CHESTERTOWN -- David J. Pitkin, retired teacher and local author, died Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, at his home in Chestertown.
Son of Corliss and Mary (Carney) Pitkin, he was born March 7, 1939, in Corinth, N.Y.
Graduating from Corinth Central High School, the State University in Albany and Goddard College in Vermont, he held a Bachelor of Arts degree in history, a Master of Arts in social studies education, and a Master of Arts in counseling psychology.
He is survived by a brother, Joseph (Jeanne) Pitkin of Hagaman, N.Y.; and four sisters, Susan M. Lee of Clifton Park, Nancy (Christopher) Clark of Berwyn, Pa., Maureen Draganchuk of Middletown, N.Y., and Jacqueline VanNoy of Edmonds, Wash. He had three children: Lisa Pitkin of Altamont, N.Y., Daniel Pitkin of New York City, and John Pitkin of Parsippany, N.J.; and two grandchildren, Noah and Naomi Pitkin of Altamont, N.Y. He is also survived by a dear companion, Diane Wood, of Lake George.
Pitkin received several honors during his 36-year teaching career, including an honorary 1961 brigadier-generalship in the Sullivan County (N.Y.) Militia for his schoolwide Civil War Centennial program in
Eldred, N.Y. He taught at both Oriskany and Holland Patent High Schools in central New York and, during that time, co-founded Battle of Oriskany Historical Society and Oriskany Village Museum. In 1967 to 1968, he created and produced “The Battle of Oriskany,” a sound and light re-creation at the 1777 battlefield. Additionally, he worked as a laborer on the Fort Stanwix archaeological excavation in Rome, N.Y., in the late ’60s.
During his final 25 years of teaching in Saratoga Springs, David was also a religious education teacher at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. He was co-founder of “Give A Child Christmas” in the city in 1971. He also helped establish Parapsychology Study and Investigations, a paranormal research and educational group in Saratoga Springs during the 1970s. For more than 25 years, he also served as a numerologist, providing spiritual counseling, and later writing a book on the subject. Upon retirement, he wrote his first book of collected Saratoga County ghost stories, which proved to be a success. Since then, he has written and published eight more books in that genre.
He created his own small publishing company, Aurora Publications, in Chestertown, where he lived most recently. He often appeared as an authority on “Coast to Coast AM” with the George Noory late-night radio show, often appeared on Forum 13, a WNYT-TV interview program in Albany, and was a popular storyteller throughout New York state. He was the subject of a feature article in the August 2012 issue of Yankee Magazine.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at Densmore Funeral Home, 7 Sherman Ave., Corinth. Visiting hours will be from 1 to 3 p.m. followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m., with the Rev. Clayton Burgess officiating.
Burial will be at the convenience of the family.
Donations in David’s memory may be made to Adirondack Voices, P.O. Box 4145 Queensbury, NY 12804 or to any local food pantry.