POTSDAM - Dr. Edwin H. Ketchledge died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, at his home in Potsdam where he had recently moved, along with his wife Jean Bevington Ketchledge, to be closer to other family members. He was 85 years old, born in Trenton, N.J. on Dec. 29, 1934 to the Rev. and Mrs. Raymond Ketchledge.
He attended public schools in Johnstown, where he met his wife Jean at a young age. After military service, Dr. Ketchledge and Jean lived most of their adult life in Syracuse, and then spent their retirement years in Bloomingdale and Peru before moving to Potsdam.
Survivors include his wife Jean; sister-in-law Kathryn Bevington of Canton; daughter Susan Mangus and her husband Gary of Hickory, Ky.; daughter Joan Kogut and her husband Kenneth of Potsdam; grandson Keith Kogut of Saranac Lake; son James Ketchledge and wife Sandra and grandchildren Garrett and Rachael, all of Conifer, Co.; brother Arthur and his wife Marilyn of Ormond Beach, Fla.; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother Raymond.
Dr. Ketchledge was a decorated World War II Purple Heart and Bronze Star veteran who served in the U.S. Army 10th Mountain Division's ski troops in the Italian Campaign, where he was seriously wounded on the battlefield. After convalescence and an honorable discharge, he attended the SUNY College of Forestry in Syracuse, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. and lastly the Stanford University in California, where he obtained his Ph.D. in botany. Dr. Ketchledge then taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse until his retirement in 1985. He received many awards throughout his career, including the SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor designation in 1975 and the ESF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Dr. Ketchledge also served as Director of the SUNY-ESF Cranberry Lake Biological Station in the 1970s.
Dr. Ketchledge was well known and highly respected throughout the scientific, educational and outdoor communities for four decades of dedicated research on the ecology of the mosses of New York state and the alpine tundra zone of the Adirondack High Peaks. He was the author of numerous publications and articles concerning the trees, mosses, ecology and forestry of New York state and the Adirondacks in particular. He was a sought-after lecturer of the same topics. Dr. Ketchledge was active in too many professional and civic organizations to mention, often in leadership roles and always giving 110 percent of his time and energy to anyone who needed his help and expertise. In his last years, he stated that he felt his greatest legacy was touching the lives of so many students in their formative years and imparting an appreciation and respect for the natural world.
In his spare time, Dr. Ketchledge was a passionate mountain climber, backwoods camper, cross-country skier, bobsledder, hiker and kayaker. He loved nothing better than to take solo trips into the backcountry to be alone with the natural world, where he felt most at home. He was an explorer at heart, and his last words were of his various adventures he had taken throughout the world.
Dr. Ketchledge will be interred at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. At the family's request, there will be no public ceremonial service. If desired, memorial donations may be made to these organizations which were closest to his heart: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Alumni Association, The Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, or Hospice of St. Lawrence County. Please contact The Garner Funeral Home for details at www.garnerfh.com.