COLTON — Alan J. Romoda, 77, of Colton, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, December 23, 2022 at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.
He is survived by his wife Rachelle, children Alissa (Dennis) Levison of Potsdam, Andrew Romoda of Longmont, CO, and Colin (Kimberly) Romoda of Cary, NC, grandchildren Shayne Elizabeth, Dean Alan, Quinn Danielle, and Clarke Sawyer, and a brother Thomas Romoda of Canton.
Alan Joseph Romoda was born in Englewood, NJ, a son of the late Joseph John and Ruth Esther (Whitnall) Romoda.
He graduated from Canton Central School in 1963 where he played golf, basketball and football, with the teams for basketball and football being inducted to the Sports Hall of Fame.
He always laughed while retelling, or acting out, the football play when Canton beat Ogdensburg for the Section Championship, when he somehow made his first and only touchdown in his high school career.
Of his high school sports career he was most proud of his golf, coming in 14th at the New York State HS Golf Championship--not too bad for a boy from Upstate NY!
Alan was even more proud of his brother, Tom, who came in 2nd in the same competition.
After graduating from high school, Alan attended Syracuse University, and was a member of the golf team under Coach Jim Boeheim.
His education was interrupted for service in the Army during the Vietnam era, with a majority of his time stationed in Germany, where he received the National Defense Service Medal as a Marksman.
He would be the first to admit he wasn’t always the best soldier, since being his own boss did not sit well within the military structure.
When not on assignment, Alan participated on a golf team in Wurzburg, Germany.
He finished active duty in 1969.
Upon completion of his military service, Alan returned to Syracuse University and graduated in 1971 with a degree in Mathematics.
He continued his education at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston for Construction.
During that time he worked the night shift as a security guard for a beer distribution center, enjoying the bonus of having to “discard” the damaged cases.
Alan spent several years traveling in Asia and Africa; first heading into Africa for an extended time, before moving on to Southeast Asia.
Thailand and Africa were special places to him with their gentle people, and always on his list to go back to with his wife when it was safe to travel.
In late 1973 while Alan was hitchhiking through New Zealand he met his “mate”, Andrew Cotton, and struck up a friendship that has lasted throughout distance and time for almost 50 years; even naming his firstborn son after him.
As Andrew said, “He was always pretty loose with detail, drifting, I guess, over that period. Similar for all of us, searching for Nirvana.”
Alan picked up odd jobs that supported his meandering travel, which took him to Australia and Tasmania in the winters of 1974 and ‘75 working at Mount Buller Ski Resort in Victoria, Australia. In 2019 Alan and his wife were able to spend eight weeks traveling in New Zealand and Tasmania, Australia.
Alan and Rachelle (Dean) always counted early 1980 as the time their unbreakable union began even though they were not officially married until July 25, 1986 at Gunnison Chapel, St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
During Alan’s summer trips home to work so he could travel again, he met and rented from Charlie Bradt.
Charlie became his very close friend, mentor, and partner.
Together they formed BR Enterprises; a business partnership lasting for twenty five years, and their deep friendship that time did not fade.
An accumulation of college rentals in Canton expanded to include Potsdam.
At one point the business owned and maintained over twenty properties in the two towns. Alan had a deep love and commitment to the entire Bradt family; and especially Freda, who always held a very special place in his heart.
In 2008, major medical issues forced Alan to sell all of his properties and temporarily relocate to the Raleigh, North Carolina area.
Beating all odds and upon recovery from a liver transplant on October 2, 2008, Alan returned home and began the next phase of his work; renovating and flipping several houses in Canton and Potsdam.
Easing into retirement, Alan moved onto home renovations with the assistance of Jim Mousaw.
During the last ten years Alan completed the total renovation of a stately sandstone home at Brown’s Bridge for his brother-in-law, and beautiful renovations designed by his daughter as she and her husband updated their Potsdam home.
During Alan’s “down time” one would find him in his workshop restoring antiques purchased throughout the North Country and New England.
At one time the expectation was that Alan would bid highest on all of the one drawer stands at Blanchard’s Auction.
After being overrun with one drawer stands he then turned to larger cabinets; much more difficult to fit into his home, but he seemed to find a way.
If not, he would give it away.
He even learned the art of weaving caned chair seats.
Antiquing was truly one of his passions!
As his working career wound down, Alan took up golf again and enjoyed playing with the Seniors at the Potsdam Country Club.
Alan lived life to the fullest; taking pleasure in spending time cheering on his children, and grandchildren at their sports events, taking pride in their academic achievements, and just spending time with them.
For over twenty years Alan looked forward to his Potsdam Sergi’s Friday night pizza with his close friends.
Alan always believed in supporting the local community and you could find him in area businesses with his sidekick “Minnie”.
One of his personal indulgences was his morning coffee at Park Bros.
He was always willing to help anyone who needed help; be it plumbing, electrical, small carpentry, or checking things out before they called in repairmen.
Memorial donations in Alan’s name may be made to Helping Hands, PO Box 92; Hannawa Falls, NY 13647.
Thoughts, condolences, fond memories and prayers may be shared online with the Romoda family at www.GarnerFH.com.