Garner Funeral Service

10 Lawrence Ave, Potsdam, NY


Alfred H. Rollins

June 23, 1949December 9, 2019

Alfred H. (Fred) Rollins, 70, of Potsdam, NY, passed away early Monday morning, December 9, 2019, at Canton-Potsdam Hospital. He was born in Potsdam on June 23, 1949, son of the late John P. and Ottilie Hirt Rollins. Fred is survived by a brother Chris Rollins and sister in law Kathy Rollins, both of Upper Marlboro, MD, niece and nephew Caitlin and Mark Rollins, and cousins Mary and Robert Jones.

Following early education at the Congdon Campus School and Potsdam Junior High School, Fred attended high school at The Putney School in Putney, VT. He received his undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY and pursued graduate studies at University of Chicago, Clark University, and was trained in Museum Studies at Cooperstown.

Fred began his professional career in 1975 as an Associate Curator of History at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, NY. In 1983, he became Director of the Wayne County Historical Society in Lyons, NY and in 1994 became Executive Director of the Jefferson County Historical Society in Watertown, NY, from which he retired in 2005. Not content to remain idle, Fred accepted a position as a Library Aide at the Potsdam Library in 2008. In 2010, he became a Museum Aide for Library and Archives at the Potsdam Public Museum. After leaving the latter post for health reasons in 2016, Fred continued to support the museum including as President of the Friends of the Potsdam Museum. Fred was an avid historian, researcher, and collector, with active interests in stamps, coins, postcards and photographs. His collections have formed the basis for a number of public presentations of local historical interest.

A memorial service for Fred is being planned for the Spring of 2020. Announcement of that event will be made separately. Online rememberances may be posted at www.garnerfh.com. Donations in Fred’s honor may be made at any time to the Friends of the Potsdam Museum, P. O. Box 161, Potsdam, NY 13676.


  • Potsdam Public Library


Alfred H. Rollins

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jan Guldbeck

December 20, 2019

I first met Fred in 1980 when I started working at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. It turned out that he shared the birthday of my daughter, Eleanor (then aged 6). Ever since that time, we have tried to spend that day together. Of course, my daughter grew up and moved on. But, no matter where Fred was living, he tried to make it back to the Rochester area to celebrate his birthday. The last time he made it back to the area was this summer. We had a lovely birthday dinner as the guests of Karl Kabelac, a Cooperstown Museum Studies alumni (as Fred and I were). Nancy Rosenberg and Tom Tosti were also guests. As usual, we had a wonderful time reminiscing... Fred was always optimistic and cheerful despite his declining health. I will miss him so, so much, particularly on June 23.

Mickey Champagne

December 18, 2019

Fred was kind, he was funny, he was great to work with. I really appreciated his passion for finding "the rest of the story", and getting the details accurate. He will be missed

Tom Dashnaw

December 17, 2019

You were like a brother to me...may you rest in peace.

Pat Dominie

December 12, 2019

Everyone from the North Country who shared Fred’s love for history will miss him greatly.

Edward Boyd

December 12, 2019

Fred, a courageous man, a good man, a dedicated historian ----- thank you for all of that!

Ed and Roxy Boyd

Joanne Swift

December 12, 2019

I got to know Fred while I worked with him at the Potsdam Public Museum. His smile and sense of humor were infectious. He was a kind and gentle man, and will be missed. Our sympathies to the family. May you be comforted and know that he's at peace. - Joanne &Bill Swift