Surrounded by loving family, in his own home in Alfred, the long full life of William Richard MacCrea came quietly to a close on Saturday (Oct. 19, 2019).
Born William Richard Hansen on Aug. 24, 1932, the only child of Norman and Juanita (Hoffman) Hansen, in Niagara Falls, Scotty (a nickname he earned as ship’s bagpiper while in the US Navy, and which followed him through his life) chose to legally take his ancestral family name of MacCrea when he came of age. This choice exemplified his deep respect for his great grandmother, Alice (McRae) Miller, who took on much of his upbringing and instilled in him a passion and deep connection with his Scottish Highland heritage and ethos. This extended to learning and conversing in, at every opportunity, the Scottish Gaelic language and becoming a hereditary leader in the Celtic Christian faith.
Scotty first saw Alfred at the age of 11, when in 1944 his great grandmother purchased a rundown farm on Waterwells Rd outside the village, as a place to retire to, bringing her young great grandson into yet another of his life’s passions. Restoring the neglected home and farm, he began creating a lovely place which was to play host to hundreds of interesting, creative and like-minded friends, relatives, visitors and total strangers over the next 7 decades.
After graduating high school and 4 years of service in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict , as radarman aboard the U.S.S. Albert T Harris- a Destroyer escort and Anti-Submarine vessel, Scotty returned to civilian life.
In 1955 he married the love of his life- Dolores Jean Zimmerman (“Dee” to locals), sister of Navy shipmate and lifelong friend Roy Zimmerman, and brought his young bride home to Locustbrae, the farm name and began a family. Three sons were born to the couple: Rory Donn (1956), Kevin Michael (1957) and Fion Lonn (1960), who lived for only a few hours.
Meanwhile Scotty pursued his education, first at NYS College of Ceramics at Alfred University as a student of Industrial Ceramic Design (BFA 1958), and later from Alfred University, his Masters Degree in Education (1971). After many interesting offers, he and Dee chose to remain in their beloved rural home, and Scotty took a position teaching Art at nearby Andover Central School, where he taught for 31 years. For the last 17 of those years, he added a program in Humanities for 12th grade students, receiving recognition for this curriculum from the state Education Dept., and the honor and gratitude of hundreds of students who often site his influence, encouragement and genuine love for them as having set them on their life’s path.
Retiring from teaching in 1988, Scotty began building his dream home for himself and Dolores, a lovingly crafted stone structure in the style of the classic Scottish crofter’s house. The “wee house” stands just east of the main farmhouse (the “big house”) on the Locustbrae farm acreage. Given the name “Kilbrannan”, it became the final home for Dee, who passed away in 2008, and Scotty, whose life continued for another 11 years.
Scotty and Dee loved to travel, especially to Scotland, taking one or two of their five grandsons with them on most of their ventures.
Serving his local community as Village and Town Judge for 18 years, Scotty conducted a dignified and fair court, where his innate sense of justice had a lasting effect on many fellow legal professionals as well as those “on the other side of the bench”.
Scotty’s own artistic practice found expression in countless hand carved wooden artworks, illustrations and block prints, painting and restoration work in religious art and iconography, as well as copious writings in his lovely calligraphy with detailed illuminated borders. Along with much ecclesiastical writing, often unpublished, Scotty did publish a lengthy novel entitled “Now That We Have Met”, based on a family driven from their native Scottish Highlands during the infamous 1740’s “Clearances”. It is a story of perseverance, hope, deep connections and HOME.
Scotty is survived by his sons Rory (Debra) MacCrea and Kevin MacCrea both of Alfred; 5 grandsons,Fion Lonn (Kimberly Ringer) MacCrea, Colin Michael MacCrea, Alexander Robert (Shanley Keenan) MacCrea, Lee Alan (Brittany Vogel) MacCrea, and Duncan John (Stephanie Potwin) MacCrea; 8 great grandchildren, Taegen Elizabeth, Ronan Michael, Annika Lonn, Klara Cathleen, Alanna Dee, Conall Patrick, Killean Don and Heidi Bree; and many honored friends who by a Gaelic expression “derbhfine” consider themselves extended family and part of the MacCrea clan. He will be honored and much missed by many!
Visitation will be held on Saturday (Nov. 2) from 11-2 at Baker-Swan Funeral Home, 3256 Riverside Drive in Wellsville. A memorial service will be held after the visitation at 2:30 p.m. at the funeral home with David Decker, Ceile De of the Celtic Christian Faith, officiating. A private burial will take place at Locustbrae Cemetery on the family homestead.
Memorial contributions in Scotty’s name may be made to A. E. Crandall Hook & Ladder, 4 Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802.