Marie Clement

Marie Clement

Marie Clement

GUILDERLAND —  Marie (née Schleder) Clement provided sustenance to others — for her life’s work and for her family.

“She was always very stoic … In her actions, she showed her love for her family,” said her daughter, Anna Marie Kupinski.

Mrs. Clement kept a garden at her Guilderland home — similar in self-sufficiency to the farm her family kept in war-torn Austria when she was a child — and was eager to share the food she grew and prepared with others.

“She always wanted to make sure no one went hungry and everyone had plenty,” her daughter said.

She described her mother as “quiet and very observant … She just had a soft spot for her family. She cried when we went shopping for my wedding dress … She was loving and giving,” said Ms. Kupinski.

Mrs. Clement also had a happy side and enjoyed dancing with her brother. “When we brought her home from the hospital near the end, it was St. Patrick’s Day,” her daughter recalled. Ms. Kupinski asked her mother, who hadn’t had alcohol for 20 years because of her medications, what she’d like to drink.

“I want a beer,” Mrs. Clement responded, and then enjoyed drinking it.

She died peacefully at her Guilderland home on Sunday, March 21, 2021, with her loving husband and daughter by her side. She was 89.

Born in Troy on Feb. 2, 1932, she was the daughter of the late Bertha (née Dukowitz) and John Schlederer of Lanzeil, Austria. She was married to Warren H. Clement, and they were happily together for 51 years.

In 1922, Mrs. Clement’s parents came to the United States to seek employment. Twelve years later, when Marie was 2 years old, she and her family moved back to Austria where her parents purchased their family farm. She grew up in Austria during the second World War.

“The farm was very rural,” said her daughter. “She and her siblings literally walked to school for an hour every day.” Their family farm was self-sufficient with a smokehouse for meats and hens to lay eggs.

The war was “a challenge,” said Ms. Kupinski. John Schlederer was working in the United States, to make money for the family. “He was stuck here once the war started,” she said.

After Nazi Germany anexed Austria in 1938, Mrs. Clement’s two older brothers were conscripted into the Nazi Army. “They would have been shot right there if they didn’t join,” said Ms. Kupinski.

One of Mrs. Clement’s brothers was killed in action and the other was wounded. Because he could speak English, he was subsequently forced back into service as a translator, Ms. Kupinski said.

“The women and children went into hiding in the woods to get away from the soldiers,” said Ms. Kupinski. Food was scarce during the war and, if a farmer butchered an animal, soldiers would come to take meat, Ms. Kupinski said.

Throughout her life, Mrs. Clement was petrified of thunder and did not like fireworks. “We think it reminded her too much of the war,” her daughter said.

In 1953, Mrs. Clement returned to the United States where she lived in Troy and Albany before settling in Guilderland.

She met Warren H. Clement through her work. “Mom was managing a cafeteria and my father came on as a cook,” said Ms. Kupinski. They shared “a nice attraction” and dated for about a year and a half before marrying, she said.

Mr. Clement is a Guilderland native so the couple settled in Guilderland. They raised their only child, Anna Marie, with much love and care.

“We didn’t have a lot of money,” said Ms. Kupinski. “If there was one piece of bread in the house and you were hungry, she made sure you had it,” she said. “She always made sure I had nice clothes and a good education,” said Ms. Kupinski, who attended Catholic schools.

“She worked her whole life, retiring in her sixties,” Ms. Kupinski said.

Mrs. Clement worked in food-service for her entire career, managing cafeterias and coffee shops, and working in several area restaurants

She had a natural talent for cooking and made sure everyone got “Grandma’s Cookies” especially at Christmastime, her daughter said.

“She made everything from scratch,” said Ms. Kupinski, and her Thanksgiving dinners featured turkey with all the trimmings.

“I try to replicate her recipes and they don’t come close,” said her daughter. “If you came for dinner, there would be enough for eight other people. That came from growing up in the war and not having very much.”

While Mrs. Clement loved her daughter, she adored her grandson and then, finally, her great-grandson outshone everyone else in her eyes. “She would proudly state Teddy was her favorite,” said Ms. Kupinski.

Her entire adult life, Mrs. Clement kept a very big garden, sharing the produce with family and neighbors.

Her garden got a little smaller as she got older. Last year, when she was 88, her garden — with “corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, beans, eggplant — you name it” — was 40-by-20 feet, her daughter said.

Mrs. Clement would walk with her cane to her garden and then, once in the garden, lean on her hoe for support.

Before she died, she talked about what she would plant this spring.

 ****

Marie (née Schleder) Clement is survived by her husband, Warren; by her daughter, Anna Marie Kupinski and her husband, Mitchell; by her grandson Justin Kupinski and his wife, Alisa; by her great-grandson, Theodore; and by several nieces and nephews, as well as many close friends.

Her parents, Bertha and John, died before her, as did her sister Margaret; her brothers, John, Frank, and Edmund; and her grandson Jason Kupinski.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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