AMSTERDAM -- Robert Neil Going loved history, especially when it pertained to World War II and Montgomery County.
A Troy native who moved to Amsterdam as a young boy, Going died Wednesday at Albany Medical Center following a stroke on Feb. 2. He was 67. A Bishop Scully High School graduate who went on to the University at Albany and Albany Law School, Going was a former assistant district attorney for Montgomery County, as well as a City Court and Family Court judge.
"He was very personable, extremely intelligent, and he was the best storyteller ever," said Ann Peconie, executive director of the Walter Elwood Museum in Amsterdam, where Going had been serving as chairman of the board for two years. "He was so welcoming and accessible, a very fun and entertaining guy."
Going wrote two books on Amsterdam's history: "Honor Roll: The World War II Dead of Amsterdam, N.Y.," and, "Where Do We Find Such Men." Michael Cinquanti, another Amsterdam historian with two books to his credit, said Going was the man he contacted when he had a question that could not be answered.
"Our paths crossed because of our interest in local history, and he was the guy who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the city of Amsterdam," Cinquanti said of Going. "He was my go-to guy. He would know who the mayor was during a particular time period, and he would also know who ran for alderman and the many people who have represented different wards in the city. He knew all about our city government and its system."
Cinquanti said Going's two books on World War II and how it affected Amsterdam residents were must-reads for lovers of local history.
"He talked to so many families and people about their loved ones and the contribution they made during the war," said Cinquanti. "It really was a wonderful book about veterans. It touched a lot of people, and I don't think there are too many cities the size of Amsterdam that had a source available to them like Bob. He was amazing."
Along with serving as an assistant DA, Going was chairman of the City of Amsterdam Charter Revision Committee, Amsterdam City Court judge, Montgomery County Family Court judge and Amsterdam corporation counsel. Going also won election as a delegate to the 1980 Republican Convention in support of Ronald Reagan.
"He was a devout Catholic and very proud of his Irish heritage," said former WGY Radio personality Bob Cudmore, who writes a weekly history column on Montgomery County for The Daily Gazette. "He was very colorful and also had a radio show on WCSS for a while. Bob also enjoyed the theater very much and did a few things with the Galway Players."
Going and his wife, Mary, moved to Albany two years ago to be closer to family members there, but he hadn't severed any of his Amsterdam connections. His involvement with the Walter Elwood Museum dates to before the flooding associated with Hurricane Irene in 2011. At the time, the museum had been at Guy Park Manor along on the Mohawk River. Because of flood damage, the Elwood moved to 100 Church St. in Amsterdam.
"We were at Guy Park Manor when he joined the board, and I think I was a bit traumatized after the flooding," said Peconie. "But I will always remember the support Bob and Mary gave me. The day after the flood, he took me across the river because we wanted to see the view from the other side. We ended up walking down this little path between the tracks and the river. He was such a kindhearted person. It was all very helpful to me."
"He was a very special kind of person -- very intelligent -- and he had a lot of impact on people's lives," said Cinquanti."
Going and Mary were wed in 1978. They had two sons and two daughters.
A wake was held Friday night at the Jendrzejczak Funeral Home in Amsterdam, and a funeral Mass will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church, 607 Central Avenue, Albany. Memorial contributions may be made to the Walter Elwood Museum.