ESSEX — The last time Sid Couchey celebrated with a big crowd here, he and his wife, Ruth, were marking 50 years of marriage, his 90th birthday and her 80th.
This time, his family and many friends will bid him farewell. A memorial service for Sid, who died March 11 in Inman, S.C., is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Essex Community Church.
Sid, who for many years was a cartoonist for Harvey Comics, brought to life such characters as Richie Rich, Little Lotta and Little Dot. An iconic and much loved figure in the North Country, he was known locally for his fanciful works of Lake Champlain monster, Champy, illustrations for books and comic books of regional interest and other art. Friends and even strangers were often gifted sketches and paintings he created for them as gestures of thanks for myriad reasons. He flavored many works with his ever-present humor, a quality that won him many friends.
One of the highlights of Sid’s life was throwing out the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game in Montreal, when his beloved Cleveland Indians were playing the Expos. Later, he had himself inducted into the “First Pitch Hall of Fame,” which he created himself in the Essex hamlet of Whallonsburg with several dignitaries looking on.
Most recently, Sid collaborated with his daughter, Laura Abate, on a children’s book written — and illustrated — to encourage a recognition and appreciation of art, “Monster by the Masters! A Cartoonist’s Introduction to Great Art.”
The Coucheys were wintering at the home of their son, Brian, and his wife, Suze, when Sid learned he had Burkitt’s lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer. He died 11 days later.
A funeral service took place at Boiling Springs First Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, S.C., but the family knew the North Country would want an opportunity to celebrate his life, too.
Sid spoke of his friends back home often during his last days, Laura said this week. Some were able to travel to visit him in South Carolina, and he received more than 100 cards expressing concern and love.
Sid is also survived by Brian and Suze’s five children; Laura’s husband, Tony, and their two children.
The family asks that those who wish to offer gifts in his memory give donations to Essex Community Church, P.O. Box 125, or the Adirondack Art Association, P.O. Box 51, both at Essex, NY 12936.
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