WESTERLO – Ralph Lloyd Filkins, 82, passed away on Saturday, Christmas morning, Dec. 25, 2021 at the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home. He had enjoyed a visit from his family the day before.
Ralph was born at home in Rensselaerville on March 22, 1939, a son of the late Lloyd and Grace Kuhn Filkins. He was a graduate of Greenville Central School, and Hudson Valley Community College with an Associates degree in Criminal Justice.
Ralph began his working career with the Town of Rensselaerville Highway Department, moved up to Albany County Highway, and then to the Thruway Authority, all while attending college part-time. Following graduation, he joined the Capitol Police, then on to the New York State Park Police, where he was one of the first original park police officers for that program. He was based at the John Boyd Thacher State Park, and retired as a Sergeant 20 years ago.
At age 15, he joined the Rensselaerville Volunteer Fire Company and rose to Assistant Chief. Several years later, he moved to Westerlo, built a home, and joined the Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., where he holds 60-year life membership, and serves as a Past President. Through ENCON, he served as a Hunter Safety Instructor, and through the NYS Park Program, he served as a Snowmobile Safety Instructor. In 2011, he was a founding member of the NYS Park Police PBA and was a member and Past President of the Westerlo-Basic Valley Fish & Game Club. He greatly enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Ralph is survived by his wife of 49 years, Rosemary Duncan Filkins; three children, Donald (Debra) Filkins, Terri (Brian) Buchardt, and Robert Tanner; six grandchildren, Samantha, Nicole, and Jessie Filkins, Renee Buchardt, Brendin (Amanda) Tanner, and Emileigh Tanner; one great-grandchild, Harper Tanner; his siblings, Judson (late Sandy) Filkins, Barbara (Robert) Joslin, and Richard (Betty) Filkins; many nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his parents, Ralph was predeceased by a sister, Marian Duffy; and a nephew, David Filkins.
In keeping with Ralph’s wishes, he has been cremated. Memorial calling hours were Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, from 5-7 p.m. at A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 State Route 81, Greenville. Officers and members of Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company conducted a service at 7 p.m., followed by a Service of Celebration of Ralph’s life at 7:15 p.m., led by Pastor Christine Allen.
Burial of Ralph’s ashes, with Firematic Honors, were conducted on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 10 a.m. in Rensselaerville Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Building Fund of Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., P.O. Box 87, Westerlo, NY 12193, will be appreciated. Condolence page is available at ajcunninghamfh.com.
By Nuala Kappel
For Capital Region Independent Media
Editor’s Note: The following article was submitted by a journalism student at Greenville High School. The Pioneer wants to give a platform to the community’s aspiring young journalists. Great job, Nuala Kappel!
GREENVILLE — With the holiday season fast approaching, the Greenville Future Farmers of America (FFA) is kicking off its annual greenery sale fundraiser.
The sale will take place Dec. 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Greenville High School, following weeks of preparing the wreaths and centerpieces. This tradition has been part of the Greenville community for over 20 years and is still going strong.
The FFA uses the greenery sale to raise money for various purposes such as transporting members to the State Convention in Buffalo or creating scholarships for sessions at FFA’s Camp Oswegatchie. Both of these events facilitate state-wide cooperation between FFA members.
Rachel Hall, an FFA advisor, said the goal of these events is to “push the kids to be better than they were the day before.”
The Greenville FFA also uses the funds raised by this event to give back to the community. They run various soup drives and donate to those in need. Last year, the chapter planted 300 trees to give back to the Three Sisters Tree Farm, which donates greenery to be used for the sale.
“If there is a community member or family in need, FFA is able to give back,” said Courtney Taibi, District 2 FFA vice president and a long-time volunteer at this event.
Students participating in this event make all of the greenery products and learn essential life skills while doing so. The production and sale of the various greenery products helps students learn the importance of hard work and cooperation.
“We are teaching them a skill that encompasses many soft skills like communication, showing up on time, cleaning up and being resourceful,” said Lynn Hughes, an FFA advisor.
The FFA was created originally as an agricultural club but has transformed into an organization committed to the betterment of the nation’s youth. Hall describes the FFA as an “organization that just focuses on the kids, on their leadership development, how they can better themselves, and where their futures are going to take them.”
The Greenery Sale also helps to bring in the holiday spirit.
“We blast some Christmas music, we all come together to make wreaths, and it smells like Christmas,” Taibi said.