George W. Linck
May 5, 2014
LAKE PLEASANT -- George Waldemar Linck, 95, Glens Falls, passed away May 5, 2014.
Born in the "Finntown" community of Brooklyn Jan. 17, 1919, he was the only child of immigrants Hanna Ware (Väre) and Walter Wayne (Waldemar Väino) Linck of Finland and Estonia, respectively.
After moving north in 1924 to a farm bought in Middle Grove, his family resettled in the Finntown community of Scotia along the Mohawk River. There he came to learn English during elementary school, prior to attending Scotia High.
The death of his father from a brain tumor during the Depression called forth from within him and his mother their "sisu," and they maintained determined, hopeful attitudes through that time. George thrived in the informal athletic club of young Finns, Scandinavians and Germans who gathered at the banks of the river there, and with a number of older Scotia "river rat" pals he grew to love taking off to the Adirondack Mountains to hunt, fish and backcountry ski.
After being smitten by Jane Dunham (challengingly, a Scotia "hill skunk" from the other side of the tracks) and starting to date her, he enrolled in Springfield College, Mass., in 1938 to earn a bachelor's degree in physical education. Known as "The Mad Finn" on campus, he became an outstanding javelin thrower, gymnast and football player. He also became president of the college Biology Club.
Upon finishing a war-shortened senior year by enlisting in the U.S. Navy, George began World War II duty as a chief petty officer, teaching briefly in the [Gene] "Tunney-Fish" fitness program. He and Jane became engaged and were married Sept. 28, 1943 during this stint in Morehead, Ky. They moved next to Newport, R.I., where he was commissioned to fight aboard a PT boat in the South Pacific. As executive officer, then skipper in command of PT 525 (primarily) in Squadron 36, he saw action from New Guinea through the Philippines. His boat was among the few to first encounter the Japanese fleet in the battle of Leyte Gulf, and in the aftermath of that major U.S. victory his crew was chosen to transport General Douglas McArthur to the beach at Leyte for the fulfillment of McArthur's famous promise, "I shall return."
When WWII ended, George returned to Jane and their first son, who had been born during his absence. He earned a master's degree in Health Education from Columbia Teachers College in New York City, after which he accepted a coaching and teaching position at SUNY College at Cortland in Cortland, where son number two was born. In late 1947, however, the United States Military Academy succeeded in luring him to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where (contrary to his initial inclinations) he ended up serving as a civilian associate professor of physical education for Army cadets for 33 years. ("They had to get a Navy man to straighten out the Army," he would joke.)
At that beautiful post jutting out into the Hudson River he and Jane had four more sons while he made sure of the prescience of her father's comment upon learning of their engagement: "Well, Jane, you're going to have an interesting life." The stories are a book; it might be summarized by saying few other families at that most formal of military establishments supped on local raccoon, beaver tail, herring or turtle soup. And -- despite Jane's efforts -- for all six sons, Sunday church services lost out decisively to "River Rat" hunting and adventuring across the Hudson River, and music lessons were easily skunked by year-round athletics.
After an Army colonel convinced George in 1955 to take just his son on a long Canadian canoe trip (which turned out to be a 600-mile, Albany River trip to Hudson's Bay), simmering plans took shape; in 1956 he established a camp for boys (later to include girls) in the Adirondacks. For 23 summers Lynx Camp offered rugged wilderness canoe trips in the Adirondacks and Canada. Once the youngest two Linck sons were old enough to be campers, Jane joined him in the program at base camp on Big Island, Raquette Lake. "The man with the canoe on his car" had a lifelong, guiding philosophy: a good education of young people -- and most critically, young men -- can hardly happen any better than it tends to through primitive, rugged outdoor adventure in small groups.
At the Academy George was made the first director of the West Point Ski Slope, and in his long career he instructed cadets in twenty-some different athletic activities that ranged from gymnastics, rowing and downhill skiing to boxing and unarmed combat (so earning him a cadet nickname, "hard-ass Linck"). He started the cross-country ski program, and he became head of both the cadet posture program and West Point's training-and-reconditioning room, which treated injured army officers in addition to cadets. Many officers, cadets and others came to best enjoy, know and respect George, though (often to some level of awe) through hunting and fishing outings. A history of the West Point Rod and Gun Club, were it to be told, would feature 33 years of classic "G.W." stories center stage.
Following retirement from service, he and Jane moved to Lake Pleasant in the Adirondacks in 1980. There they continued their outdoor-oriented lifestyle without missing a step, made new friends in the area and lived independently for nearly 30 years. George's uncannily successful deer hunting continued much longer and fared far better (thankfully to all), than did his famously war-damaged hearing; he shot his last deer a month before he turned 90, then set down his "Finn-Light" rifle for good.
George was predeceased by grandson Nathan in 2009 and by Jane in 2011, causing him terrible grief that couldn't be suffered long. His PT boater's "last patrol" was at hand, although in the end he no doubt disregarded protocol, as matter-of-factly and capably as ever, and quietly undertook his journey by canoe. He leaves behind his sons and daughters-in-law: Dave and Jane of Craftsbury, Vt.; Jon and Sue of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Alan and Penny of Queensbury; Dana and Jenny of Olney, Md.; Walter and Vannesa of Saranac Lake; and Robert and Leanne of Hinesburg, Vt.; along with 13 grand-children and 15 great-grandchildren.
A memorial gathering for both George and Jane will be held Sept. 28 in the Glens Falls area, location and other details to be announced. Those interested in being notified may contact Alan Linck at 16 Forest Lane, Queensbury NY 12804.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Camp DREAM will be most appreciated: checks to "The DREAM Program" at POB 361, Winooski VT 05404. Condolences may be mailed to Maynard D. Baker Funeral Home, 11 Lafayette St., Queensbury NY 12804, or e-mailed through www.bakerfuneralhome.com.
Douglas Greist Hoskins Jr.
May 27, 2014
PISECO -- Douglas Greist Hoskins Jr. of Shiremanstown died May 27, 2014. He was born in Indianapolis, Ind., April 13, 1932, son of Douglas G. and Belle Saltford Hoskins.
He was a graduate of Mechanicsburg High School (1950) and Dartmouth College (1954).
Hoskins was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Doug excelled in the insurance industry as owner and vice president of Owen Incorporated of York, while mentoring and teaching others in the field.
He served as president of the Mechanicsburg JCs, Dartmouth Alumni Club of Central PA, CPCU Society of Central Pennsylvania, York County Insurance and Brokers Society, and Rotary Club of York where he was a Paul Harris Fellow. He served on the Shiremanstown borough council and was a member of the Delancey Scotsmen.
Surviving is his wife, Joyce, of 59 years; four children, Julia Hoskins, Elizabeth Grady and husband James, Douglas Hoskins and wife Catherine, Margaret Daws and husband Brice; and seven grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Benton and predeceased by his brother Robert.
He enjoyed spending summers at the family camp at Piseco Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. He was a member of the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg.
A celebration of his life was held Sunday, June 1, at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, 1280 Clover Lane, Harrisburg PA 17113. Memorial contributions may be made to the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg.