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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 7, 2008

Gilbert J. De Lucia

ALTAMONT — Gilbert J. De Lucia, a sturdy man with a sympathetic heart, gave medicine to the ailing and advice to the lost.

He died on Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.  He was 81.

Born to an insurance salesman and a housewife, Mr. De Lucia moved with his mother and his siblings to Mechanicville during his senior year of high school when his father died, said his daughter, Michele Perras.  His uncle was the priest at St. Paul’s church, where Mr. De Lucia’s mother worked in the rectory, she said.

During his first semester at Union College, Mr. De Lucia was drafted into the Army and served in World War II and the Korean conflict, said Mrs. Perras.  He was in “the tail end of one and the beginning of the other,” she said.

While overseas, he wrote home to Anna Pignatelli, Mrs. Perras said, and when he arrived stateside, the couple married a year after he finished his degree at Union.

After finishing his work at the Albany College of Pharmacy in 1953 and working at Golden Drug in Mechanicville, Mr. De Lucia and his new bride bought the century-old Altamont Pharmacy.  They raised their family in the space above the shop, their daughter said, which Mr. De Lucia outfitted with his cabinetry and woodworking.

“He made a cedar chest for my mother and put her name on it,” said Mrs. Perras, adding that he made a baby album out of wood with leather bindings for each of his children.

Mr. De Lucia had a woodshop in the basement, she said, but he could most often be found in the pharmacy.

“He was a lifesaver,” said Rosemary Caruso, of Altamont, who knew Mr. De Lucia for 40 years.  She and her husband, James, recounted a quintessential Gil De Lucia story: When Mr. Caruso’s aunt was sick with cancer she brought prescriptions from different doctors to be filled, and, Mrs. Caruso said, “It was Gil who contacted us.”  If the medicines had been mixed, she said, there would have been serious problems.

“He just was an all-around man who was there to give advice,” she said.  “He looked for nothing in return — just friendship.”

Mr. De Lucia was the last of five pharmacists in the village, his family wrote in a tribute.  The drug store served as more than a place to fill prescriptions, though.

“I can’t tell you how many people they counseled at the kitchen table,” Mrs. Perras said of her parents.

“He was strict…” she said, “yet he was always there if you needed to talk.”


Mr. De Lucia is survived by his daughter Michele Perras and her husband, Richard, of Altamont and his son Thomas De Lucia and his wife, Susan, of Milford, Mass.  He is also survived by five granddaughters: Tanya, Julie, Emma, Elyse, and Ellie, and by his siblings: Johanna, Seraphino, Mary, Ester, Margaret, and Lewis, as well as many nieces and nephews.

His wife, Anna, died before him, in 2004, as did his son, David G. De Lucia, in 1975, and his siblings, Patricia and Alphonse.

A mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Lucy’s Church, in Altamont, where Mr. De Lucia had been an active communicant.  Arrangements were by the Fredendall Funeral Home with burial in St. Paul’s Cemetery, Mechanicville.  Memorial contributions may be made to St. Lucy’s Church, Post Office box 678, Altamont, NY  12009 or to a charity of one’s choice.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Charles T. Fields

Charles T. Fields, a career Navy man with a second career in education, died on Thursday, July 24, 2008, in Orange Park, Fla., where he lived.

”He was a very community-type person,” said his brother, Michael Fields Sr. of Voorheesville. “There were at least 400 people at the church for his funeral. He was very popular.”

Mr. Fields, who was known to his friends as Mickey, was born in Voorheesville, the son of the late Julia and Charles Fields. His father was a barber and his mother a beautician, both in Voorheesville.

Mickey Fields was well liked at Voorheesville’s high school, said his brother.  “He was a great basketball player, one of the top players on the team and very popular,” said his brother.

John Patterson, a Voorheesville classmate of Fields, who played sports with him, wrote in a condolence, “All I can say about Mickey is that he was ‘One Good Guy.’”

Mr. Fields joined the Navy, retiring after 22 years. ”He did very well in the Navy,” said his brother.

