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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 17, 2007

Esther M. Bihunick

ALTAMONT — Esther M. Bihunick, a thoughtful woman who dabbled in everything, died on May 12, 2007. She was 80.

Born to William and Esther Bull in Orlando, Fla., Mrs. Bihunick later found her way to Altamont with her 5 year-old son, Charles Butler. "She did everything from waitressing to housekeeping," said her son. Mrs. Bihunick later attended Spencer Business Institute and then worked as a stenographer for the New York State Thruway Authority until 1977, when she retired.

"She spoiled her grandkids," said her daughter-in-law, Michelle Butler. "She took time and really explained things," she said of how Mrs. Bihunick was with the kids, making each one feel special.

She gave her elder granddaughter the nickname Rosy Cheeks, Mrs. Butler said of her mother-in-law; she let her second granddaughter paint her face with make-up; and she said that her grandson was an angel – no matter what he might have done.

"She was a very patient lady," Mrs. Butler said.

After she retired, Mrs. Bihunick worked in the 4-H office at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Voorheesville. She was also a member of the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Altamont, a past patron of the Helderberg Order of the Eastern Star, and a past chaplain of the Altamont firemen’s auxiliary.

Mrs. Bihunick died at the Albany County Nursing Home after living with her son and daughter-in-law.

"She was the most giving, warm, funny person," Mrs. Butler said of her mother-in-law, who always wore a smile. "She was just one of those kinds of ladies."


Mrs. Bihunick is survived by her son, Charles Butler, and his wife, Michelle, and her grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Jessica, and Justin Butler. She is also survived by her sister, Dorothy Berube, and several nieces, nephews, and cousins as well as by her good friend, Anna Marie Seiz.

Her husband, Tony Bihunick, died before her.

A funeral service was held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Altamont on Wednesday, May 16, with arrangements by the Fredendall Funeral Home. Interment was in Memory’s Garden Cemetery in Colonie.

Memorial donations may be made to the Altamont Rescue Squad, Post Office Box 56, Altamont NY 12009.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Christopher R. DeGiovine

Christopher R. DeGiovine, a good-natured soul who served as a soldier, died on April 26, 2007 while on patrol in Fallujah, Iraq. He was 25.

Only son to his single father and husband to his high-school sweetheart, Mr. DeGiovine had a lot of options, but chose to be a Marine, said Diane DeGiovine, his cousin who lives in Guilderland. After graduating from high school in Essex Junction, Vt., he began a degree in engineering, following in his father’s footsteps, which lead to a job at IBM, but he decided instead to pursue criminal justice and a career in law enforcement.

He loved his country, said Fred Bush, Ms. DeGiovine’s husband. "He was an all-American kid," he said, which includes the all-American fascination with cars. Mr. DeGiovine had a Nissan Acura that he loved. Driving down to North Carolina with Mr. DeGiovine’s father, Ray DeGiovine, in his 2006 Corvette, Mr. Bush remembered, "Ray said, ‘Chris had a lot of fun with this car.’"

There was a great amount of respect between Ray DeGiovine and his son, Mr. Bush said. "For 20 years, it was just the two of them."

"He always had a purpose," said Mr. Bush of Mr. DeGiovine as he was growing up. He played soccer and lacrosse with his friends, and golfed with his father. Always smiling, he’d get the other kids all riled up, Mr. Bush said. "He was a live wire as a boy."

It wasn’t just the other kids that he got along with, though, his cousin said. As a child, Mr. DeGiovine had an uncle who had lost his hearing, so he learned enough sign language to talk with him. "That’s the kind of person he was," she said. "He just didn’t leave anybody out."

After only three weeks in Iraq, Mr. DeGiovine was with a fellow Marine, 21-year-old Willie Paul Celestine Jr. from Lafyette, La., when both died after an improvised explosive device overturned their vehicle, his cousin said.

"He was a good, good friend," said Mr. Bush, "and respected."

