4 to 7 p.m. at the McVeigh Funeral Home, 208 North Allen St., Albany, N.Y. 

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice.  

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