Mr. Fields went on to teach vocational courses. He became an administrator at Orange Park High School and served on the Clay County School Board in Florida.

Barry Davis of Middleburg, Fla. wrote in a condolence that Mr. Fields was his electrical wiring teacher in the 1970s. “I would have to say he was the best teacher I have ever had...He was like a father to me and I hung on every word that came out of him,” said Mr. Davis.

Mr. Fields and his wife of 51 years, Mary Ellen Fields, had two sons and two daughters. “It’s a great family...so close-knit,” said his brother.

Mr. Fields was very active in his Florida community and earned the honor of 4th degree Knights of Columbus.

“He used to play Santa Claus for the whole neighborhood,” said his brother.

“He was a very outgoing guy, very jovial, very caring,” he said. “He never complained. He had diabetes, but he never talked about his problems. He kept going right to the end.”


Charles T. Fields is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen Fields; by  his children, Denise Boivin and her husband, James, Terry Snyder and her husband, Philip, Mike Fields and his wife, Dawn, and Shawn Fields and his wife, Christy; and by his grandchildren, Garrett and Kyle Boivin, Lindsay and Bree Snyder, and Tiffany, Brandon, Gavin, and Riley Fields.

He is also survived by his brother, Michael Fields Sr., and his wife, Kathleen, of Voorheesville, and by several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Middleburg, Fla. on July 29, 2008. Interment with full military honors was held at Jacksonville Memorial Gardens. Arrangements were by the Jacksonville Memorial Gardens Funeral Home in Orange Park, Fla.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Diabetes Association.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Helen Fitzpatrick

Helen Fitzpatrick, a teacher and traveler, lived a life of adventure and brought her family along for the fun.

She was also a fighter. “When she was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer,” said her daughter Bridget Lochner, of Guilderland, “they gave her months to live and she lived six years. She battled for her life but she lived her life with the cancer. It would knock her down but she never gave up.”

Mrs. Fitzpatrick died on Wednesday, July 30, 2008, in her sleep in her beloved home on Rainbow Lake in the Adirondacks, surrounded by her family. She was 75.

The daughter of Chester W. and Ellen (Malone) Kilfoyle, she grew up in Cadyville, N.Y.

“My mother hunted and fished with her brothers,” said Mrs. Lochner.  “One day, my dad was out hunting with my Uncle Tom and he asked who the extra guy was with the red wool pants. It was my Mom. She was 15. She was an outdoor person her whole life.”

Her parents’ life together, Mrs. Lochner said, was “a tremendous love story.”

After Mrs. Fitzpatrick graduated from Plattsburgh High School in 1949, she went to Plattsburgh State Teachers College of Nursing. Roger Fitzpatrick, who was in the Navy, stationed in Norfolk, Va., would hitchhike up to see her when he had a weekend leave.

“He’d say anyone would pick up a sailor,” Mrs. Lochner recalled. “One weekend, before his ship was to push out, he hitchhiked up and they got married at his parents’ house. Then he hitchhiked back. They were 18 years old.”

The couple saved every letter and every card they wrote to each other, beginning with those early years when Mr. Fitzpatrick was in the Navy. “They had their struggles,” said their daughter. “When he got out of the service, he worked for New York Telephone and made fifty or sixty dollars a week. They always made ends meet and they always loved each other,” she said.

Mr. Fitzpatrick was fond of repeating this advice to their three children: Never go to bed angry. “They made a pact that they would kiss each other and say they loved each other every night, no matter what happened during the day,” said his daughter. “He was still doing that until the day she passed away. He’d say, ‘I love you, Baby.’”

The Fitzpatricks lived in Albany and Voorheesville, raising their family together. Mrs. Fitzpatrick worked for the Capital District Board of Cooperative Educational Services as a teaching assistant for the hearing impaired. She worked for 20 years with children in the Guilderland school system, most often in Westmere and Lynnwood elementary schools.

“It was the love of her life,” said Mrs. Lochner of her mother’s work. “She loved every minute of it. She had a tremendous gift, caring for kids and about kids.”

