Ralph B. Colson Jr.

Ralph B. Colson Jr. Schenectady, NYRalph B. Colson Jr., 93, of Schenectady, passed away on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at Kingsway Arms Nursing Home where he had been a resident. Born on September 27, 1919 in Hankow, China, he was the son of the late Ralph B. Colson, Sr. and Edith (nee: Carr) Colson. He was raised and educated in Schenectady and later graduated from Scotia Glenville in 1937. After high school, Ralph worked for two years in construction before attending Cornell University, graduating in 1943 with a degree in wildlife biology. While in college, he served in R.O.T.C. and was on the diving team. After graduation, Ralph left for officers' training school graduating as a 2nd lieutenant. He then joined the 44th Infantry Division as an artillery officer and landed in Europe in September of 1944 where he served as forward observer for the artillery, earning the nickname On the Way Colson. At the end of WWII, while stationed in Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, he met a nurse and First Lieutenant Mary F. Deyo, whom he married in October of 1945. He then continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserves until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1972. Ralph also worked as a wildlife biologist for NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for over 37 years until his retirement in 1983. During his career with the DEC, Ralph was instrumental in banning DDT and helped reintroduce and establish the wild turkey population in New York State. Ralph was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hiking, hunting and spending time in the Adirondacks. Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Mary F. (nee: Deyo) Colson; his daughter, Lois A. (Robert Romph) Colson of Schenectady; his sister, Sayla Ruscitto of Holyoke, MA; two grandchildren, Robyn (Kazi) Shindler-Rashid of Stanford, CT and Matthew (Karen) Shindler of West Warwick, RI; and three great-grandchildren, Bryanna, Kyra and Hannah Shindler. The family will receive relatives and friends on Sunday from 4 until 6 p.m. at Light's Funeral Home, 1428 State St., Schenectady. Funeral services will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be held on Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Saratoga National Cemetery, 200 Duell Rd., Schuylerville. Memorial contributions may be made in Ralph's memory to Sierra Club, Atlantic Chapter, PO Box 886, Syosset, NY 11791-0886 and The Nature Conservancy, PO Box 6014 Albert Lea, MN 56007. To express online condolences, visit www.sbfuneralhome.com

Published in The Daily Gazette Co. on Nov. 9, 2012