Katherine Helen Loetterle

Katherine Helen Loetterle

Katherine Helen Loetterle

WESTERLO — Katherine Helen (née Salisbury) Loetterle was a charismatic woman who put her energies into tasks as diverse as feeding her farm family, directing airport travelers, and modeling clothes for senior fashion shows.

She died on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. She was 95.

“She could be very charismatic and also very stubborn,” said her grandson, Richard Loetterle Jr. “She always told my dad and I we were too stubborn to get out of the way. She said it came from the German side of the family, my dad’s side. But I came to see I got it from her.”

Mr. Loetterle concluded, “She was a very particular woman.”

She was born on April 24, 1924 to the late Eugene and Emma Van Dyke Salisbury and raised in Albany and Colonie. Her father worked for the Tobin meat-packing company and her family was “pretty poor,” said her grandson. She was raised during the Great Depression.

A religious woman, Mrs. Loetterle would read from the Bible regularly, especially in her later years, said her grandson. She was a former member of St. John’s Lutheran Church of Albany and a member of the Westerlo Reformed Church.

For many years, she worked at Balsam Shade in South Westerlo and also as a waitress at Mountain Brauhaus in Round Top. She met her husband, William Loetterle, while waitressing at the Wheel Inn.

“My family’s farm was right up the road from the Wheel Inn. My great-grandfather frequented it and so did my grandfather. That’s where they met … They went on a date and it went from there,” said Richard Loetterle Jr.

Together, along with their children, they worked many years on the Loetterle Family Farm in Westerlo. In its heyday, in the 1940s and ’50s, the Loetterles’ dairy farm was one of the biggest producers for Crowley, said Mr. Loetterle.

Mrs. Loetterle would cook not just for her family but for the hired help that lived on the farm, her grandson said. She was a good cook, he said, and, in her later years, she enjoyed cooking for her grandchildren.

She made a lot of German food to please her husband, including sauerbraten, potato dumplings, and sauerkraut.

On Christmas Eve, she’d make manicotti. “Christmas Eve was a big time in my dad’s family,” said Richard Loetterle. “They’d go to church and then come home and open presents. On Christmas Day, they worked on the farm just like any other day.”

Farm work took precedence in the family. “When they lost power in a snowstorm, they’d milk all the cows by hand and get the milk in the cans,” said Mr. Loetterle.

Mrs. Loetterle was very active as a volunteer. She volunteered for Senior Services of Albany for more than 20 years, working in a thrift store on Washington Avenue in Albany. 

She was a fashionable woman herself, and modeled for Senior Services at an off-track betting venue. “She dressed to the nines when she went out,” said her grandson. “We just went through her things — she had so many clothes, so many shoes, so many pocketbooks.”

Mrs. Loetterle also volunteered as an Ambassador at Albany International Airport for over 14 years. “She would wear a red blazer and direct people in the terminal,” said her son. “She got to meet famous people — sports teams and politicians,” he said. Mrs. Loetterle got autographs from some of them and had her picture taken with others, he said.

“She was good to her grandchildren,” said Richard Loetterle Jr., himself included, and would spoil them with her cooking and other treats. He remembers picnics with her, and also said she was “big into garage sale-ing.”

Mrs. Loetterle enjoyed cruises and senior trips to many places. She was a member of the Eastern Star, and of the Berne, Rensselaerville, and Greenville seniors groups.

She would often spend winter months in Florida, staying with friends.

“She knew how to enjoy life,” her grandson concluded.

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Katherine Helen (née Salisbury) Loetterle is survived by her son, Richard Loetterle, and his wife, Anne; by her daughter in-law, Susanne Loetterle; by her grandchildren, William E. Loetterle IV, Jonathan Loetterle, Monique Haller and her husband, William, Valerie Cesare and her husband, Frank, and Richard Loetterle Jr.; by her great-grandchildren, Allison Haller, Ryan Haller, Ayden Loetterle, and Laiyla Loetterle; and by several nieces and nephews.

Her husband, William E. Loetterle Jr., died before her, as did her son, William E. Loetterle III, and her sisters, Millie Oliver, Margaret Sager, Marie Sager, Emma Martinese.

Calling hours will be held on Monday, Feb. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home at 4898 Route 81 in Greenville with a funeral service at 7 p.m. She will then be privately cremated.  Burial of her ashes will be at the Rensselaerville Cemetery on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Berne Senior Center, 1656 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023.

“Katherine and her family would like to give a special thanks to June Sherman for all the special care given by her the last few years,” her family wrote in a tribute.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

 

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