Promoted to the rank of corporal with less than a year in the service, Mr. DeGiovine was on his way to a fine career in the military, said his cousin, adding that his superiors were impressed with his abilities. He joined the United States Marine Corps in December of 2005, and married his wife a week before going to bootcamp, where he excelled in marksmanship.

He then passed up a job that would have kept him safely behind enemy lines, she said. "It wasn’t enough," said Mr. Bush. "He wanted to serve his country on the front line."


Mr. DeGiovine is survived by his wife, Rachel (Young) DeGiovine of Jacksonville, N.C., and his father, Ray DeGiovine, of Essex Junction, Vt. He is also survived by his paternal grandmother, Camille DeGiovine of Greenville, N.Y.; his uncle Don DeGiovine and his wife, Marilyn, of Auburn, N.Y.; his uncle Bill DeGiovine, of Greenville, N.Y.; his cousins Barbara Fenton, and her children, Nicholas and Kyle, and Diane DeGiovine, and her husband, Fred Bush, and their children, Chelsea and Alex, of Guilderland.

His paternal grandfather, Othello DeGiovine, died before him.

Mr. DeGiovine is also survived by his in-laws: Rachel DeGiovine’s grandparents, Andrew and Kathleen Greeno of Alburgh, Vt.; her parents, Lawrence and Pamela Young, of Essex Junction, Vt.; and her siblings, Lawrence Young, Caroline and Jeremy Williams, and Melissa and Abraham Begins.
A mass of Christian burial was held on May 5 with burial in the Fort Ethan Allen Cemetery, in Colchester, Vt. On-line condolences are posted at the website of the funeral home that handled arrangements, A. W. Rich Funeral Home in Essex Junction, Vt.: www.awrichfuneralhome.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, 825 College Blvd Suite 102 PMB 609 Oceanside, CA 92057.

Mr. DeGiovine’s cousin, Diane DeGiovine will be sending care packages to his Marine company, she can be reached at 861-8301 if you would like to contribute.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Nancy Lawton

Artist Nancy Lawton died in Albany on May 5, 2007, after a courageous five-year battle with cancer. She was 57.

Since she moved to Albany in 1998, Ms. Lawton and her husband, Dr. Richard Enemark, were active in the community through their support of the arts, of historic preservation, of breast cancer awareness, and of The Doane Stuart School.

Recently, the Albany Institute of History and Art purchased a self-portrait drawing of Ms. Lawton, which was exhibited in her final gallery opening in March, at Hirshl & Adler Modern in Manhattan.

In 2005, the Historic Albany Foundation honored Ms. Lawton and Dr. Enemark with the Poert Thornberry Preservation Merit Award for a restoration project at their home on Willett Street.

Ms. Lawton was born in Gilroy, Calif., studied art at California State University at San Jose, and received her master of fine arts degree at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, in 1980.

Drawings were her milieu, with her medium of choice being graphite, and, beginning in 1985, silverpoint, an arcane technique developed in the Middle Ages that reached maturity in the Renaissance. In her most recent work, Ms. Lawton combined graphite and silverpoint in compositions with great tonal range and sensitivity of line.

In 1982, Ms. Lawton’s drawings received an important imprimatur when she was introduced to Gene Baro, the influential curator of prints and drawings at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. The next year, Mr. Baro organized a solo retrospective exhibition of Lawton’s graphite drawings at the Museum, and purchased eight works for the Museum’s permanent collection.

Ms. Lawton’s drawings are now part of the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Albany Institute of History and Art.

Hirschl & Adler Modern has represented Ms. Lawton since 2001. Earlier this year, her work was featured in a successful solo exhibition, Nancy Lawton: Drawings in Graphite & Silver, her second at Hirschl & Adler Modern.

Ms. Lawton is survived by her husband, Dr. Richard Enemark, headmaster of the Doane Stuart School in Albany; two children, Faith and Forrest; her father, Edward Lawton, of Santa Clara, Calif.; and her sister, Carol Lawton, of Fremont, Calif.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. in the Chapel at the Doane Stuart School. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Campaign for the Doane Stuart School.

