Obituary of Kenneth O. Sisson
Kenneth "Ken" Olin Sisson
Greece - Kenneth "Ken" Olin Sisson, longtime basketball coach, died peacefully in his sleep in Rochester, NY on October 23 surrounded by family. He was 87. Coach Sisson is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Jerry Sisson (Brandenburg), daughters Kimberly (Donald) Conklin, Kerry (Michael) Palombo, son Kenneth Sisson II, and step-daughter Deborah (Dominic) Mammoliti, step-son Doug (Julie) Thurley, brothers in-law John (Sarah), Thomas (Glenna), and Michael Brandenburg, sisters in-law Mary Helen Thomas, Nancy B Whitley, Judith Russell, Jean Titus, and Diane Laitenburger. He is also survived by 10 grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. "Coach" Sisson was predeceased by father Olin, mother Phebe Mace Sisson, and his wife of 28 years, Nancy Whitley Sisson.
Born in New Salem, NY on February 17, 1931, he was a graduate of Voorheesville, NY High School. Ken's coaching career spanned four decades in three states and began as a high school coach in Hulbert, Michigan located in the Upper Peninsula. He returned to New York State to coach high school in Belleville, New York. In 1963 he became the head basketball coach at East Stroudsburg State College (now East Stroudsburg University) in Pennsylvania. His 19-year tenure at East Stroudsburg included three successive seasons of 20+ wins, and tournaments and exhibition games in Florida, England, and Venezuela. While at East Stroudsburg, he founded the Pocono Classic, one of the nation's first basketball tournaments. His wife at the time, Nancy, accompanied him to many games as the team's official statistician. Ken served as assistant basketball coach at Lafayette College in 1983 and became the Athletic Director and head basketball coach at Roberts Wesleyan College (Rochester, NY) in 1984. At Roberts Wesleyan he oversaw the opening of the Life (Vollmer) Fitness Center. He retired from coaching in 1995.
Coach Sisson received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Ithaca College and a Doctorate of Education from the University of West Virginia. In 1992, he received a Meritorious Service Award from the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). He was named the Rochester Area College Athletics (RACA) Coach of the Year in 1994 after leading his Roberts team to a 22-win season. In 2004, Coach Sisson was inducted into the East Stroudsburg University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Along with his wife Jerry, Ken was a very dedicated member of the Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Greece, NY. As an active parishioner he spear-headed the concept and assisted with the design of a new gymnasium during the church's building project. Ken was an avid fan of the Yankees and Buffalo Bills.
Ken's family would like to thank the staff at Unity Hospital for their loving care and support.
Friends may attend a Memorial Service at 11:00am Saturday, October 27, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 411 Dewey Ave., Rochester. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Aldersgate United Methodist Church in his memory.
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