WESTERLO — Ralph Lloyd Filkins, an inveterate volunteer fireman and an early Thacher Park police officer, died 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. He was 82.
He 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 associate’s degree in criminal justice.
He began his working career with the Town of Rensselaerville Highway Department, moved up to the Albany County Department of Public Works, 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 held a 60-year life membership, and served as a past president.
Through the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, he served as a hunter safety instructor, and through the state’s Parks Program, he served as a snowmobile safety instructor.
In 2011, he was a founding member of the New York State Park Police Police Benevolent Association, and was a member and past president of the Westerlo-Basic Valley Fish & Game Club. He greatly enjoyed hunting and fishing.
Ralph Lloyd Filkins is survived by his wife of 49 years, Rosemary Duncan Filkins; by three children, Donald Filkins, and his wife, Debra, Terri Buchardt and her husband, Brian, and Robert Tanner; by six grandchildren, Samantha, Nicole, and Jessie Filkins, Renee Buchardt, Brendin Tanner and his wife, Amanda, and Emileigh Tanner; and by one great-grandchild, Harper Tanner.
He is also survived by his siblings, Judson Filkins, who was married to the late Sandy Filkins, Barbara Joslin and her husband, Robert, and Richard Filkins and his wife, Betty; and by many nieces, nephews and cousins.
His parents, Lloyd and Grace Kuhn Filkins, died before him, as did his sister, Marian Duffy, and a nephew, David Filkins.
In keeping with his wishes, his body has been cremated. Memorial calling hours will be on Monday, Jan. 3, from 5 until 7 p.m. at A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home at 4898 State Route 81 in Greenville. Officers and members of Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company will conduct a service at 7 p.m., followed by a Service of Celebration of his life at 7:15 p.m., led by Pastor Christine Allen.
Burial of his ashes, with Firematic Honors, will be conducted on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 10 a.m. in Rensselaerville Cemetery.
Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Building Fund of Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company Inc., Post Office Box 87, Westerlo, NY 12193.