Ronald E. Perry

KNOX — Ronald E. Perry, a blind man who never lost sight of his love for his wife and his passion for mechanics, died on Sunday, May 13, 2007, at the Guilderland Center Nursing Home.

He was 68.

Mr. Perry was diagnosed with juvenile glaucoma at a very young age, said his wife, Kathleen Perry, leaving him with only one functioning eye. At the age of 27, the illness returned in the other eye, leaving him permanently blind for the rest of his life, she said.

"He was a unique individual"I’ve known him since I was 20. I was always very close to him," said Mrs. Perry, who is now in her 60s. "He was a neighbor"and he made the best spaghetti sauce in town. He just loved to cook and barbecue."

However, said Mrs. Perry, it wasn’t until 13 years ago that the long-time friends, became life-long lovers.

"We’ve been married for 13 years," Mrs. Perry said. "He really loved his family and he loved his mother. She passed away a few years ago, but she got a beautiful Mother’s Day gift this year: She got to be with him again."

Despite his blindness, Mr. Perry went on to become an accomplished mechanic, carpenter, and woodworker and was the proud owner of Small Engine Repair in Schenectady, said Mrs. Perry.

"There wasn’t a problem he couldn’t solve, he was so good with his hands"He even sanded my whole house down once," said Mrs. Perry. "He was the blind one and I would ask him where things were."

"Although Ron was totally blind, he overcame his disability," his family wrote in a tribute. "He could do anything in life with his hands that a sighted person could do. His talents never stopped amazing his family and friends."

Mr. Perry was also a member of the Schenectady Amateur Radio Club, and his call letters were N2Pdi.

"He was really into amateur radio"A lot of people will miss hearing him," said Mrs. Perry. "And, he was such a great conversationalist"He got me and my hairdresser to listen to talk radio."

Mrs. Perry also said that her husband was a very caring man and that his neighbors, as well as the hospital and nursing home staff, were very supportive and they did a "wonderful job." She also said that he loved his dog, Kipper, very much.

"I took care of him right up until Christmas until the Hospice took over," said Mrs. Perry, recalling how her husband had always cooked for her before he became ill. "He was comfortable when he passed," she said, "and I was right there with him, and so were his children and his brothers and sisters"I never left his side, just like I told him I never would."

Besides his wife, Kathleen O’Neill Perry, Mr. Perry is survived by his daughters, Colleen Stern and Cathy DeLuke; his stepfather, Conrad Stenglein; and stepchildren, Debby Nichols, Howard Nichols Jr., Lisa VanDyke, and Brenda LaMontagne, and her husband, John.

He is also survived by his siblings, Ernest Perry, and his wife, Margaret, Bill Stenglein, and his wife, Nancy, Gary Stenglein, Debby West, and her husband, David, Casey Stenglein, and his wife, Terry; grandchildren, Tia, Josh, Nick, Kyle, Christopher, Brian, Jamie, Cassandra, Brandon, Devin and Rubyann; and long-time friend, Howard Nichols, and his wife, Alice.

Mr. Perry is also survived by several nieces, nephews, and other grandchildren.

His son, Thomas Perry, died before him, as did his father, Edward Perry, and his mother, Ruth Miller Perry Stenglein.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday, May 16, with interment at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands. Arrangements were by McVeigh Funeral Home in Albany.

Memorial contributions may be made to Schenectady Community Hospice, 1411 Union St., Schenectady, NY 12308, or St. Lucy’s Church, 122 Grand St., Altamont, NY 12009.

— Jarrett Carroll

Memorial Service

A memorial service for Theodore "Ted" J. Vickery will be held on Saturday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at the Faith United Methodist Church, at 811 North Brandywine Ave. in Schenectady.

Mr. Vickery was a long-time Guilderland teacher who died May 6 at his home in Thousand Island Park, N.Y. He was 74.

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