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Susquehanna Valley Railway Historical Society
Susquehanna Valley
Railway Historical Society
Binghamton, New York -- Home of Malfunction Junction



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Fallen Friends
  • Sandra J. Tisdell obituary

    Sandra J. Tisdell breathed her last breath, awake, and aware, at her home, on November 28, 2016 in Johnson City, with family present, in peaceful meditation, holding her hands. Sandra is presently, and always has been, one with our Father-Mother God, embraced in Infinite Mind, and forever reflected. Sandra Jean Parkhurst was born in 1938 in Johnson City, NY, the daughter of Walter Edward Parkhurst and Mildred Eleanor (Brewer) Parkhurst, and graduated from Johnson City High School in 1956. Sandra was predeceased by her parents. She is dearly missed by: her beloved husband Franklin, united in marriage for 58 years; four children: Frank, Babette, Sheila, and Paul; three grandchildren: Nicole, Colin, and Sean; one sister, Patricia; and many nieces and nephews; as well as many neighbors and friends. She is remembered for her beautiful warm smile, kindness, and loving assistance to others. Before her retirement, she lovingly touched many people's hearts through her 25 years as a customer service representative with JCPenney. She enjoyed sharing her homemade: cookies, donuts, jam, kolachki and halupki with others. Sandy was an active member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Binghamton, NY, and she served as: Reader, Board Member, Clerk, Usher, and Sunday School teacher. She also participated in many community organizations, including: The Susquehanna Valley Railway Historical Society, The Southerntiersman Barbershop Chorus Wives Group, The Binghamton Classical Film Society, and Bill Flynn's Polka Group. Sandy requested that no official memorial service be conducted for her... but you are certainly welcome to hold one in your heart, to celebrate her life.

  • Charles R. Yungkurth obituary

    Charles Robert "Chuck" Yungkurth passed away on May 7, 2016, in Louisville, CO. Born in 1929 in Scranton, PA to Harry S. and Edna M. Yungkurth, he received a mechanical engineering degree from Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA. He was a mechanical engineer for IBM Federal Systems Division, Owego, NY, from 1953 to 1990. Among other government projects, he worked on state of the art computers for NASA's Space Shuttle program. He served in the US Army from 1955 to 1957, as a project engineer in the US Army Engineer Test Unit, US Army Engineer Center, Ft. Belvoir, VA. Chuck was married to Mary C. Burriss in 1956, in Mt. Pleasant, OH. They lived in Binghamton and Endicott NY from 1957 until 1999, when they moved to Boulder, CO. Mary passed away in 2012. They are survived by four children: Charles Burriss Yungkurth, Madison, AL; Karen Yungkurth Gerhardt, Edwards, CO; Kristin Edna Raphael, Brooklyn, NY; Kurt Scott Yungkurth, Marana, AZ. They have six grandchildren. Chuck was a lifelong railroad enthusiast and historian. Combining his photographic skills with his love of trains, he built an archive of some 10,000 images, which he made available to the railroad community. He had deep and unique knowledge of northeastern railroads such as the Erie Lackawanna, and wrote six highly sought-after books on railroads, published by Morning Sun Books. He volunteered for over 15 years as a researcher in the library at the Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, CO. He was an avid participant in model railroading. An accomplished draftsman, Chuck pioneered the development of accurate mechanical drawings of railroad equipment, used by historians, model manufacturers, model builders, and publishers. He was a consultant to manufacturers and developed railroad models familiar to collectors all over the world. He had many articles published in Model Railroader Magazine from the 1960s until about 2005. According to Harold Miller, editor, he will be forever remembered as the designer of the Gumstump & Snowshoe, a small portable layout that's been built by many model railroaders over the years. There will be a celebration of Chuck's life held on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, 10am-noon, at the Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, Colorado. 17155 W. 44th Avenue, Golden, CO 80403. 303-279-4591; 800-365-6263. M.P. Murphy & Associates Funeral Directors, of Boulder, Colorado, is in charge of arrangements.

