Dec. 24, 1928 - Feb. 2, 2017
Charles L. Ketchum Jr., supervisor for the Main Post Office on William Street and a longtime Mason and history buff, died Thursday in Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga. He was 88.
Born in Binghamton, he moved to Buffalo with his family during the Depression. An East High School graduate, Mr. Ketchum joined the Navy during World War II.
After the war, Mr. Ketchum enlisted in the New York Army National Guard, serving for 30 years before retiring from the 221st Engineer Group as a command sergeant major.
After operating a fence construction business for 15 years he was hired as a Postal Service clerk. Mr. Ketchum was appointed supervisor of the Postal Service's William Street facility, from where he retired in 1986.
Mr. Ketchum became a Mason in 1962, joining Tyrian Lodge 925, serving as master for a number of years through 2012. In 1973 he and other Masons organized the Knights of Mecca. The Grand Lodge of New York State also appointed him a grand representative, a post he held from 1991 through 1994.
He was instrumental in organizing the local Masonic Research Lodge and, in 1983, obtained a charter for the Western New York Lodge of Research. He also served as master of the research lodge in 1985.
He also was a member of Tonawanda-Keystone Chapter 71, Royal Arch Masons; Tonawanda Commandery 78; Valley of Buffalo, AASR; Ismailia Temple, AAONMS; West Seneca Lodge 1111; and Faith Chapter 722 OES.
He also was a member of American Legion Post 735.
Arletta Ketchum, his wife of 26 years, said that in 1982 he was hired as manager of the Masonic Service Bureau of Buffalo, a position he held until 1996.
Mr. Ketchum, an author of books on Masonry, also wrote about Western New York history, including the Holland Land Company and American Indian history.
He served as a deacon and elder of Ebenezer United Church of Christ in West Seneca, where he also sang in the choir and ushered. He also attended Kenilworth United Church of Christ in the Town of Tonawanda.
Interested in genealogy research, Mr. Ketchum became a genealogist emeritus and director of the Grinnell Family Association of America.
Survivors also include four daughters, Linda Hudson, Bonnie Staneck, Patricia Organisiak and Donna Blarr Ketchum; a son, Charles L. III; three stepdaughters, Rae and Rita Alles and Roann Marino; one stepson, Roy Alles; a sister, Patsy Darlyne Johnson; nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in Ebenezer United Church of Christ, 630 Main St., West Seneca.