Donald Robert Lettis

July 29, 1925 - June 30, 2014

COOPERSTOWN - Donald Robert (Bob) Lettis, a World War II veteran, passed away early Monday morning, June 30, 2014, at his home. He was 88.

Born July 29, 1925, in Cooperstown, he was a son of Donald F. and Charlotte (Hall) Lettis.

Raised in Cooperstown, Bob graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1943. Following graduation, he enlisted in United State Army and served in Europe. He was involved in the Battle of the Bulge, the crossing of the Rhine River at Ramagan, Germany and the drive to the Danube River which ended the war. He received the Bronze Star for his work during the Rhine Crossing for establishing several observation posts that located German artillery that was trying to knock out the Ramagan Bridge. He was honorably discharged on March 10, 1946.

Upon his return to Cooperstown, he enrolled in the Art Education Program at Syracuse University. In 1947 he married Grace Annamay (Gae) Carlsen while he was a student at Syracuse. Following his graduation from Syracuse University in 1950, the Lettises moved to Worcester.  

After teaching for only one month at Worcester Central School, Bob was called back into the Army for the Korean Conflict. Fortunately, by the time he was ready to embark for Korea, the war appeared to be over when the United States Marines drove into North Korea, ending at the Chinese border. (Later the Chinese entered the war.) Rather than being released, he was sent to Europe and served at the Seventh Army Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany for a year. He was discharged a second time from service in 1951. While he was away, his daughter Charlotte was born.  

Upon his return he taught art in Worcester and Schenevus Central Schools for five years. In 1956 he returned to Cooperstown and taught high school art at Cooperstown Central School until 1964. During his years in Cooperstown he was involved with Boy Scouting and amateur theatre productions. He also joined the Lions Club of Cooperstown on February 2, 1958, and served as club president in 1963. 

In 1964 Bob and his family moved to New Jersey. He attended Pratt Institute in New York City and received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1966. The Lettis family then moved to Hingham, MA and Bob taught Printmaking and Art Education at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston for the next twenty-one years. Mass Art, as it was known in Boston, is the only publicly supported art college in the country. During his tenure at Mass Art, he served as Vice President of Academic Affairs for five years and Chairman of the Art Education Department for several years. He retired as Professor Emeritus in 1987.

Following his retirement, Bob and Gae spent several years traveling in Europe and the Caribbean Islands, as well as visiting their children who live throughout the United States. They moved back to Bob's native Cooperstown in 2002.

Bob is survived by three children, Charlotte Richardson and her husband, Kirk, of Portland, OR, Paula Bedford and her husband, Jim, of Northville, MI, and Daniel Lettis of Clayton, NM; six grandchildren, Briget Bent, Nicolle Meyer, Jacob Meyer, Daniel Meyer, Sam Richardson, and Henry Richardson; three great grandchildren, Tanner Bent, Jillian Bent and Katelyn Torres; and one niece, Carol Krutz.  

Bob was predeceased by his beloved wife of 66 years, Grace Annamay Carlsen Lettis, who died January 5, 2014; his parents, Charlotte Hall Lettis and Donald F. Lettis; one brother, James F. Lettis, who died May 14, 2006; and a nephew, Frank Krutz, who died in 2012.

A memorial service will be offered at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, 2014, in the Augusta Clark Room of the Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main Street, Cooperstown.  The Rev. Betsy Jay, Chaplain at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, will officiate.

Interment will be at a later date in the Lettis Family Plot in Lakewood Cemetery, Cooperstown. 

Expressions of sympathy in the form of memorial gifts may be made to the Lions Club of Cooperstown, P.O. Box 2, Cooperstown, NY 13326 or The Charlotte Hall Lettis Nursing Scholarship Fund, c/o Cooperstown Central School District, 39 Linden Avenue, Cooperstown, NY 13326.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.