Hilda S. CretserHilda S. Cretser, of 5739 Rumsey Rd., Trumansburg, passed away at Cayuga Ridge on Sunday, January 3, 2010 at the age of 96. Born on her family's farm in Trumansburg on October 18, 1913, Hilda was the daughter of the late Ward and Harriet (Spalding) Robertson.

It wasn't until later in life that she started talking about her adventures as a young girl. Sneaking down to the Ithaca Municipal airport with her girl friends and getting a local pilot to give them rides in an open cockpit Biplane ("Don't tell Mother, she'd say.).  In the thirties, she traveled to the west coast in the '28 Dodge touring car with her mother and two of her mother's friends, stopping at every historical marker along the way.  A few years later she drove herself, along with her friends, to California, stopping in Juarez, Mexico along the way back.  She dreamed of becoming a beautician and went to school for that.  In her twenties, she was swept off her feet by a popular, handsome young man named Donald Cretser, who drove a nice car ( terrifyingly fast), could make her laugh, and wasn't intimidated by her mother.

Since 1945, Hilda took great pride in watching her family grow on Hildon Farms, where she and her husband Don made a home together and raised their 2 sons.  She made the work of raising of her "boys" the main focus of her life for many years, making sure they trekked every State Park in the area and went to church in their formative years.  Early on she could be seen out in the fields with her husband, wearing pants and driving tractor, while he worked the hay baler behind her.  She hated wearing those pants, and when other help began working on the farm, she went back to wearing skirts, as a proper lady should. She continued to work hard, running the household and keeping everybody fed that came to work on the farm, especially during the kidney bean harvest, where there could be six or eight hungry men in the kitchen to feed, and two pesky kids to watch out for. Running the household was not easy, back in the era of a wood cookstove, wringer washers and hanging clothes in the attic to dry in the winter.  She did all this, while processing all the eggs that came in from a flock of several thousand chickens, cleaning, sorting, and packing them for shipment to New York.  She ran a nice little business on the side, selling cracked eggs, and people came from miles around to get her fresh, large brown eggs at 25 cents a dozen.  And she made the best apple pie and chocolate cake.

Her innate love for animals flourished as the children and grandchildren shared in the joys of farm life. She was especially fond of her loyal Pomeranians.  Considering others needs ahead of hers, Hilda often mended clothing for family members and with skilled hands crocheted and created beautiful hook rugs and rag carpets. She made many trips to the elderly women living alone in the area to give of herself some time and a tray of cookies.  In the years preceding her husband's death, she was a large part of the team of individuals that cared for him as his health declined, and was at his bedside at home when he died.  This was a task she had never prepared herself for, and never fully recovered from.

She remained on the Farm quietly for another ten years with the assistance of her 2 sons, gracious friends and neighbors, the angelic Health Care Aides of Schuyler County, and the T-burg Fire and EMS people.  She loved her home; the farm was worked by a good neighbor, Ken Burr, and she always liked to point out the good crops growing on her farm.

Hilda was a member of the Church of the Epiphany and the Ulysses Historical Society, gladly devoting time and energy for the benefit of others. In addition to her parents, Hilda was preceded in death by her husband C. Donald Cretser on October 21, 1995. She is survived by two sons, David (Audrey) Cretser of Trumansburg and Richard (Beverly Snow) Cretser of Trumansburg; two granddaughters, Christine and Sara; and several nieces and nephews. The family will be present to receive friends from 10:00 to 11:00am on Thursday, January 7, 2010 at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg. Funeral Services will begin at 11:00 am on January 7, 2010 at the funeral home with Father John L. Wolff officiating. Prayers of Committal will follow at Jones Cemetery in Trumansburg. The family asks those who wish to make a contribution in Hilda's memory to kindly consider the Trumansburg Volunteer Fire Co., EMS, PO Box 418, Trumansburg, NY 14886 or a nursing home of the donor's choice.