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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 14, 2010

Thomas M. Tubbs

KNOX — A former American military policeman, Thomas Tubbs had a rough and tough exterior, but a heart of gold.

He died after a brief illness on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010, surrounded by his family at Albany Medical Center. He was 60.

Mr. Tubbs was born on July 20, 1949, to Rosemary Tubbs and the late Merlin Tubbs.

“He was such a loving husband,” said his wife of 36 years, Ruth. “If the kids called, he was out the door before I even got my shoes on. For everything his kids accomplished, he held his head high, and was proud as can be.”

Mr. Tubbs always had his cup of coffee, she said. His son, Thomas Jr., sung his praises, too.

“He was a simple man, but a classy man,” his son said. “He was always willing to go out and help anybody. He’d stop and drop everything on a dime for whoever. He was just wonderful to everybody.”

Amanda, his youngest daughter whom he called “Doolittle,” said the same.

“He was an all-around, just perfect father,” she said. “You could never ask for anything better than him.”

Whether she was playing softball, cheerleading, or playing volleyball, Mr. Tubbs was his daughter’s number-fan.

“Whenever I had a game or anything, he’d be the first one there,” she said. “You could hear his voice out of everybody’s.”

Her number was always 13, she said, which she and her father shared, even when he worked for the Knox Highway Department.

“When he was working for the town, he had his pumpkin truck,” she said. “It was number 13, and it was orange.”

Everyone in town knew Mr. Tubbs from his 28 years of work for the highway department, his son said.

“The two people he loved and enjoyed to work for were Tony Orsini, who has already passed on, and Jeff Landauer,” he said, referring to the former highway superintendent. “On the 4th of July, we’d help Jeff set up tents, and dad would help him cook.”

Mr. Tubbs loved playing with his grandkids, his son said.

“He used to call my son Colynn his ‘little buddy,’” said Thomas Tubbs Jr. “They’d get on Dad’s electric scooters and race down the highway with them. My daughter, Jessalynn, he always used to pick on her all the time. But, when times had to be serious, he’d be serious, but he’d have a smile on his face; if you had the time to listen, he’d talk to you for hours.”

Mr. Tubbs was a family man in every way, his son said, and was always there for his family and friends no matter what. He remembers being in Cub Scouts and playing baseball with his father, who was the head coach for the Knox Little League.

“He was a cubmaster for Cub Scouts,” his son said. “Way back when I was 8 or 9 years old, we used to go hunting once in a while together.”

Amanda recalls fishing trips with her father. But their first big catch was not of the edible sort.

“The first time we went fishing, our biggest catch was a boot, and we brought it home,” she laughed. Her father also loved the Altamont Fair, she went on.

“We did the demolition derby together at the fair,” she said. “It won’t be the same without him there.”

Mr. Tubbs also loved the family’s little dog, Brownie.

“He would take Brownie and he would walk her everywhere,” Amanda said. “He’d curl up with her as soon as he got in the house.”

He and Brownie would often curl up in front of the TV, most often to watch professional wrestling.

“One day, with my brother, he met André the Giant,” his daughter recalled.

The close-knit family started after Mr. Tubbs fell for the girl next door.

He graduated from Berne-Knox-Westerlo in 1969. While in high school, he met Ruth, his wife-to-be. She lived next door to him then. They were married on Nov. 24, 1973.

But before they could wed, Mr. Tubbs would spend one year, six months, and 24 days as an American military policeman in Germany, for which he was awarded a National Defense Service Medal, his son said.

“He graduated from high school and signed up to go, and they took him,” said Thomas Tubbs Jr. “His term was two years, but he got honorable discharge,” making it home a year and a half after his arrival in Europe.

“He used to watch over one of the higher-ranking officers,” his son went on, recalling stories of his father’s stint in Germany. “They were in the bar at one point, and they had a bombing over there, and he had to grab the officer and get out. He told us how they would just get on the Audubon over there and just go as fast as they could to get out of there.”

Mr. Tubbs was a marksman with an M16, his son said, but he was a weapon without a gun.

“He used to tell us his hands were classified deadly weapons,” said his son. “There are all these pressure points he knows with his training. He would tell me how he could do certain pressure points and make people drop right to the ground.”

But despite his training, Mr. Tubbs’s family and friends remember him mostly as a fun-loving man, who always supported his friends and family.

“He just touched so many people; even in the hospital, he touched so many people’s hearts in there,” his son said.

The funeral, he said, was evidence of the lives he had touched.

“From a quarter after 11, people were lined up and they just didn’t stop,” his son said of the funeral. “He was a wonderful man, and he will be missed dearly. Nobody could ever replace him, no matter how hard they tried.”


Mr. Tubbs is survived by his wife of 36 years, Ruth M. Tubbs, and his children: Cindy Albright and her husband, Forest; Penny Plouffe and her husband, Joe; Thomas Tubbs Jr. and his wife, Laura; and Amanda and her boyfriend, Brian Steele.

He is survived, too, by his grandchildren: Gabrielle; Jessalynn; Colynn; and Erika, as well as seven siblings: Carol, Sally, Kathy, Peggy, Lori, Lindy, and Jamie; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

A funeral service was held on Sunday, Jan. 10, at Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Mr. Tubbs will be buried this spring in the Knox Cemetery, at the family’s convenience.

Memorial contributions may be made to his wife, Ruth Tubbs. 

Edward C. Ziehm

NEW SCOTLAND — Edward Ziehm, whose homegrown vegetables fed neighbors and friends, died on Jan. 9, 2010. He was 86.

The life-long farmer grew up working on his parents’, and later his brother’s, dairy farms. The late Charles and Lena Ziehm had a farm on Wormer Road and his brother, George, had one on Krumkill, said Mr. Ziehm’s grandniece, Wendy Mahoney.

When he settled with her family, he became part of the Miller farm, she said. Rather than dairy cows, the Millers raised cash crops, she said, and he kept a sizable vegetable garden that produced famously delicious potatoes.

“While he was on the Miller farm, he shared his knowledge and love for farming and agriculture with his great grandnephews, Adam and Chase Miller, and grandniece, Kaitlyn Mahoney,” his family wrote in a tribute.

Mr. Ziehm’s coworkers at the Sears warehouse, where he enjoyed working for 25 years, would sign up in advance to get a basket of potatoes during the harvest, Mrs. Mahoney said.

“He centered himself into gardening,” she said. Although he bowled with the Town and Country seniors, she said, his main hobby was tinkering with his garden tools — sharpening them and oiling them to stand through the winter.

“He was a very kind and gentle soul,” she said. “He would listen to anybody.” He also liked to share his stories with people, often recalling his early life and area farms that no longer exist, and telling the story of the Normans Kill’s flood in the early 1960s.

“He took pride and enjoyed his gardens,” his family wrote. “That was his thing in life,” Mrs. Mahoney concluded.


Mr. Ziehm is survived by his nephews: George Miller and his wife, Kay; Frank Ziehm and his wife, Terry; and Richard Rivers and his wife, Kathy, and by his niece, Ellie White and her husband, Peter. He is also survived by his grandnieces and grandnephews: Wendy Mahoney and her husband, John; Doug Miller and his wife Mary; Brian Ziehm and his wife, Kate; Eric Ziehm and his wife, Jamie; and Stuart Ziehm and his wife, Jessica. He is also survived by several great grandnieces and grandnephews.

His brothers, George and Leroy, died before him, as did his sisters, Dorothy and Helen.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Interment will be in the Prospect Hill Cemetery,

Memorial contributions may be made to the Regional Food Bank, 965 Albany Shaker Rd., Latham, NY 12110.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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