Sharry Whitney will always remember Richard Enders, who lives in Clinton, walking through muddy cow pastures in his legal clothes while filming the TV show “Mohawk Valley Living”.
Enders, 79, who passed away Thursday, hosted Mohawk Valley Living, which Whitney and her husband Lance have produced as a weekly program on WKTV since 2005 and more recently as a monthly program.
Enders was also known as a lawyer in the area, serving as District Attorney for Oneida County from 1971 to 1981, and starring Players of Uticas “Scrooge, The Musical” for 28 years.
As the host of Mohawk Valley Living, Enders always wore khakis and a blue shirt, a uniform for “everyone” suggested by Whitney’s husband. But he didn’t need her, she said.
“I don’t think it was really necessary,” she said, “because it was real. Everything he said was real. People got that. People have been telling us that all along. “
And that authenticity included his love for the Mohawk Valley, she said.
“He didn’t act,” said Whitney. “Even though he was an actor, his love for the area was real.”
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Enders was happiest, Whitney said when filming took her to East Utica, Sharon Springs, or somewhere where he was put on a horse, racing car, or farm tractor.
“He always said that if he could do it again,” she recalled, “he would be a farmer and not a lawyer.”
“Most of all he loved his family”
Peter Loftus, Enders ‘director on “Scrooge” and a number of other plays, also spoke about Enders’ authenticity.
“He loved life,” he said. “He and I, we went to England. We traveled to Ireland where my grandmother was born. . . He was just a great person. Loved to laugh. Loved enjoying life. And most of all, he loved his family. His family was the most important thing in his life, especially Eileen, his wife. “
Loftus was only in his twenties when Enders first auditioned, and Enders was really nervous, Loftus said. But he discovered the mistake.
“He just fell in love with her,” Loftus said. “You could tell in what minute he did the first show.”
Enders wrote and eventually performed his own one-man shows in the area.
“He wrote a thing called ‘Sketches (by) Boz,'” said Loftus. “It was a solo show about the life of Charles Dickens. He actually had it arranged in New York City. It was quite an exciting thing. We did it at the Irish Arts Theater, I think it was called. “
The play even appeared on the New York Times’ list of off-Broadway theatrical performances, he said.
Lynne Mishalanie knew Enders through acting and working with Utica Monday Nites, which Mishalanie founded and directed for 15 years. She described him as a “cute guy” who was very intelligent, loved the local area, and was committed to the community.
“He was eager and easy-going,” she said. “Most of the time, when you’ve asked him to do a favor, he’s been there.”
And so Enders played Charles Dickens for a Utica Monday Nite event at Union Station.
The Whitneys first met Enders when he was their attorney for the closure of their Clinton home, Sharry Whitney said. After the shutdown was over, he gave them back $ 100 of their fee and told them to go partying, she recalled.
“He always joked that the only part he wasn’t in was the first half of Scrooge,” said Whitney, “which was funny because everyone knows he’s a cute person.”
“He totally put himself into the role”
What made him such a successful Scrooge?
“He loved the character,” Loftus said. “It’s a great ensemble piece. It was a cast of about 200 people. And he interacted wonderfully with the cast. He totally put himself into the role.
“It was wonderful. He was just a great friend and he loved it. You could see that the moment he did it, he was in his glory.”
Now Loftus will perform himself and sing at Enders’ funeral, a gift that will “tear his heart out,” he said, remembering his friend, a kind soul, “who would always do something for someone if he could . “
“And he will be missed very much, for sure,” he said.
He is survived by his wife Eileen; Son of John of Clinton; Daughter Susan Finkst of Little Falls; Daughter Jennifer Walker of Clinton; Daughter Kathleen Berg of Clinton; their spouse and fiancé; seven grandchildren and one great-grandson.
A funeral mass will take place on Monday, April 19, at 4 p.m. in the historic Old St. John’s Church in Utica. The office hours are from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The rules for wearing masks, social distancing and capacity limits are followed.
A celebration of the life of Enders is planned for the future.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Central Association for the Blind, 507 Kent St., Utica, NY 13501. or to the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Massachusetts, Augen und Ohr, 20 Staniford St., Boston, MA 02114.