Ann Madeline Kiefer

Ann Kiefer

WESTERLO — The call of country living was heard loud and clear by the young woman from the Bronx when she vacationed in the northern Catskills many years ago. And the call was amplified by happening to meet and fall in love with a fellow country-loving New Yorker who liked to visit the Wilderman-Kiefer farm in Westerlo. They were to marry — after a bit more romancing back in “the city” —   and live the rest of their lives in Westerlo.

Ann Madeline Kiefer died on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, at the Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Home in Catskill. She was 88 years old.

Mrs. Kiefer was born on July 17, 1928 in New York City, one of six children of William and Helen (née Mahar) Neuberger.

Married in 1951, Ann and Joe Kiefer were to have almost 50 years together until her husband’s death  in 2000. Mr. Kiefer was a well-known Westerlo figure as, first, the postmaster in South Westerlo and, then, from 1974 until 2000, as the Westerlo postmaster.

The couple lived in a house in Thayers Corner that Mr. Kiefer built himself, after they had lived for a while as newlyweds at the family farm.

Bill Kiefer recalls his mother “always helping out in the neighborhood” they called home.

The twin pillars of her life were her family and her faith, her son says.  She practiced her faith with great devotion, as a congregant of St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Greenville, where she was a founding member of the church’s Rosary Altar Society. She was equally devoted to the friends and family she kept close.

“She had a special love for children and even in her last days she would beam  when she saw a child,” her son says.

Mrs. Kiefer also had, he remembers, a special love for shopping. For many years, until the service ended, she and a group of friends would ride the minibus that Capital District Transportation Authority once operated from Westerlo to Colonie Center. After that ended, she took advantage of regulars trip on the Berne-Rensselaerville senior bus to places like Cobleskill.

Mary, Millie, Chuckie and the Mistler family are only some of the fast friends with whom, her family says, she went on these regular groups excursions “to shop, eat, and be together.” Mrs. Kiefer never did learn to drive, her son says, or express any interest in doing so.

“Ann had a heart of gold,” her family wrote in tribute, “and would help anyone in need whenever she could. She never forgot a birthday, anniversary, or thank-you card. She loved most when her whole family gathered as they did for her 87th birthday and she wished that her children will always be close and remain together.”

Her son Bill adds, “She loved parties and dancing at parties….loved dancing with family and friends.”

It is easy to imagine Mrs. Kiefer happy, just as she looks in the photograph here.

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Ann Madeline Kiefer is also survived by her eldest daughter, Joann Marnell and her husband, Joe, of Reading, Pennsylvania, and their children: Patrick Marnell and his wife, Melissa, and Colleen Breen and her husband, Jim, and grandchildren Sheamus and Nolan Breen; her son Joseph and his wife, Amy, of Montpelier, Vermont (they have two dogs Mrs. Kiefer loved: Chester and Molly); her daughter Louise Karzynow and her husband, Shura, of Defiance, Ohio, and their daughters Nicole Hancock and her husband, Rod, and Megan Jacques and her husband, Jared, and grandchildren Baeden, Parker, and Beckett Hancock, and Eli and Ellie Jacques; her son, Tom Kiefer of Westerlo, and his children Maureen, Brian, and Kevin Kiefer; her son Jim Kiefer and his wife, Julie, of Middlesex, Vermont (they have two dogs Mrs. Kiefer loved: Katy and Rudy); and her son Bill Kiefer and his wife, Eileen, of East Durham, and their daughter, Mackenzie Kiefer.

She is also  survived by her sister, Marge; her cousin, Wally, and her sister-in-law, Janet.

Her sisters, Catherine, Florence, and Mabel,  and her brother, William, died before her, as did her brother-in-law, Eugene Kiefer.

The family wishes to thank St. Peter’s Hospital and the Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Home  “for their kindness and care of our mother in her final months.”

Calling hours will be held at A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home in Greenville on Wednesday, Dec. 21 from 4-7 p.m.  A Christian Burial Mass and Funeral will take place on Thursday, Dec.  22 at St. John's Baptist Church in Greenville at 11 a.m.  

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. John the Baptist Rosary Altar Society, 4987 Route 81, Greenville 12083,  or to the American Cancer Society, 260 Osborne Road, Catskill 12414.

— Tim Tulloch

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