Katherine S. Baitsholts

RENSSELAERVILLE — “Aunt Kate,” as Katherine S. Baitsholts was known around the hamlet of Rensselaerville, died at St. Peter’s Hospice in the early morning hours of Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, after having suffered a massive brain hemorrhage the preceding Thursday afternoon. She was 99 years old.

She was born to Katherine and Jacob Kropp in Berne, New York on June 11, 1921. Her siblings, who all died before her, were Jacob, Peter (who married Mabel), John (who married Goldie), Mary Maslowski (who married William), and Helen Gifford (who married Clinton).

From the age of 2 years, she lived most of her life in Rensselaerville. She attended the Rensselaerville Academy for eight years, achieving grade 10 when, due to financial circumstances, she left to go to work.  She obtained her GED, meaning she passed the General Educational Development tests to earn a high school diploma.

“However, Katherine gained a deep understanding of the world through her intensive thirst for knowledge that maintained until the end of her life,” her family wrote in a tribute. “Katherine was a true Renaissance woman — skilled hunter, master gardener, phenomenal seamstress, accomplished chef and baker, historian of the area and its many historic structures as well as a professional dairy farmer which was her career through the early 1970s.

“She was very active in the Rensselaerville Historical Society and played a key role in the production of ‘People Made it Happen Here’ — a history of Rensselaerville.

“Despite her advanced age, Katherine continued to live on her own with the support of her son Paul.  She struggled to continue to read the daily paper and whatever else her failing eyesight would allow. She maintained her strong connections with her many nieces, nephews, stepdaughter Ada, friends, and neighbors who regularly checked in with her and as the pandemic came — at a social distance.

“Katherine married the love of her life — John P. Baitsholts — on Dec. 13, 1946.” He died on July 5, 1984. “John and Kate knew each other their entire lives,” her family wrote. “When they married, he had four children from a prior marriage — Ada, Eileen, Julia, and John (Jack).” Except for Ada, all of them died before her. Katherine and John had one child — Paul J. Baitsholts.

“Katherine and John welcomed all children to their dairy farm in Rensselaerville,” her family wrote. “In addition to many nieces and nephews, they fostered many children for Albany County Social Services, including William Stowell, Tom Hallenbeck, and Walter Schulteis. Kate maintained ties with many of their foster children especially William; his wife, Jean; and their daughter, Madeline, who were an essential part of her family.”

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Katherine S. Baitsholts is survived by her son, Paul J. Baitsholts, and his wife, Helene Goldberger; by her stepdaughter, Ada Smith, and foster son, William Stowell, his wife, Jean, and their daughter, Madeline; by numerous nieces and nephews, grand- and grea- nephews and nieces.

Graveside services will be private.

Memorial messages may be left at www.altamontenterprise.com/milestones.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Hospice Foundation, 310 S. Manning Blvd., Albany, NY 12208; to the Rensselaerville Historical Society, Post Office Box 8, Rensselaerville, NY 12147; or to the Rensselaerville Library, Post Office Box 188, Rensselaerville, NY 12147.

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