On Friday January 25, 2019, Ethel LaForge passed away peacefully at her home, at the age of 99. Born on Staten Island, NY on October 18, 1919, she was the daughter of Tom and Constance (Tellefsen) Syvertsen who had both immigrated from Norway a few years earlier.
Ethel graduated from Port Richmond High School in 1937 and shortly after, with her two cousins Anne and Frieda, took a trip by train across the country. They spent a month visiting family, exploring and even rode a mule into the Grand Canyon. Upon her return she went to work as a comptometer operator in Manhattan, riding the Staten Island Ferry back and forth each day. She would later work at Bunge Fuel Oils and the New York City Housing Department.
In 1942 Ethel again ventured across country by train, this time to marry her love, James F. LaForge who was in the army and stationed in California. After the war, they settled in Staten Island and raised their family. In 2002, they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary shortly before Jim’s passing.
Ethel enjoyed reading, sewing and playing cards. She was a long-time member of Sons of Norway’s Nansen Lodge and Zion Lutheran Church on Staten Island. In the late 1970’s after their retirement, Ethel and Jim moved to their shore home in Island Heights, New Jersey. Many wonderful years were spent there, enjoying the company of great friends and family gatherings. She was a member of the Island Heights Methodist Church and the Garden Club.
In 2005, Ethel moved to Saratoga Springs to be closer to family. She enjoyed walking downtown, attending movies at the Arts Council and going to the Saratoga Springs Senior Center for various activities.
Besides her parents, Ethel was predeceased by her husband James, her son David James a firefighter who died on 9/11 and two siblings Doris Meyer and Thomas Syvertsen.
Ethel is survived by her daughter Jane, with whom she lived and her grandson Michael Schwerd, his wife Bridgette and children Brooke and Mike, her grandson Rick Schwerd, his wife Jessica and their children, Ted, Kevin, Anna and Nora and her granddaughter Meghan Dudley, and her son Liam. She is also survived by her sister Alice Molokie, a niece Kathy Molokie and a nephew Dr. Robert Molokie and numerous cousins, grand nieces, nephew and our special family, the firefighters of Ladder 20 in Manhattan.
Ethel’s family would like to send special thanks to her wonderful caregivers, Carol, Lori, Sheila, Charlotte, Elexia, Nancy, Renee and Shirley. Thanks also to Caroline, Karen and Theresa of Saratoga Hospice and Rev. Janet Vincent of the Bacon Hill Reformed Church. All of you enriched Mom’s life and your compassionate care enabled us to keep her home.
Friends and family are invited to attend a service for Ethel at the Bacon Hill Reformed Church, 560 Rt. 32N, Schuylerville, NY 12871 at 2 PM on Monday, February 4, 2019 and to join us after for refreshments and reminiscing.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Community Hospice 179 Lawrence St. Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, the Bacon Hill Reformed Church or a charity of your choice.