Erline Youngblood, a longtime member of the Dining Services staff who reportedly was Skidmore’s first female cook, died May 16, 2013, at Saratoga Hospital. She was 77.
Born Dec. 12, 1935, in Manning, S.C., Erline grew up there and in Florida, where she met her husband of 41 years, Lawrence Youngblood Sr. The couple moved to Saratoga Springs in 1954. She worked at Saratoga Hospital for eight years and then joined the Skidmore staff in 1968. She started as a third cook, became a second cook, and was promoted to first cook, the title she held at the time of her retirement in 1997.
Not only did her husband work in Dining Services for many years, but daughter-in-law Debi is with the Skidmore Shop and former daughter-in-law Karen Garnsey works in Advancement Services.
Two former co-workers, Tom Bayer and Marlene Williams, remembered Erline with affection. Said Bayer, “Erline was outspoken. If you needed a fire lit under you, she could do it.” Williams recalled, “Erline always looked immaculate. Even though she worked in a kitchen, she looked great.”
Both remembered her generosity. “On the old campus, the staff had to eat before the dining hall opened for students,” explained Bayer, and Williams continued, “Erline would always take care of us and made sure we ate before the doors opened. She loved the students and wanted to be sure that everything was in place and ready for them. She wanted everything to be perfect for the students, and she didn’t want to make them wait.”
Williams said it was not unusual for alumni who returned to campus for reunions to visit the dining hall and ask about Erline and Larry.
Bayer said he thinks that Erline’s recipe for fried chicken is the same one used at Hattie’s Chicken Shack in downtown Saratoga. “It was delicious,” he declared. “While working with Erline and Larry, I ate food that I never thought I would try. They had a Southern touch. They were such good cooks.”
Erline was a member of the Universal Baptist Church and the Frederick Allen Elks Lodge No. 609. She enjoyed bowling, the racetrack, the New York Knicks, and the New York Mets.
In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by Larry, who died in 1997; by brothers Archie Jr. and Harrison Brunson; and by sister Ruth Oliver. Survivors include sons Lawrence Jr. (Debi) and Steven (Nipsey) of Saratoga Springs, and Warren (Tracy) of Schenectady; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; sister Lillian Williams of Plant City, Fla.; sister-in-law Ella Mae McGlown of Michigan; and many nieces and nephews.