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James Robert Potts (1908-2002)

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James Robert Potts (1908-2002) aka Robert Potts; Surveyor, Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1940 to 1950; and Operator of Maple View Dairy (b. January 31, 1908, Spring House, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA - d. December 12, 2002, Oxford, Chenango County, New York, USA).

ParentsEdit

He was the son of Blennie Elizabeth Bolles (1875-1913) and Julius William Potts (1874–1943).

BirthEdit

James was born January 31, 1908, in Spring House, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Death of motherEdit

His mother died of tuberculosis when he was 5 years old.

First marriageEdit

He married Vera Catherine Page (1911-1982) on April 04, 1935 in Schenectady, New York. Vera was the daughter of Archibald Reed Page (1876-1945) and Viola Catherine McDowell I (1885-1960).

Second marriageEdit

On September 05, 1992, he married Elsie M. Skinner (1919-1998) as his second wife. She was previously married to Frank Grebeldinger II (1916-1989). Elsie was the daughter of Fred Eugene Skinner and Mary F. Benedict.

ObituaryEdit

James 'Bob' Potts of Oxford, a retired licensed land surveyor for the Town of Smithtown, Long Island, and a former resident of Westbrookville, died Thursday, December 12, 2002, at his home. He was 94 years of age. The son of the late Julius and Blennie Bolles Potts, he was born January 31, 1908, in Spring House, Pennsylvania He was the widower of Vera Page Potts and Elsie Skinner Grebeldinger Potts. Mr. Potts was a member and past master of the Oxford Masonic Lodge #175, Free and Accepted Mason and a member of the Kings Park (Long Island) Volunteer Fire Department. He was a 1925 graduate of Ahens Penna High School. A veteran of the United States Army, he served from 1929 to 1935. He served in the Coast Artillery and then worked with the 29th Engineers of the U.S. Army. He worked as a surveyor in the Brooklyn Navy Yard from 1940 to 1950. He operated Maple View Dairy in Kings Park from 1952 to 1958. He is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Richard and Glenna Potts of Oxford and James and Jeanne Potts of Smithtown; two daughters, Colleen DeLise and her husband, Frank, of Kings Park, and Roberta Kerekes of Middle Island; 11 grandchildren, Janice, Fern, Todd, Scotty, Blyden, Timothy, Shannon, Erin, Courtney, James and Jonathan; and six great-grandchildren. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Knight-Auchmoody Funeral Home, 154 East Main Street, Port Jervis, with the Reverend Steven Phillips officiating. Burial will be made in the Westbrookville Cemetery in Westbrookville. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Chenango County, 21 Hayes Street, Norwich, New York13815 or to the Oxford Masonic Lodge #175, Free and Accepted Mason, P.O. Box 916, Oxford, New York 13830.

LegacyEdit

He kept a diary which is extant and being transcribed by Blyden Potts. Blyden also interviewed him on audio tape and the tapes are being transcribed.

MemoirsEdit

I went over to Otisville, the tuberculosis place there, and got a job. A dollar-a-day they paid over there -- Dick Page was working over there at the time -- got a dollar-a-day and just came home on weekends. When it come Spring of 1936, round April or something, why, they was cleaning out the railroad tunnel. We got a job in the summertime gandydancing on the Erie railroad. Cleaned out the Otisville tunnel. Dick Page and I, Jagers, Louie Inella, Mook Lagana and I don't know who else, maybe Howe Culver, we all went over and got a job gandydancing. Three dollars and sixty cents a day. Mook and Ardeth they was renting Gillette's place up towards Skinners. We moved in with them. We lived with them all of '36. Got laid off in the Fall of the year. Then there wasn't anything to do but a job here and there. Cut our firewood. Cut some wood for some other people. Of course we raised a garden while we was there. After we cleaned out that tunnel, starting in April. It was in July, sometime in '36; there's probably a weather record of that where you'd find out what date that was. We'd been working out of the sun, in the tunnel. They split the gang up. Dick Page, he went with a gang that went towards Port Jervis, and I went with a gang that went towards Middletown, cribbing out cinders. Leo Turchin, the foreman, he said he wanted three rails a day. A rail's thirty-nine foot long, so say forty, that a hundred and seventeen foot of cinders cribbed out between the ties, cleaning the shoulders off, and everything. I don't think they got it that day, because it was so hot that ten o'clock in the morning some of the boys said, "That's enough for me. We ain't working today." Out of thirteen, I think there was three of us -- I don't know who the other two was -- that worked the whole day. I was about ready to quit around three-thirty sometime, but Brownie, the second foreman, he had some hot tea left. He gave me a cup or a half a cup of hot tea and I managed to last the day out of it. I don't know how hot, but it was well over a hundred degrees. Dick Page, he come back through the tunnel. They wanted to pick up a light there that they used when we was cleaning out the tunnel. Dick said he just about had strength enough to pick up this light and set it on the grampus, and come on into Otisville, where he unloaded it. That was on a Friday. Saturday we went up to Page's. Dick had lost his voice. He just sat there on the porch. It was a good thing he had two days, a weekend. He wasn't ready to go back to work Saturday or Sunday.

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