HARTWICK SEMINARY — Rodney H. Ingalls died Nov. 19, 2013, at the age of 94. He lived a long and exemplary life.
He was a descendent of the first Ingalls who came to the new world in 1628 and settled Lynn, Mass. Rodney was the son of a sixth generation farmer. He was born May 7, 1919, at the family farm homestead on Christian Hill. He was the only child of Harry Clark Ingalls and Theresa Chapman Ingalls. At the age of three, his family moved to Hartwick Seminary, where Rod eventually owned and operated the family farm, known as the ‘Clover Leaf Farm’. His father, Harry, was very progressive in farming. He had the first milking machine and the first tractor in the township.
Rodney graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1936. He received a four year grant to Cornell University where he graduated in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in ‘Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.’
On July 27, 1942, Rodney enlisted in the U.S. Navy and entered into active service as a Naval Aviator. Even though farm sons were exempt from compulsory enlistment, Rodney chose to enlist. He flew reconnaissance missions in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres off the aircraft carrier USS Guam. His flight assignment was to search for U-boats. He attained the rank of Lieutenant JG and received an honorable discharge from the US Naval Service on Dec. 12, 1945.
On June 16, 1944, while in active service, he married Virginia Mary McGraw. His justification for taking on a ‘war bride’ was that the Navy paid more to married officers. Virginia predeceased him after 62 years of marriage.
After his military service, Rodney returned to the family farm where he and his father founded the Cooperstown Dairy and raised a herd of purebred Guernsey cows. His first love became that of raising gladiolus flowers, honey bees, vegetables and You-Pick Strawberries and Blueberries. The farm was once complimented as being the ‘Jewel of the County.’