Fillmore --- Theodore L. “Ted” Hopkins, 70, retired dairy farmer and Allegany County Legislator, died peacefully in his home, Saturday, November 21, 2015. A successful dairy farmer for 40 years, he also served his community and county as Hume Township Supervisor for 24 years and as Allegany County District 1 Legislator for 10 years. Born March 20, 1945, he lived his life by the Golden Rule and was a beloved and respected member of his community.
Ted’s lifelong goal was to be a dairy farmer. Growing up in East Aurora, he traveled each summer to Fillmore to learn farming from his grandfather. In sixth grade he traveled the 55-mile trip from East Aurora to Fillmore by bicycle, with nothing more than an odometer, 5 candy bars, and a rain slicker. He made it before lunch.
As a young man, Ted enrolled in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as an Agricultural Economics major at Cornell University, where he would meet Judith Dodds Hopkins, his devoted wife and constant friend. An active member of Alpha Zeta fraternity, Ted served as House Manager for two years. By the time he graduated, Ted had purchased the Fillmore farm from his grandparents Lester and Bernice (Smith) Rees.
Ted and Judy were married in 1968 and have made their home in Fillmore for 47 years. Now in its fifth generation, Riverland Dairy Farms, Inc, has been a continuously working farm for one hundred years.
In forty years of farming, Ted received numerous dairy production awards and was selected as the 1984 Young Dairyman of the Year and the 1976 Conservation Farmer of the Year. He was a 1991 graduate of LEAD NY, the Empire State agricultural leadership institute. He served on the Board of Directors of Farm Credit of Western New York for 25 years and the Farm Service Agency for 17 years.
Son of John and Josephine [nee Rees] Hopkins of East Aurora, NY, Ted and his family attended Baker Memorial United Methodist Church. Mr. Hopkins graduated in 1963 from Iroquois Central High school, where he was Junior and Senior Class Treasurer. As a high school athlete, he earned the prestigious distinction of being an 8-Letter Varsity Sports Athlete, recognizing achievement in eight separate varsity sports teams over four years. Ted was captain of several teams, including football, basketball, and baseball. He was a fierce competitor and proud teammate, remembered with admiration by lifelong friends.
Elected to the Allegany County Legislature in 2005, Mr. Hopkins served as Majority Leader as well as Chairman and Vice Chair for several committees including Ways & Means, Planning & Economic Development, Budget, Public Safety, Public Works, Court Facilities and County Space Needs, Compensation & Benefits, Court Facilities Financial Impact, and Planning Board, where he was charged with identifying the scope and format of the County’s Comprehensive Planning Process.
Prior to election to the Allegany County Board of Legislators, Mr. Hopkins was a member of the County Agricultural & Farmland Protection and Development Advisory Boards. As Legislator, he continued to serve on the Board of Directors for the Soil & Water Conservation District Board, as a member of the Southern Tier West Regional Planning & Development Board, Allegany County Industrial Development Agency, Allegany County Industrial and Commercial Incentive Board, County Comprehensive Planning Committee, and the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Group.
Mr. Hopkins was a 2010 graduate of the NYS Dennis A. Pelletier County Government Institute, member of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) Taxation & Finance Committee, member of the NYSAC Blue Ribbon Task Force. Southern Tier West Regional Planning & Development Board presented him with the Local Government Award and the Marden B. Cobb Award, which are given for outstanding service and support in achievement of regional goals.
In the early 80’s, Mr. Hopkins was elected Town Supervisor of Hume Township, an office he served for 24 years. Under his leadership, the Town of Hume and Village of Fillmore combined and centralized services to increase efficiency and reduce government costs.
Lifelong friend William Byrnes offered the following statement to explain why Ted was so loved and respected by all: “For a fairly complex man in some ways, it was the basic things about Ted which drew others to him.
“His honesty was absolute; he did not lie, or even shade the truth. He never spoke unkindly of others, even about those with whom he disagreed. His smile was captivating and his laughter was contagious.
“No matter how bad or good one might have felt, if you were around Ted, you felt better. His work ethic was truly remarkable. If something needed doing, Ted simply did it; quietly, expertly and without fanfare.
“Ted always had time for his friends even though making his family business a success often had him working well before sun up and well after sundown. Ted made and kept so many friends over so many decades because those who knew him were made better, simply because ‘we knew him’.”
Mr. Hopkins is survived by his wife and children, Matthew D. Hopkins (Cristin Winegard), Peter A. Hopkins (Amber Belford) of Fillmore, and Patricia M. Hopkins Hutchinson (Mark Hutchinson) of Ellicottville, NY.
Mr. Hopkins was especially proud of his eight grandchildren: Hunter, Dalton, Raena, Emma, Olivia, Ashley, Petey, Christian. He is also survived by his brother J. Stephen Hopkins, (Anne M.) of Hopkinton, NY, and extended family including aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Family and friends may gather from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, November 27, 2015 at the Houghton Wesleyan Church where a memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. Rev. Dr. Wesley Oden will officiate. Burial will be in Pine Grove Cemetery, Fillmore.
Memorials if desired to: the Houghton Wesleyan Church or Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo.