Jerrine Kane Osterhout

Jerrine Kane Osterhout

On Thursday, July 14, 2016, after a brief illness, Jerrine M. Osterhout died at home surrounded by her loving family. She was 79. Mrs. Osterhout left behind four children, nine grandchildren, and a happy marriage lasting over 50 years.

“She was an independent lady, that was for sure,” said her husband, Willard J. Osterhout. He later described how her tagline for any argument was, “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” and Mr. Osterhout never did.

Mrs. Osterhout was born in Albany in 1937, the daughter of John M. Kane and Jerrine Stanbury Kane; she grew up on Oakwood Street near St. Peter’s Hospital, back when that area of the city still had open fields nearby. She went to School 19, now known as New Scotland Elementary School, in Albany, and later the Milne School, a laboratory school for the University at Albany.

She graduated in 1955, and later worked for Farm Family Insurance in Glenmont before being transferred to their Syracuse branch. During the time she worked in Syracuse, she met her future husband at a Protestant Young Adult meeting, a group of single people aged 18 to 39, at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Latham. They were married on Feb. 19, 1966, and moved to Warner’s Lake in 1970.

“She was a city girl,” said Mr. Osterhout, “but I married her and brought her to the country.”

The self-described “country bumpkin” who married his city girl said that Mrs. Osterhout’s mother, a high-society woman from Canada, didn’t expect the marriage to last, even telling her daughter that she didn’t have to go through with it on the day of the wedding. Mr. Osterhout’s mother also didn’t have high hopes.

“We proved them wrong,” he said.

This past February, the couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Although Mrs. Osterhout loved to celebrate and socialize, she didn’t want the celebration about herself, including her anniversary.

“She wanted no parties, no anything,” said Mr. Osterhout.

Her family convinced her to celebrate her anniversary with a few close friends at the restaurant Maple on the Lake in East Berne, but her daughter also created a Facebook event for the couple’s anniversary with instructions on where to send them cards. Mr. Osterhout said his wife was thrilled to find over 90 cards of congratulations sent day after day to their mailbox.

The couple’s marriage was often marked by trips that they would go on as an entire family: camping trips to Lake George, Indian Lake, or the Thousand Islands.

“We looked like the Clampetts leaving town,” laughed Mr. Osterhout, describing how their car’s roof rack would be stacked high with camping supplies.

The Osterhouts also traveled across New York and New England with the Hilltown Fife and Drum Corps. The entire family would dress in Colonial-era costume; two of their daughters playing the fife, one playing the drum, and one, says Mr. Osterhout, was still too little to play an instrument but would march in costume with the rest of the family.

Though she didn’t play any instruments in the Fife and Drum Corps, Mrs. Osterhout did sing. Growing up in Albany, she sang in the choir at the Westminster Presbyterian Church. Her daughters also grew to be excellent singers as well. Her husband, on the other hand, “couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket,” he said.

“We’d always sing traveling in the car with the kids,” he said, “I was asked not to.”

A stay-at-home mother, Mrs. Osterhout was always well-involved with her four daughters’, and later her nine grandchildren’s, lives. She served as a Girl Scout troop leader for her daughters, and with seven of her nine grandchildren living nearby, would see most of her grandchildren daily, when they would come over for swimming; picnicking; boating; and, in the winter, ice-skating. But she was just as involved with the community she loved as her children.

“Mrs. Warners Lake,” as she was called by many in her East Berne community, earned her title by being active in many local groups. She ran the Red Cross swimming program until its closure at Thacher Park, did makeup for both the Hilltowns Players and high school productions at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, was a member of the Hilltown Community Resource Center, and was a member of the Warners Lake Improvement Association for 45 years along with her husband.

Mr. Osterhout said he was amazed by the people who came to pay their respects at a celebration of her life at their home on Warners Lake, describing how they ran out of parking spaces and how he met people he had never seen before in his life.

“You begin to realize how many lives she touched,” he said. An avid book reader and painter of ceramics, Mrs. Osterhout left behind a loving family and community.

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In addition to her husband, Willard Osterhout, Jerrine Kane Osterhout is survived by her four daughters, Laura Osterhout and Joseph Hufnagel; Amy Anderson and her husband, Steven; Teri Osterhout-Paton and her husband, David; and Stacy Loucks and her husband, Theodore.

She is also survived by her nine grandchildren, Joshua and Patrick Hufnagel; Tyler and Kyle Anderson; Caitlyn Fronckowiak and her husband, Michael; and Brienna Osterhout and Ryan Skipka, Zachary, Alexandra, and Alyssa Loucks.

A private funeral was held on Monday, July 18, at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in New Salem. A celebration of her life followed at her home on Warners Lake. Arrangements were by the Reilly & Son Funeral Home, of Voorheesville.

Memorial contributions may be made to Northeastern New York Epilepsy Foundation or Northeast Kidney Foundation.

— H. Rose Schneider

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