Dr. Ketchledge died peacefully in his sleep 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 yrs old, born in Trenton NJ to 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; daughters Susan Mangus and her husband Gary of Hickory, KY and 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 FL; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his brother Raymond.
Dr. Ketchledge was a decorated WWII Purple Heart and Bronze Star veteran who served in the US 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 MI and lastly the Stanford University in CA where he obtained his PhD in Botany. Dr. Ketchledge then taught undergraduate and graduate courses at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ES&F) in Syracuse until his retirement in 1985.
He received many awards throughout his career, including the SUNY Distinguised Teaching Professor designation in 1975 and the ES&F Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. Dr. Ketchledge also served as Director of the SUNY ES&F 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 NYS 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 NYS 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% 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 back country 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 Cemetary in Washington DC. 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 Foresty Alumni Association, The Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservacy, or Hospice of St. Lawrence County.
Please contact The Garner Funeral Home for details www.garnerfh.com.