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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

Jonathan Norman Brush

Jonathan Brush, whose strength was in his kindness, died on March 3, 2009, three days before his 20th birthday.

Born in Albany, Mr. Brush spent his young childhood getting into mischief in the Hilltowns with his two older brothers before his father’s job in the trucking business moved the family to Kansas, then to Ohio.

On his graduation from the Hubbard High School and Trumbull Career and Technical Center in 2007, Mr. Brush wore an honorary yellow ribbon for his work as the historian for the school’s Future Farmers of America chapter. In his high school program, Mr. Brush specialized in agriculture and small-engine repair.

He’d go to school early and stay late to help in the barn with the horses, said his mother, Pamela Brush. “He just loved everything about them,” she said. “He loved the rodeo.”

Mr. Brush was always drawn to the Western lifestyle, and when he started working on a ranch in Colorado, he’d take every chance to work on weekends at the rodeos. He once rode a wild, bucking horse at a rodeo, said his grandmother, Betty Filkins. “I bet it wasn’t more than a minute,” that he stayed on she said, but he did it all the same.

He often wore a gold and silver belt buckle, with a cowboy riding a bucking bronco, which he picked up at a rodeo. It went well with his Western shirts and boots, said his mother. He liked dressing up, she said, and he’d do so every Sunday for church and a supper afterwards.

“He kind of came to it on his own,” she said of her son’s religious bent. He was raised Christian but he took it upon himself to attend church every week. When he moved to Stoneham, Colo. to work on Jaeger Farms, the church there was his family while he was away from home, his mother said, and he was always willing to help with Sunday school and church events.

Growing up, Mr. Brush was always helpful to the ministers at his churches, his mother said. When he grew to be a formidable 6 feet, 4 inches, he would always play the whale in performances of the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale.

“He did a lot in his 19 years,” said Mrs. Filkins. “He really did a lot, touched a lot of people.”

Mr. Brush was always willing to help, and carried on his family’s tradition of firefighting when he joined the Sterling Volunteer Fire Department in Colorado. Thirty years ago, Mrs. Filkins was the first woman to join the Westerlo Fire Department, she said. “Our whole family is like that,” she said. “It’s in your blood.”

They were proud of Jonathan, she said, remembering the call he made to tell his grandparents. “Guess what’s in my yard,” he had said, then explained that in his very rural area of Colorado, the firemen take turns bringing the fire truck to their farms. “He thought that was great,” Mrs. Filkins said.

Mr. Brush was “always trying to help,” said his mother. “A lot of people called him the gentle giant.”


Mr. Brush is survived by his parents, Robert and Pamela Brush, of Hubbard, Ohio, and his brothers, Robert D. Brush II and his wife, Carla, of Niles, and Private First Class Darren R. Brush and his wife, Jamie, who is serving with the United States Marine Corps in Iraq. He is also survived by his grandparents, Chester and Gertrude Brush, and Richard and Betty Ann Filkins, all of Westerlo, and by his great-grandmother, Marietta Croote, of Delmar.

A memorial service was held on March 8 at the Kelley-Robb Funeral Home in Hubbard, Ohio; condolences can be expressed online at www.kelley-robb.com. A service was also held on March 17 at the Reformed Church in Westerlo.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Richard R. Eldred

KNOX — Richard “Dick” Eldred was a stoic father, but a practical joker, his daughter said.

He died on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. He was 73.

He was born in Oneonta, N.Y. in 1935, the son of Harvey and Elizabeth Gibbs Eldred.

A welder by trade, he loved hunting, and loved nature, said his sister, Betty Simons.

Mr. Eldred had amassed a set of videotapes, in which he had immersed himself in nature and narrated the goings-on of the wildlife in the Helderbergs. His sister watches the tapes now. “I’ve been enjoying them very much,” she said.

He loved spending time with his grandchildren, and loved family outings, said his daughter, Kathleen Zimmer.

He also loved the West Mountain, Tubb’s Pond, and Fawn Lake, for fishing and picnicking, said his daughter. “He had a hardened exterior, but he was a practical joker,” she said.

Her father had three favorite songs — she explained the reason for each: “The first was ‘Cold, Cold Heart’ (for him which held the memory); the second was ‘On The Wings of a Snow White Dove’ (For may he soar among the clouds, and feel free of life’s expectations), and the last one was ‘Queen of the Silver Dollar’ (his song to his daughter Kathy, whom he called “Kitten”).”


Mr. Eldred is survived by his children: Darlene Roephlein; Kathleen Zimmer and her husband, Gideon; Bonnie Mann; and Richard J. Eldred.

He is survived, too, by his sister, Betty Simons; his grandchildren, Gregory, Gideon, Chelsie, Luciana, Shaun and Melissa Zimmer, Robert (Robbie) and Matthew Houck, Nicole and Ryan Mann, Timothy and Kaitlyn Brig, and Dylan and Connor Eldred. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren, Kayla, Andrew, and Anthony Houck.

His brothers, Harvey C. and Billy L. Eldred, died before him.

A memorial service will be held in the spring at Knox Cemetery, the date to be announced. Funeral arrangements will be made by Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

— Zach Simeone

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