Dave Gould, the volunteer historian for the Alco Historical and Technical Society and one of the individuals most responsible for the formation of the Alco Heritage Museum, died early Friday morning at his home in Rotterdam. He was 75.
A native of Eden, just south of Buffalo, Gould had worked as a conductor for Conrail and Amtrak after retiring from a 23-year career with the New York State Museum. He had lived in Rotterdam since 1971.
“It’s rare to meet someone as kind as they are intelligent, and Dave was certainly that person,” said Mary Zawacki, curator at the Schenectady County Historical Society. “I don’t know that I knew him that well, but I liked him enormously and I would always look forward to seeing him at programs and events. He was such a pleasant guy to talk to, and he was very happy to share all his knowledge.”
Gould was one of the original members of the Alco Historical and Technical Society in 2009. The group opened its first museum at its Maxon Road site in Schenectady in 2012, and then moved to Amsterdam where it rented exhibit space from the Walter Elwood Museum in 2014.
“He was quite a smart and intellectual fellow, and very well read when it came to Alco and trains,” said Ann Peconie, executive director of the Elwood Museum. “He was quiet and extremely sweet and he contributed greatly to their museum. Whenever I asked a question of them and they didn’t know the answer, they would say, ‘ask Dave.’ It’s very sad.”
Matt Giardino, president of the Alco Historical and Technical Society, said Gould was the kind of person who will be hard to replace.
“Dave was always a professional, and we’re going to struggle without him,” said Giardino. “He had a great knowledge of the early railroad. His specialty was the period between the middle 1800s to the turn of the century, but he knew about all aspects of the railroad. Trains were more than just a hobby for him. They were part of his life, and he’s the guy that gave our organization some legitimacy just with his involvement. He was a really good guy.”
Gould got his four-year degree from Buffalo State and then went to graduate school at the University at Albany where he got a master’s in history. Survivors include his wife, Betsy, and two sons, Erik and Mark. Funeral services will be private, and a memorial service will be held later this year.
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]