CHERRY VALLEY – Edward “Bud” Fitz Randolph Garretson of Cherry Valley, a former dairyman, pilot and father of four sons, passed before the dawn broke on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. He was 92.
He was born in Westfield, N.J., on July 22, 1928. His life changed when he took a job on a neighbor’s farm in 1945 and discovered a strong love for farming. In Stillwater, N.J., these farmers became cherished mentors to Bud and the skills they taught him became the foundation of his life.
On Feb. 23, 1952, he married the love of his life, Beverly Viola Lounsbury, in Plainfield, N.J., at the First Presbyterian Church. Together they had four sons and raised them on the values of hard work and farm life. Bud and Beverly shared 67 years of marriage before her passing on June 24, 2019, for which he was by her side.
Bud loved exploration. During the 1950s, he put in many hours to obtain a private pilot’s license. In 1959, he persuaded Beverly to move with their sons, (all under the age of 5) to homestead in the remote and wild 49th state. He found work on the Alaskan railroad, but eventually returned to the East Coast to farm near family in New Jersey from 1960 to 1970.
He scouted for farmland in seven states of the Northeast before settling on a dairy farm in Cherry Valley. In spring 1970, the family moved to Cherry Valley and all four sons graduated from Cherry Valley Central School.
Having a private pilot’s license, he bought a Cessna 172 and entertained the people of Otsego County with his flying skills for many years. In 1980, he received the award for Otsego County Conservation Farmer of the year for protecting soil erosion.
Bud’s life was full and memorable with family, farming and travel at the heart of it. He loved farming so much that he never graduated from high school and went back to get his GED later in life. After he sold his farm and retired in 1994, he took yearly trips to Alaska to work on a small grain farm in the same area that he enjoyed so much in 1959, always enjoying the eight day drive through America and Canada. He had friends across the country and appreciated a good cup of coffee and conversation.
Bud Garretson will be remembered by many. He is survived by his sister, Joyce and her daughters; his sons, William (Paula), James (Esther), Cherry Valley Town Supervisor Thomas (Amy), and David (Brenda); grandchildren, Benjamin, Michelle, Shona (Dom), Monica (Kevin), Carie, James Jr., Celia (Ryan), Bethany (Andy), Mallory and Christopher, Jonathon; and many beautiful great-grandchildren.
Having had a love of history and reading, donations or contributions may be made to the Cherry Valley Museum or Cherry Valley Memorial Library.
A celebration of life will be scheduled post COVID-19.
Arrangements were entrusted to the Ottman Funeral Home, Cherry Valley. To light a candle or share condolences online please visit www.ottmanfuneralhome.com.