Richard D. “Dick” Elton

By on April 15, 2019

Dick Elton, former long-time resident of Brockport, has died at the age of 101 in Arizona.

Dick, with his wife Elsie, came to Brockport in the late 1940s when he accepted a position at what was then Brockport State Teachers College. Upon retiring from SUNY College at Brockport, he moved to Sun City, AZ, in 1971, where he became a vice president at Glendale Community College. He is survived by his three children, Judith Elton of Peoria, AZ, Cynthia Elton of Oro Valley, AZ, and Wallace Elton of Saratoga Springs, NY. His wife Elsie died in 2000.

Dick attended the state college in Oswego. After serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during WWII, he earned a master’s degree at Stanford University before moving to Brockport. While there, he completed his doctorate in education at the University of Buffalo.

In 1950, he started a traveling camp called Ranger Camps, one of the first of its kind. Each summer through 1966, the camp left Brockport with a group of teenage boys from the Northeast for an eight-week trip to the West Coast and back, camping in national and state parks across the country. Many of the boys had been to Europe but had not seen their own country, which Dick believed was important. Ranger Camps also offered his family an opportunity to see America. 

While at the college, Dick set up its first continuing education program, some components of which continue today. On his own time, Dick gave numerous talks about America’s national parks, most of which he had visited and that held a special place in his heart. Once in Arizona, he hiked the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail and set out to reach the highest point in each of the 48 states.

Dick was a full-body donor for the Banner Sun Health Research Institute. He loved to travel, and today various parts of his body are doing just that to help science and other individuals.

Those so inclined may honor his life by donating to the College via the Brockport Foundation (in memory of Dick Elton), College at Brockport, 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, NY 14420, or the Pacific Crest Trail Association (www.pcta.org).