Ismay, Louis Fletcher ALBANY Louis Fletcher Ismay, an educator, lifelong advocate for social justice, champion of environmental causes and one of the oldest grassroots activists in New York's Capital Region died October 12, 2021, at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany. He was 96. A pioneer in the conservation movement, Louis Ismay influenced generations of students as a professor in S.U.N.Y. Albany's Environmental Studies department and coordinator of its Environmental Forum in the early 1970s. Born in Bronxville, N.Y. on February 25, 1925, Louis and his younger brother Arthur were raised in Tuckahoe, N.Y. Their parents, Louis and Julia (Keringer) Ismay immigrated to the United States from Austria-Hungary in the early 1900s. In 1943, Louis was drafted and served as an Army engineer, seeing combat in Western Europe. He was reactivated for duty in the early 1950s and left service as a sergeant first class in 1956. Two years later Louis graduated from the Teacher's College at Columbia University with a master of arts degree in Philosophy and Social Science. A 1949 marriage to Elizabeth Kroll of Cortland, N.Y. ended in divorce in 1957. In 1959 Louis married Eleanor Ricker of Guilderland, divorcing in 1972. In the 1970s, Louis and his Environmental Forum students played an instrumental role in saving Albany's Pine Bush wilderness area from commercial development. Following a career in academia and home energy services, Lou retired on a farm in Berne, moving to an assisted living facility in recent years due to his declining health. Louis was a longstanding member and former president of the Interfaith Alliance, a multi-faith organization dedicated to protecting the integrity of religion and democracy. In accepting a 2019 lifetime honor from the New York Office for the Aging, Louis said "You have to work for justice or you will never know peace. Get involved, pay attention, do something useful every day." Louis is survived by his brother Arthur P. Ismay of McLean, Va.; and by his son John Fletcher Ismay of St. Augustine, Fla.; as well as five grandchildren, David Edwards, Daniel Ismay, Debra (Ismay) Sherman, Kacey Ismay and Kelly Ismay, and five great-grandchildren. Louis will be buried with military honors at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, New York in Saratoga County on November 12 at 10 a.m. All are welcome to join the graveside service as well as a memorial service and celebration of life at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany at 405 Washington Avenue in Albany, N.Y. at 12 p.m. on November 12. In lieu of flowers, Louis' family asks that you consider a donation of time or money to the Albany chapter of Veterans For Peace and to the Save the Pine Bush organization.
Published by Albany Times Union on Nov. 7, 2021.