Hoosick Township Historical Society

I. Burke Surdam 1885 - 1963


I Burke Surdam was a local banker in Hoosick Falls for 62 years. He was an active member of the local community. Mr. Surdam was born in Hoosick Falls on August 12, 1885, son of I. Burke Surdam, Sr. and Anna (Phillips)Surdam.

He started his banking career as clerk in 1901, even before he graduated from Hoosick Falls High School in 1903. Mr. Surdam rose from clerk to President of the Peoples National Bank in 1927. In 1931, this bank merged with the First National Bank and became known as Peoples-First National Bank. Mr. Surdam was unanimously chosen as president of the new bank. Since 1955 he had served as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Hoosick Falls Office of the National Commercial Bank and Trust Company and as a director of the Albany Bank

I. Burke Surdam was a civic leader and served in many capacities in the area. Locally he was especially active in the Cheney Library He served as trustee, treasurer, vice president, and for many years as president. His generous financial support and leadership was responsible for the public library becoming a fine local institution.

He was a director, treasurer, and vice president of the Permanent Savings and Loan Association, a trustee of Samaritan Hospital in Troy, president of the board of trustees of the Hoosick Falls Health Center, different offices in the Cemetery Association and a member of the Van Rensselaer Lodge F. & A.M. Mr. Surdam was active in the Methodist Church where he taught Sunday School and was a member of the consistory.

Mr. Surdam was very active at Green Mountain College (formerly Green Mountain Junior College) in Poultney, Vermont. He became a trustee of the college in 1939 and served as trustee president from 1943 to 1958. In 1959 the new library was named after him and in 1962 a room in the infirmary was also name after Mr. Surdam. His leadership and philanthropy to the college help it develop into an outstanding educational institution.

Mr. Surdam married the former Lemoyne McClellan at Eagle Bridge on October 26, 1910. They had three children. His son Robert graduated from Williams College and went on to become well known in the financial community. His two daughters, Jean and Barbara married and moved to Hancock, MA and Eagle Mills, New York.

His health began to fail and on March 7, 1963 he died at the Mary McClellan Hospital. Mr I. Burke Surdam was an important leader in the local community.