    Chuck was a longtime member of our Chapter and The Southern Tier Model Railroad Club.

    Below are two photos of Chuck, taken at and used by permission of the Colorado Railroad Museum.
    Click the thumbnails.

  • Carol Lea Gazda obituary

    Carol Lea Gazda, 69, of Brackney, PA., died Friday, August 29, 2014, after a long illness. She was predeceased by her parents Joseph H. and Mary Rusyn Affeldt. She is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 45 years, Thomas M. Gazda, Brackney, PA.; her daughter and son-in-law, Cynthia Lea and James P. Kent, McDonough; brother-in-law, Dennis and Karen Gazda, Vestal. She was a member of the St. Michael's Greek Catholic Church, Binghamton. Carol Lea endured a 25 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis. A Divine Liturgy will be offered at St. Michael's Greek Catholic Church, Binghamton, on Wednesday. Father James Dutko will officiate. Burial will be in the parish cemetery. Expressions of sympathy in memory of Carol Lea may be made to St. Michael's Youth Outreach Program, 280 Clinton Street, Binghamton, NY 13905.

    Read another obituary
    View a 1984 photo of Carol and her husband Tom .

  • Jerry O. Babcock



    Jerry Babcock, former member and longtime friend of the Chapter, passed away on June 26, 2013. Read the Tribute to Jerry Babcock by member Sam Botts.


  • William S. Young obituary

    William Simrell Young died peacefully at Barnes Kasson in Susquehanna early Wednesday August 8, 2012. He spent his youth and working life in railroad history, journalism, and photography. His wonderful power of recall and extensive archive provided information for other railroad researchers and fans. His family won't forget his earnest 1945 ride on a single speed bike from Starrucca, PA to New Berlin, NY in pursuit of his dream and love of the Unadilla Valley Railroad. Born in Brooklyn, NY he moved with his family to Cranford, NJ with its Rahway Valley Railroad, then to Starrucca, PA where he became infatuated with the Delaware and Hudson Railroad and the Erie's Starrucca Viaduct in Lanesboro, PA. He later moved to Aiken, SC where he stayed until returning permanently to Starrucca in 2001, writing and revising several railroad histories: Bridge of Stone (Starrucca Viaduct), Tunkhannock Viaduct (and the DL&W Hallstead Cut Off), and the Unadilla Valley Railroad. His photo book about EMD F units, Covered Wagons, is considered a classic by many and his ShortLines is still a guide for many. He was active as well in many genealogy and historical organizations. He was noted for his publishing of the magazine Railroading and was a contributor to Trains, Railfan and other publications with membership in many historical railroad societies including being a charter member of the Susquehanna Valley Chapter of the NRHS. He served in the Army during the Korean conflict in the US and Germany. His brother Richard Young and sister Althea Stice predeceased him. He enjoyed the love of cousins, nieces, and nephews. An open house at Simrell Farm, 8353 Starrucca Creek Road, Susquehanna, PA is planned for the afternoon of Saturday, September 15th.

    Bill gave many presentations to our chapter, the last two in 2007 and 2008. He was unable to attend our 50th Anniversary Celebration on April 14th due to failing health.

    Below are three photos of Bill.
    Click the thumbnails.

    Also, read a good writeup on Bill.

  • Tom Trencansky obituary

    Thomas T. Trencansky, 61, of Dryden, NY, died unexpectedly June 19, 2012, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY. Thomas was born on January 14, 1951 in Johnson City, NY. Starting in childhood, he was an avid railroader and photographer, now well known throughout the world. He worked at Cornell University as Administrative Manager of Geological/ Earth and Atmospheric Sciences for 29 years; owned and edited Dryden Tidbits; and recently retired as Executive Director of the Cayuga Nature Center. Over the years he spent most of his free time publishing articles and photographs in railroad magazines; collecting and driving classic cars; and traveling. His generous heart, pranks and smiles will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughters, Lisa (Scott) and Maria (Jess); brothers, Stephen (Mary Jane) and Eugene (Susan); sister Sandra Pasdon (Norbert); and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by parents Stephen and Margaret; brother Ron; and sisters-in-law Debra and Ann.

