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100 North Main Street
Massena, NY 13662
Phone: (315) 769-3579
Fax: (315) 769-3570
Ervin Rutley

Ervin F. "Ike" Rutley

Saturday, May 16th, 1931 - Tuesday, June 25th, 2019
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Ervin F. Rutley, 88, of Colton, New York died peacefully on Tuesday morning, June 25, 2019 at the Canton-Potsdam Hospital. His wife, Mary, and son, Gregory, were by his side. Ervin is known to most people by his childhood nickname, “Ike.”

Ervin Fay Rutley was born on a farm in Lisbon, NY on May 16, 1931. His parents, Harold and Alice Marcellus Rutley, were Canadians who moved from farm to farm in the county until they owned two farms in the Town of Potsdam. The middle child, Ike was predeceased by his parents as well as siblings: Thorold, Leonard, Ilene, Helen, Ethel, William, and a half-brother Wesley Marselis. He sorely missed his beautiful calico Missy Katt who died this year.

Ike met the love of his life, Mary Steinburg, in Potsdam on her first weekend as a student at SUNY Potsdam. They married on June 24, 1961 and they enjoyed fifty-eight years in Colton. He is also survived by his son, Gregory, and his companion, Sandee Mayville, and many nieces and nephews. During his later years he acquired youthful ‘grand students’ and ‘adopted grandchildren’. He served as a surrogate parent/grandparent and story teller for many.

Ike attended County schools finishing his formal education at Norwood. He enjoyed a long work career beginning the Stanley Aitchison farm in Madrid and then the Dodge and Savoid IGA store in South Colton. In 1954 he was drafted into the Army where he proudly served most of his two years in Occupied Germany. He returned to train as a meat cutter at the IGA store before taking a job at the St. Lawrence University Snow Bowl. He ran the day-to-day operation of the ski area until it closed twenty years later in 1982. His final job took him deeper into the ‘South Woods’ as caretaker at a private park, the Hollywood Club Inc., until 1994 when he retired as an honorary member. He continued to work part-time with Scott McRobbie doing small engine repair.

Ike’s summer ‘job’ was working in his garden. Campers at Higley Flow State Park and locals knew the vegetable stand on the road to the Park. Sweet corn was grown at family farms in Madrid and on Norwood Pond and cow manure imported from the farms kept the veggies growing in Colton. After Ike’s heart surgery friends, especially Chuck Davis, gardened for him until Mary and her teenage helpers took over. When confined to a wheel chair Ike still had a container garden he could water from the deck.

This life story is not complete, however, without the last twenty years. In 1999 Ike suffered a triple A (abdominal aortic aneurysm) rupture that took him to the Watertown hospital; he was a miracle that survived after a seventy-day stay. After quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 life improved but in 2007 another aneurysm took his leg and confined him to a wheelchair. He continued to enjoy life, friends, and family for his love of life
and work sustained him. In the final months he frequented emergency rooms and hospitals and talked of ‘going home.’

Ike was an outdoors man: hunting, fishing, berrying, and cutting wood. He was a former member of hunting clubs, primarily Roaring Brook Club that adjoined the Hollywood Club. He was a Mason at the High Falls Lodge in Colton. At morning coffee he was known as a person of strong opinions and ready to voice those opinions. Ike’s life was the essence of the poem, “The Road Not Traveled.”

Plans are incomplete for a memorial gathering later in the summer. Burial of his ashes will be in the Riverside Cemetery in Norwood. Those wishing to make a donation in his memory could donate to Colton Rescue Squad, High Falls Masonic Lodge, Canton- Potsdam Hospital Foundation, United Helpers, or a charity of one’s choice.
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Susan Johnson

Posted at 07:26am
Rest In Peace Uncle Ike. You will be sadly missed.

Cora Walter

Posted at 05:52am
Mary and Family,
So sorry to hear that Ike has passed away.
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this sad time.
With My Deepest Sympathy,
Cora Walter

kevin brady

Posted at 06:08pm
This is sad news for sure. Ike was the second Hollywood caretaker I knew growing up. He was such a likeable guy who loved to share his knowledge of the Adirondacks. I knew him as a great family man, hunter, fisherman and gardener. He helped me “gut” my first buck from Beaver Flats and I believe he was happier that I got my first buck than he was about his own giant 8 point that he already had hanging on the meat pole.

I also caught my first Walleye and Northern Pike with Ike, over on the Racquet River. For about 10 Springs in a row my friend Al Sherburne and I would go up to the club and fish the Racquet with Ike, who was always so generous to provide the boat, gear and also lunch!!! We always filled the stringer with Ike as the guide!!!

When Ike was caretaker and for many years afterward one of the stops on the pilgrimage to camp was Ike and Mary’s house. We would catch up with the Rutleys and get to go into their backyard where Ike had a giant garden. He grew every vegetable that you would ever want to put on your table. The Rutleys had a little unmanned vegetable stand in front of their house with a cash box that people would put their money in for the Veggies they took…. I always thought that this was a sign of respect that the community had for Ike and his family. Ike always took me back to the garden and cut us fresh veggies himself. Everything was always delicious. I believe he grew the best sweet corn I have ever eaten!!!

There is not a trip that I take to the Adirondacks that I don’t think of Ike. He definitely fueled my passion for the outdoors and I will always be grateful for that.


Kevin Brady

Wm Hayman

Posted at 01:00pm
Ike will be remembered fondly by all of us local kids who skied at the Snow Bowl. He was the "friendly" face of the Snow Bowl who kept the place running. SLU could not have had a better manager/ care-taker to take care of the property and the skiers.
Warm Regards to all his family and friends.
Bill Hayman, a Snow Bowl skier from 1962 till closing.

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