MALONE — Ralph Kriff, prominent Malone businessman, died Wednesday morning, Dec. 26, at Alice Hyde Nursing Home, of complications due to Alzheimer's disease.
He was born in Carthage, N.Y. in 1923, the son of Isadore and Ida Slavin Kriff. The family moved to Malone just before Ralph's senior year in high school and he graduated Franklin Academy in 1941. After high school he attended the Adirondack School of Commerce in Malone and became a certified junior accountant. He was drafted in 1943 and served in the infantry in WWII, mostly in Europe - Holland, Germany and Belgium, where he saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. Coming back home following the war, he married Gertrude (Trudy) Yanowitz in 1947. They settled in Malone and Ralph went to work with his father in the appliance business.
From gas and appliances, Ralph and his father moved on to second-hand furniture, and then, new furniture. In 1954 they opened the second of the 4 brownstones on West Main Street that would eventually become Kriff Furniture Store. Over the next 30 years, Ralph, his father, his brother, Herb, and his son, Larry would grow the business into 8 stores scattered across northern New York.
Ralph and Trudy had three children, Larry, Leslie and Peter. In the 70+ years he lived in Malone, Ralph was very active in the community. He was a Mason, a member of the Elks Club, the American Legion, and a charter member of the Lions Club. Ralph was a member and served as past president of Temple Beth-El and was on the board of the Malone Central School System and the Citizen's National Bank. He was also a member of the New York State Governor's Private Industry Council (PIC). Ralph enjoyed many hobbies, including gardening, skiing, golfing, and bowling, to name a few.
His sister, Felsie Jessop and brother, Herbert Kriff predeceased him. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Gertrude; his three children, (Larry and Kate Kriff of Plattsburgh, N.Y., Leslie Kriff of North Brunswick, N.J., and Peter Kriff and Robyn Warhol of Burlington, Vt.); and five grandchildren, (Ben and Meg Kriff, Rachel and Sara Denno, and Max Kriff). Funeral services will be held at St. Mary's Funeral Home on Sunday, Dec. 30, led by Rabbi Kari Tuling from Plattsburgh. Calling hours are at 10 am, followed by a funeral service at 11. Burial will be at Morningside Cemetary.