Ronald N. Jennings

1943 - 2022

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 

PHOENIX MILLS – Ronald N. Jennings, a life-long resident of Phoenix Mills and a devoted family man, passed away after a brave fight following a recent diagnosis of cancer on the night of Good Friday, April 15, 2022, at his beloved family home by the banks of the Susquehanna River in Phoenix Mills. He was 78. 

Born August 18, 1943, at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, he was the youngest of seven children and last surviving child of Charles E. and Frances A. (Trask) Jennings.

He grew up in the family home in Phoenix Mills and attended school in Cooperstown, graduating with the Class of 1961from Cooperstown Central School. On October 1, 1964, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and proudly served his country during the Vietnam War. He received his Honorable Discharge from the military on September 30, 1968, having attained the rank of Sergeant. 

Ron returned to Cooperstown and was employed by Arnold Staffin, owner of the Glen Garage. In November 1970 Ron began a career at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in the facilities maintenance department, retiring in September of 2003 after nearly 33 years of employment. 

On June 21, 1969, Ron married the former Edith (Edie) Marie Ainslie in a ceremony at the Cooperstown United Methodist Church. They lived for a time in Toddsville, but following his mother’s passing in 1974, they took ownership of the family home in Phoenix Mills and have resided there ever since. Purchased by his parents in 1921, the Jennings were only the second family to live at this location, and Ron spent countless hours faithfully restoring and maintaining the family home. 

Ron had a special interest in the history of the various mills and other industries within the hamlet of Phoenix Mills, and was always willing to share his knowledge with friends and neighbors. He was in the process of publishing a book about the history of those mills. In 2005 Ron started a three-year career at Hanford Mills Museum, which for him was like living in the past. Ron’s other interests were many, including genealogy, American history, especially the period of the Civil War, as well as wood working and wood carving. 

In all that he did, Ron’s attention to detail and meticulous nature was well respected and admired by his family and friends. 

A member of the Cooperstown United Methodist Church, he served the church on the Board of Trustees for a number of years. He was also a member of the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579, the Otsego County Historical Association, NYSHA, and in the early 1970s was a member of the Hartwick Fire Department Company #2 in Hartwick Seminary. A Trustee of the Hartwick Seminary Cemetery Association, he served as President of the Board up until this past February. 

Most of all, his favorite past-time was spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. These times were above all his fondest memories. 

Ron is survived by his wife of 52 years, Edie, of Phoenix Mills; their daughter, Teresa Russo and husband, Peter of Whitefield, New Hampshire; and two grandchildren, Nicholas and Maeghan Russo. He is further survived by a large extended family and many friends, including special friends Mike and Tami Pelcer and their children, Mia, Max and Grace, and Randy and Susan Gelatt and their children, Colin, Emily and Amanda.

He was predeceased by his son, Michael Howard Jennings, who passed away November 21, 2014. He was further preceded in death by all of his siblings, Richard A. Jennings, Robert C. Jennings, Arnold R. Jennings, Douglas L. Jennings, Gerald “Jerry” F. Jennings, Alice Tomasi and lifelong friend Tom Morrissey. 

On Saturday, May 21, 2022, we will be remembering the life of Ron Jennings. The family will receive relatives and friends beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 21, 2022, at the Cooperstown United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown, with a service at 3 p.m. officiated by Rev. Dana Horrell, pastor. The service will be livestreamed:

The service of committal will follow at the Hartwick Seminary Cemetery, with Military Honors to be accorded by members of the Cooperstown Veterans Club and the United States Air Force Stratton Air National Guard Base Honor Guard. 

As an alternative to flowers, the Jennings family respectfully suggests that expressions of sympathy in the form of memorial donations be directed to the Cooperstown United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 66 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326 or the Hartwick Seminary Cemetery Association, 1636 Kelly Corners Road, Oneonta, NY 13820. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the 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.