    Tom gave many presentations to our chapter. Most recently, he presented the program Take the Picture at our 50th Anniversary Celebration on April 14th.

    Read Tom's profile, published in Railfan & Railroad Magazine's June 1997 issue.

    Read Comments from a Friend.

  • Shelden King obituary

    Well-known trolley and railroad historian Sheldon S. King, 80, of Alloway, passed away on Saturday, June 16, 2012, at Rochester General Hospital. Sheldon was born on December 6, 1931, in Syracuse, a son to the late Calvin and Grace Peebles King. He was a graduate of Marathon Central Schools and Cortland Business Institute. Sheldon received his Bachelors in 1959 from SUNY Geneseo. Sheldon retired as a librarian for Westinghouse in Horseheads, NY. He was an author of books and articles concerning Upstate New York railroads and electric railways. He was also a speaker on the same topics. Sheldon was a parishioner of the Lyons United Methodist Church, a member of the Lyons Civic Club, Western New York Postcard Club, and several railroad historical societies. He is survived by two brothers, Stephen (Barbara) of Seneca Falls and Calvin (Jeanne) of Charlestown, SC; several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grand nephew; and several friends from Alloway and Lyons Methodist Church.

    Shelden gave presentations to our chapter, and also authored The Trolleys of the Triple Cities.

  • Walter Rich

    Walter Rich, CEO of the New York Susquehanna & Western Railway in Cooperstown, NY, passed away on August 9th, 2007. He was 61 years old.

    Born in Oneonta, NY on January 9, 1946, Rich attended Syracuse University where he achieved his BA in 1968 and then his JD in 1971.

    Walter Rich started his career with the Delaware Otsego Corporation in 1971 and in1980 became President and Director of its wholly owned subsidiary, The New York Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYS&W).

    In 1988, he fronted a successful push to save the bankrupt Delaware & Hudson Railway. Under Rich's strong leadership, the NYS&W operated the Delaware & Hudson under emergency orders from the Interstate Commerce Commission until the property was sold to Canadian Pacific Railway. That same year, Walter was recognized by his colleagues in the railroad industry receiving the "Right-Hand Man Award." In 1990, Modern Railroads magazine recognized the NYS&W as its Railroad of the Year.

    In 1993, Walter was appointed as a member of the New York State Public Transportation Safety board, and later, on then New York Governor-elect George Pataki's transition team and transportation subcommittee. He previously served as a member and past chairman of Eastern General Managers' Association, where he worked to improve rail safety and organized numerous industry seminars on the subject.

    In 1994, Walter was elected Eastern Region vice president and chairman of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). Walter was recognized as an influential and powerful spokesman for the Short Line railroad industry for over 25 years during the explosive growth of the 1980's and 90's. Walter dealt with some of the most challenging problems of that growth at both the state and federal levels and tirelessly dedicated himself to the expansion of the small railroad network. The results of that effort are clear today in the robust and dynamic industry that is so vibrant and essential to the movement of rail freight in North America.

    Walter was a Charter member of the Susquehanna Valley Railway Historical Society, Binghamton, NY formed on April 14, 1962. He was also an avid railfan and memorabilia collector of the New York Ontario & Western (NYO&W) and Delaware & Hudson Railway (D&H). Walter enjoyed railroading and shared his passion offering train excursions complete with his own fleet of passenger cars to run over his system.

    One of Walter's most enjoyable events was the annual Marathon, NY Maple Festival held each spring. Here the Susquehanna was an important part of the Festival running numerous shuttle excursion trips between Cortland, NY and Marathon, NY during the 2-day event to the enjoyment of thousands of people who rode the train.

  • John J. Young, Jr.

    JJ Young, Jr. passed away on November 27, 2004.


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