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September 30th, 2009

Ellsworth Vanderzee Potter, Jr. (June 29, 1929 - July 3, 2009)



Ellsworth Vanderzee (Sonny, Stretch, Poppa Cool, Pop Sonny, Cuz) Potter received his Angel’s Wings on Friday, July 3, 2009 having passed this life at Prince William Hospital, Manassas, Va. with his loving family holding onto him and praying at his bedside. He was born June 29, 1929 in Poughkeepsie, NY to the late Ellsworth Vanderzee (Barney) Potter, Sr. and the late Helen Johnson Potter. He retired from IBM in 1987 having served for 35 years as a trail-blazing Operations Manager. A former member of Elejmal Temple #185, he was predeceased by former wife Anna L. Henderson Potter.

Ellsworth acquired the infamous name "Poppa Cool" because of his ability to maintain such a focused, highly functional and calming presence through family the triumphs but especially, the misfortunes. A handsome, dynamic, fun and loving soul, "Pop Sonny’s" life was always filled with adventure, family road trips, and rather long-winded stories about "the big one that got away." A lifelong, die-hard fan of the New York Giants, his passions included coaching basketball, golfing, fishing, hunting, and man’s best friends - his beloved dogs. Upon his retirement, "Stretch" had one of the greenest yards in the neighborhood. Children will remember his trips to the candy store, hilarious tickle sessions and that surprise silver dollar for their pockets. Adults will remember his good long "fireside chats" that could include interests from the Johnson-Potter family lineage to African and Native American history to survival tactics in a world that is ever changing and evolving. "Sonny" taught all who were blessed by his presence how to live well and most of all, how to love well.

Ellsworth V. Potter Jr. leaves to celebrate fond memories his wife and best friend of 27 years Lucille W. Potter, son Charles Kenneth (Deborah) Potter of Charleston, SC; daughter Marion Kitt Potter of New Paltz, NY; children Donna (Kim) Hodge of Durham, NC; Tara (Barron) Brown of Thomasville, NC; Teri Hodge of Durham, NC and Kevin Hodge of Manassas, VA; granddaughter Terri Campbell of Jacksonville, Fl; grandson Charles K. (Butch) Potter, Jr of Tampa, Fl; and granddaughter Alexis (Tye) Hill of Atlanta, GA; grandchildren Phillip, Tamika, Christopher, Matthew, Daquain, Terrell, Justin, Shayla; great-grandchildren Essence, Malique, Nile, Nadia and Tristen; great-grandchild Alycia; brother-in-laws Robert Edwards of Florida and William (Marlene) Edwards of Durham, NC; and countless cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Sonny was also a surrogate father to cousins Bruce, Paul and Jeff Ware of Sterling, Va; Tyrabia Parker (Jamal, Tanijah, Sean); Tierra Mann (Daneya, Jerimiah); Osha Edwards (Issac); Shadea Mann (Aniyah); and Bianca Mann.

A Memorial Service with a Jazz performance by The Saints of Swing featuring the incomparable vocal stylist Ms. Lillie Bryant-Howard will be held on Saturday, October 10, 2009 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Exempt Firemen’s Association, 200 Mansion Street, Poughkeepsie, NY. Reverend Nelson McAllister presiding. Contact 845-750-1073.

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