Her daughter said that Mrs. Fitzpatrick was also a “fabulous mother.” One of the reasons she worked at the school was so she could be home when her children were. “She always put her children before her own needs,” said Mrs. Lochner. “She was simple, not materialistic. She was tender-hearted and caring, and sweet as sweet could be.”

And, said her daughter, “She was a worker.” She kept a garden and canned her own vegetables.”

Mrs. Fitzpatrick loved the outdoors. “My mother would take us three children rough camping,” said Mrs. Lochner. Summers, while Mr. Fitzpatrick worked for the telephone company in Albany, Mrs. Fitzpatrick took the three children to Lake Kushaqua in the Adirondacks.

“We tented on the old D&H railroad bed for the whole summer. It was not a campsite,” said Mrs. Lochner. “My father would come up on weekends. We’d hike and fish and pick berries, and go in a little tin boat to the general store for supplies, which Mom would store in coolers. And, at night, we’d have bonfires.”

The family moved to the Adirondacks before the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid because Mr. Fitzpatrick was in charge of the telephone system for the Olympics.

“My parents did everything together,” said Mrs. Lochner. “They built three houses together from the ground up.” Each house was smaller than the one before, she said, and her father was working on a cottage for the couple behind their house on Rainbow Lake at the time her mother died.

“They built log houses ... not from a kit. They had logs cut from the woods. My mother was a woodswoman,” Mrs. Lochner said.

The couple also had a winter home in Spring Lake, Fla. where they enjoyed golfing. “They always worked together as a team,” said Mrs. Lochner.

“They lived back when people could retire at 55. They had 20 years of being able to travel and hunt together,” said Mrs. Lochner. “Side by side, they built three Adirondack houses, traveled to many national parks in ‘The Bounder,’ and went to Alaska seven times to hunt big game and fish with Uncle Tom.”

Two weeks before Mrs. Fitzpatrick died, the family watched the movie, The Bucket List, about two men with terminal diseases who travel the world to complete the tasks they had dreamed of doing before they “kicked the bucket.”

Mrs. Lochner reported, “My dad’s comment to my mom was, ‘We’ve done everything on our Bucket List.’ They had no regrets.”


Helen M. Fitzpatrick is survived by her husband of over 57 years, Roger; her daughters, Kathleen (Fitzpatrick) Boado and her husband, Ed, of Spring Lake, Fla., and Bridget (Fitzpatrick) Lochner and her husband, Joseph, of Guilderland; and her son, Christopher Fitzpatrick of Altamont.

She is also survived by her sister, Patricia (Kilfoyle) Weller and her husband, Joseph “Don” Weller, of Clarksville, and her brothers, Thomas Kilfoyle of Kasilof, Alaska; Chester W. Kilfoyle and his wife, Therese, of North Fort Myers, Fla., Francis Kilfoyle and his wife, Rosalie, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., and David Kilfoyle and his wife, Virginia, of Plattsburgh, N.Y.

She is also survived by her cherished grandchildren, Rena and Eli Sanchez, Aaron Coon, Cristie-Jo and Devin Fitzpatrick, David and Amelia Lochner, and her precious great-grandchildren, Zoe and Leora Sanchez, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to High Peaks Hospice, Post Office Box 840, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. “The family would like to express a special thank-you to Brenda and Barb of Adirondack High Peaks Hospice of Saranac Lake Hospice for taking us through this journey with Mom,” Mrs. Lochner wrote in a tribute. “Your care, humor, and comfort have blessed us all.“

Contributions may also be made to North Country Life Flight, Post Office Box 994, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. In 1988, Mrs. Fitzpatrick was instrumental in organizing and collecting over 30,000 signatures to bring to the State Capitol, petitioning for what is known today as North Country Life Flight, which provides critical care to patients in need of air transport in emergency situations to advanced medical facilities.

A private memorial celebrating Helen Fitzpatrick’s life will be held at the convenience of the family. Interment will be at the Mountain View Cemetery in Brighton, N.Y. surrounded by the High Peaks. Funeral arrangements are by the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake, N.Y.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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 Lake Rural 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

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