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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 5, 2007

Charles A. Ballschmieder

GUILDERLAND — Charles A. Ballschmieder, a World War II veteran and New York Telephone Company employee for 41 years, died on April 2, 2007 at his home in Guilderland. He was 89.

He was born on April 4, 1917, in Buffalo, N.Y.

He is survived b his beloved wife of 61 years, Gisele. He is also survived by eight children and their spouses, 16 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

There will be no calling hours. Funeral services will be private. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home of Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the City Mission of Schenectady, 425 Hamilton Hill St., Schenectady, NY 12305 or to the Western Turnpike Rescue Squad, 200 Center Dr., Albany, NY 12203.

Albert A. Deschenes Jr.

VOORHEESVILLE — Albert A. Deschenes Jr. — a fisherman, a plumber, and a U.S. Navy veteran — died on March 30, 2007. He was 81.

He died after a short illness, with his family at his side.

A life-long resident of Voorheesville, Mr. Deschenes grew up with his parents, the late Albert and Gladys Deschenes, in the village near the old rifle range, said his son, Albert Deschenes III. "That’s four generations in the Voorheesville School District," said his son.

Mr. Deschenes was a hunter who belonged to the Voorheesville Rod and Gun Club.

As much as Mr. Deschenes loved Voorheesville, he spent much of his time fishing on Lake Ontario. It wasn’t uncommon for him to catch a 35-pounder, his son recalled. "He’s caught some big ones," he said. The captain of a charter boat, Mr. Deschenes would take out as many as four people at a time to fish in his boat that he kept at the lake.

Mr. Deschenes spent time on the water while serving in the United States Navy during the second World War. As a gunner’s mate in the escort division, he escorted ships that were bringing supplies to American troops in Europe. Mr. Deschenes was a member of the Voorheesville American Legion Post 1493.

"When he got out of the service, he was looking for a job," said his son, and Mr. Deschenes had a cousin who was a plumber. Mr. Deschenes became a member of the Plumbers & Steamfitters, Local #7; he was a member for more than 50 years.

"He was a great man," said his son, recalling Mr. Deschenes as a father. "His house was always open." He would routinely open his door to anybody who needed a place to stay, said his son.

As a young man, Albert Deschenes III lived in his father’s house, where he was charged $10 a week in rent. "He just put it in an envelope," said his son. "He turned around and gave me the money back when I got married."

Mr. Deschenes spent his favorite moments with his family, said his family in a tribute. Just about every picture that he has of his father also features a child, a grandchild, or a great-grandchild, said Albert III. "He had a big heart," said his son. "He was strong but fair."


Mr. Deschenes is survived by his wife of 45 years, Nancy Deschenes, and his children, Cheryle Stevens and her husband, Greg; Albert Deschenes III and his wife, Diane; Laura Fiscaletti and her husband, Jerry; and Tracey McMahon and her husband, Kevin. He is also survived by his sisters, Judy Roraback and Marjorie Oles; a brother, Jack Deschenes; grandchildren, Joey, Dawn, Albert IV, Tommy, Amy, Megan, Shane, and Brendan; 15 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He is also survived by special friends, Jim and Pam Shannon and John and Barbara Fredette.

A funeral service was held on April 3 at the Applebee Funeral Home in Delmar.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Voorheesville Volunteer Fire Department, Post Office Box 525, Voorheesville, N.Y. 12186.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Mania Spadaro

ALTAMONT — Mania Spadaro, the warm heart of her family who fed every hungry soul, died on Tuesday, April 3, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany surrounded by her family. She was 77.
Raised in the countryside of Chorzow, Poland, Mrs. Spadaro learned to love nature from her father, the late Adolf Mrozek, who would take her for long, winding walks, said her daughter, Maryann Murray. "She just loved flowers; she got that from him," Mrs. Murray said. Mrs. Spadaro’s mother was the late Marie Adamietz.

At the end of the second World War, at the age of 18, Mrs. Spadaro came to America. She settled in Ravena where she got a job as a waitress.

The love of her life, George M. Spadaro, walked into the restaurant where she was working. "He came into the restaurant one night and struck up a conversation," said Mrs. Murray. "And the rest is history."

Mania and George Spadaro married and then ran restaurants of their own. They managed the Menu in Guilderland and owned La Cuisine in Schenectady.

The couple would get dressed-up and head down to the big city, said Bryande Murray, one of Mrs. Spadaro’s 14 grandchildren. "She was so glamorous, like a movie star," she said of photos of her blonde grandmother. They would visit New York looking like they just walked off of the red carpet, said Ms. Murray.

The pair fell in love with three acres in Altamont; the property had only a foundation on it, said Mrs. Murray. The Spadaros built a home there and spent almost 50 years in it.

"Our holidays in this home were a feast for an army," Mrs. Murray said. "My mother could cook anything." When she married an Italian, she learned to cook Italian food better than a native, Mrs. Murray said of her mother. And, she said, "She could cook a sauerbraten that would make you melt."

Leftovers from her meals were put outside for the squirrels and rabbits to feast on, said Ms. Murray, who remembers putting the food out with her grandmother. "My Babcia was just charismatic; she lit up a room," said Ms. Murray. The Polish word for grandmother is babcia, which is how Mrs. Spadaro was known to all who loved her.

