ONEONTA – Rich was born on August 7, 1943 in Oneonta, NY to Leslie and Lucille (Mulford) Elderkin. He was raised on the family farm in West Laurens. It was there where he learned his strong work ethic and mechanical skills (“There were no holidays on our calendar”).
His father died when Rich was 16, which left him running the 100 head family farm together with the hired man, his mother and “little brother” John- not to mention attending school and playing football. Eventually they decided to sell and Rich joined the Air Force on May 21,1963. (“I went to see the army recruiter who wasn’t on duty that day. Lucky for me, the Air Force recruiter was there and I could not have made a better choice for my life’s work”).
COOPERSTOWN – Gerald Douglas “Jerry” “Jiggs” Monroe, 76, of Cooperstown, passed away Sunday morning, May 8, 2022, at the Samuel S. Stratton V.A. Medical Center in Albany following a valiant battle with cancer.
Jerry, or Jiggs, as many people knew him, was born September 13, 1945, in Cooperstown, a son of Walter J. and Ernestine (Tabor) Monroe. He was raised in Hartwick and attended Hartwick High School.
On November 22, 1965, Jerry was inducted into the United States Army. He proudly served his country during the Vietnam War as part of Company E, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, and received a Purple Heart for injuries received in the line of duty. On November 12, 1967, he received his honorable discharge from the military.
Following his military service he was employed for 37 years as a gunsmith for Remington Arms in Ilion.
FLY CREEK – Lee Carlton Winnie died peacefully on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at his home in Fly Creek, surrounded by his loving wife of nearly 40 years and his two sons. He was 75 years old.
Lee was born October 25, 1946 in Cooperstown, the son of Ernest and Gerda (Christiansen) Winnie. He graduated from Cooperstown Central School in the Class of 1965.
After graduating high school, Lee attended Hudson Valley Community College and studied as a mechanical draftsman. Shortly after college in 1967, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War. As a mortarman, Lee received several commendation medals for his heroic actions in Dak Seang in 1968.
After being honorably discharged in 1969, Lee returned to work at his father and uncle’s farm machinery implement business. As a life-long resident of Fly Creek, he is most well-known for working for MOSA and Otsego County at the Cooperstown dump for many years, where he helped people with their recycling and local gossip.
Stephen A. Rudloff, 76
Feb. 19, 1945 – May 31, 2021
COOPERSTOWN – Stephen Anthony Rudloff, Commander, United States Navy (Retired) who survived 323 days in captivity as a POW during the Vietnam War, passed away peacefully following a long illness the evening of Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, at his home on Nelson Avenue surrounded by family. He was 76.
Born February 19, 1945, in Brooklyn, he was a son of Ernest and Mary (Camarro) Rudloff. After graduating from Lafayette High School in 1962, he attended St. John’s University.
On September 20, 1964, he entered the United States Navy School of PreFlight at NAS Pensacola, Florida, completed Basic Naval Aviation Officers School in August 1965, and completed Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) School at NAS Glynco, Georgia in October 1965. He was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy on August 15, 1965, received his wings and designated a RIO on October 28, 1965. His first assignment was to VF-121 at NAS Miramar, California, for F-4 Phantom II Replacement Air Group training from December 1965 to June 1966, followed by service as an F-4 RIO with VF-154 at NAS Moffett Field, California, from June 1966 to June 1968. During this time, LT Rudloff deployed with his unit to Southeast Asia from September 1966 to January 1967, and from December 1967 to April 1968. Following that tour of duty, he reported to the Naval Plant Representative Office with McDonnell Douglas Corporation, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained for two years as a Public Affairs Officer. Following refresher training in the F-4, he reported to Fighter Squadron Ninety-Two in July 1971, and deployed to Vietnam aboard the USS Constellation in October.
Inspired by the roadside dedication in honor of John Kempe Winslow on state Route 205, the village of Cooperstown will work with the Cooperstown Veterans Club to find an appropriate place to honor Robert “Bobby” W. Atwell, who was killed March 21, 1968, in Vietnam.
A private first class in the Army, Atwell, 20, was the only village resident who died in Vietnam. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart and the Good Conduct Medal.
In October, the state dedicated a section of 205 in the hamlet of Hartwick in honor of Winslow, a Marine Sgt. who was killed in Vietnam in 1969.
The village of Coopers-town’s Board of Trustees has tentatively approved a permit for the Cooperstown Veterans of Foreign Wars to hold its annual Memorial Day Parade.
The trustees conditionally approved the permit for Monday, May 31, providing state laws regarding the coronavirus pandemic are obeyed.
ONEONTA – Erich M. Wilkens, 76, of St. James Place, a Marine and decorated Vietnam War veteran, died Wednesday July 10, 2019, at his residence with his family at his side. Survivors include a daughter in West Oneonta.
He was born Oct. 17, 1942 in Oceanside, Long Island, son of the late John and Ilse Sperling Wilkens.
Erich was a veteran of the Marine Corps, having been awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Rifle Marksman Badge. His service to his country continued with his membership with the Phoenicia American Legion Post #950.
“Last year, Princeton had 10,000 people come to the Wall,” he said during the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting earlier tonight. “With everything we have going on Memorial Day, I’m sure that number will be eclipsed here.”