James's Story

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SCHUYLER LAKE _ James “Peter” Blackledge Jr., a local contractor who was devoted to his family and community, died Friday afternoon, July 15, 2011, at his home that he built in the Town of Exeter, surrounded by his loving family. He was 67.
A native of New Jersey, Peter was born March 16, 1944, in Englewood, N.J., a son of James Peter Blackledge Sr. and Lillian Phyllis (Bard) Blackledge.
In 1962, he graduated from Northern Valley Regional High School in Demarest, N.J. On June 26, 1965, Peter married the former Maxine Miller in a ceremony at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Cresskill, N.J. As a young man, Peter entered the field of construction.
After he graduated from high school, he first worked for Bruce Gardner General Contractor. However, the war in Vietnam was in full force, and Peter was inducted into the United States Army on April 19, 1968. He served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a part of the 9th Infantry Division, and earned three Bronze Stars and two Army Commendation Medals.
On Nov. 21, 1969, he received his honorable discharge from  the military, and returned to hiswife and home in New Jersey.
He went back to work for Bruce Gardner as a foreman, but left in 1971, to work with K.B.C. Smith Construction, where he also served as a foreman.
It was during this time that he began visiting upstate New York, and eventually bought some land in the Town of Exeter and built a house.
Peter and his family moved permanently to their new home in 1974, and in 1977, he began working with Gus Pfeuffer and Hilltop Construction.
He worked with Gus for the next 12 years and then started his own general contracting business, Blackledge Construction.
During his years in Otsego County, he served his community and fellow citizens well in several capacities. He was an active and dedicated member of the Schuyler Lake Volunteer Fire Department, and served as Fire Chief from 1989 until 1991, and later as Assistant Fire Chief. From 1989 until 2010, he was a councilman for the Town of Exeter, and also served as a member of the Otsego County Republican Committee for almost 15 years.
Peter will be remembered by his family and friends as a wonderful contractor who built many houses in the area.  He taught his skills to his son,Brian, who continues the tradition of quality craftsmanship that Peter always put forth throughout his life.
Peter is survived by his wife of 46 years, Maxine, of Burlington Flats; a son, Brian Peter Blackledge, and his wife, Stacy, of Hartwick; two grandchildren, Riley and
Lilly Blackledge; two sisters, Joann Boozer of Georgia and Joyce Hammel of Parkville, Md.; one brother, Craig Blackledge of Richfield Springs; and many nieces and nephews.
He is further survived by his wife’s brother, John Miller, and his wife, Pamela, of Cooperstown; and his wife’s sister, Nancy Schedivy and her husband, Raymond, of Crystal River, Fla.
In addition to his parents, Peter was preceded in death by one brother, Charles (“Chuck”) Blackledge; and a brother-inlaw, Jack Boozer.
Memorial services will be offered at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown. The services will begin with a Firefighter Memorial Service conducted by members of the Schuyler Lake Volunteer Fire Department and the Otsego County Firemen’s Association.
This will be followed by a service of remembrance led by the Rev. John C. Young. At the conclusion of services, Military Honors will be accorded by members of the Cooperstown Veterans Club and a contingent from the New York State Military Forces Honor Guard.
Peter’s family suggests memorial contributions be made to Catskill Area Hospice & Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Arrangements are under the guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.
Published on  July 28, 2011
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