"My Mom was the ultimate family grandma," said Mrs. Murray. "We have a very large family and she was the center point."

Her Babcia doted on each grandchild as if he or she were the only one, said Ms. Murray.

"She always told me how, on Christmas Eve in Poland, they’d go out to the barn to wait for the animals to talk," said Ms. Murray. An old Polish fable said that, at midnight on Christmas Eve, animals could talk.

Mrs. Spadaro and her three siblings — Hubert, Jerzy, and Elizabeth — might never have actually gotten to hear barnyard chat, but she still told the story. "She was just a one-of-a-kind person," Ms. Murray said.

"She was the life-blood of everything," said Ms. Murray of her Babcia’s place in the family. "She was absolutely irreplaceable."


Mrs. Spadaro is survived by her husband, George M. Spadaro, her children, Daniel Ferriero and his wife, Carol, of Clifton Park; Carmen Ferriero Jr. and his wife, Susan, of East Greenbush; Maryann Murray and her husband, Tim, of Voorheesville; and Tania Spadaro and her husband, Shawn O’Connell, of Matthews, N.C.

She is also survived by her two stepchildren, George M. Spadaro Jr. of Colonie and Virginia R. Spadaro and Mary Vail, of Albany, and her grandchildren, Lisa and her husband, Stephen; Danielle; Carmen and his wife, Stephanie; Christopher; Janelle and her husband, Joe; Bryande; Ada; Virginia; Chrissy; Joey; Michelle; Anthony; George; and Rebecca.

She is also survived by her great-grandchildren, Talia and Ava; at the time of her death she was anticipating the arrival of Sergio and Samantha. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and beloved friends.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, April 6, at 10 a.m. at St. Lucy’s Church, on Grand Street in Altamont. Calling hours are today (Thursday) from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Burial will be in the Fairview Cemetery in Altamont.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

James VanVoorhis

KNOX — James VanVoorhis, a hard-working family man who liked to go fast, died on April 3. He was 62.

Mr. VanVoorhis was born to Evelyn Sanford VanVoorhis and the late Robert VanVoorhis in Catskill, N.Y.

Growing up in Preston Hollow, Mr. VanVoorhis rode horses, "He got into that from his grandfather," said Betty Walk, his long-time companion. "When he found out engines went faster, the horses got left in the barn," she said.

In the 1980’s, Mr. VanVoorhis went all over the state racing snowmobiles, she said. "He had many many trophies," she said. "Some as big as he was." He would watch NASCAR on television, pulling for his favorite driver, Mark Martin. Mr. VanVoorhis raced cars a bit himself, said Ms. Walk. His races weren’t too organized, she said, "just boys being bad on back roads."

Engines were what brought the couple together 20 years ago, said Ms. Walk. Mr. VanVoorhis owned VanVoorhis Trucking & Excavating in Altamont. The two talked over the phone for business. "I had the trucks and he had the excavation supplies," she said. When the two finally met, they worked into a friendship and then fell in love, said Ms. Walk.

The couple has done a lot of driving together. Mr. Van Voorhis didn’t like flying but he liked to travel, so they took road trips all over the States, from Colorado to Florida. "The road trips were part of the adventure," said Ms. Walk.

Perhaps his favorite place to go was to his son’s horse farm in New Freedom, Pa. Although he didn’t ride anymore, he liked the peaceful feeling of the farm and the nearby equipment auctions, she said.

He would sometimes go north with his friends to a hunting cabin, she said. He loved hunting deer, often bringing home bucks. They ate a lot of venison, Ms. Walk said.

An avid hunter, who also liked to fish, Mr. VanVoorhis was a member of the Voorheesville Rod & Gun Club. He also belonged to the Preston Hollow Baptist Church and he was a member of the Operating & Engineers Local #106 for over 40 years.

Really, he loved "anything that had an engine and went fast," said Ms. Walk, and Harley Davidson motorcycles made that list. Mr. VanVoorhis restored a 1979 Shovelhead that he and Ms. Walk did a lot of riding on.


He is survived by his mother, Evelyn VanVoorhis, of Preston Hollow; three sons: Jeffrey VanVoorhis and his wife, Susan, of New Freedom, Pa., James VanVoorhis Jr. and his wife, Sherry, of Preston Hollow; and Matthew VanVoorhis and Don Smith of Westerlo.

He is also survived by three grandchildren, Timothy, Amy and Kaci VanVoorhis; a brother, Carl VanVoorhis and his wife, Carla, of Tannersville, Pa.; a sister, Sharon Chichester and her husband, Bruce, of Harriman, N.Y.; a niece, Danielle VanVoorhis and nephews, Jason VanVoorhis, Michael, Brian and Shawn Chichester.

Also surviving are his loving partner and companion of 20 years, Betty Walk, and his extended family, Timoth Lamitie and his wife, Amy; David Lamitie and his wife, Teri, Chuck Lamitie and his wife, Lisa, and Nancy Lamitie; and grandchildren Max, Langston, Alison and Dashiel.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Cunningham Funeral Home in Greenville. Friends may call at the funeral home on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Interment will be in the Brookside Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Preston Hollow Baptist Church or to the Altamont Rescue Squad.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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