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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 24, 2007

Frank Becker Jr.

NEW SCOTLAND – Frank Becker Jr., a loving husband who enjoyed gardening and outdoor activities, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, May 15, 2007, at his home. He was 79.

Mr. Becker "was a wonderful husband," said his wife, Virginia Becker. "I couldn’t ask for a better man," she said.

He was born on April 12, 1928 to the late Frank and Alice Becker. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953, and, after the war, he worked as an oil maintenance man at Marshall Stevens in Knox for 40 years.

Mr. Becker met his wife after his return home from the war, said Mrs. Becker.

She remembers being out dancing at the Foxenkill when Mr. Becker approached her and asked, "What are you doing here all alone"

"He never stopped coming to see me," Mrs. Becker said. "I just couldn’t get rid of him," she said fondly of his persistence in courting her.

She remembered his pickup truck, and how much he enjoyed taking her for rides in the country, and how easy it was back then to climb up into the cab.

The Beckers were married on June 11, 1965.

Mr. Becker – known as Slompeck, or Slomey for short, by his many friends – "never had anything bad to say about anybody," said his wife.

An avid gardener, Mr. Becker already this year had 24 tomato plants and 12 pepper plants in the ground, said Mrs. Becker.

"He was so good to me," Mrs. Becker said. Life without him will be like learning to live all over again, she said. "He wouldn’t go anywhere without me."

Mr. Becker read The Enterprise every week, his wife recalled, and would often tell her that he couldn’t live without it. "If that Altamont paper didn’t come on a Friday, that was the only time I saw him mad," she said with a chuckle.

"He was always smiling," Mrs. Becker said. "He always made me smile," she added. Mr. Becker’s "loving, kind face" is what Mrs. Becker will likely miss most about her husband, she said.


Mr. Becker is survived by his wife of 42 years, Virginia Becker (nee Van Alstyne); his daughter Debbie Storm, and her husband, Kenneth; his sister, Alice Haskell, and her husband, John; and his grandchildren, Ronald and Larry Frank Lefavour.

He is also survived by his nephews: John Reginald Haskell, and his wife, Christina; Peter Haskell, and his wife, Carmen; and Michael Haskell and his companion, Diane Stanley Brown; his four great-grandchildren; and six nieces.

Funeral services were held on May 19 at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Interment was at the South Bethlehem Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the New Scotland Presbyterian Church, 2010 New Scotland Rd., Slingerlands, NY 12159.

— Rachel Dutil

Everett B. "Bud" Schoonmaker Jr.

WEST BERNE — Everett B. "Bud" Schoonmaker Jr., a farmer who ran his family’s general store, died on May 17, 2007 at home after a long illness. He was 83.

His wife, Arlene Schoonmaker, described her husband as an "outgoing" man.

Mr. Schoonmaker was born Nov. 3, 1923 on his family’s farm on Switzkill Road in Berne.

He attended the Bradt Hollow School in West Berne and graduated from the Berne-Knox Central School in 1941. He then attended Union College for one year, and returned to Berne to farm with his father, Everett B. Schoonmaker Sr., said his daughter, Cheryl Furman. "He was going to be a teacher, but the war came," Mrs. Furman said.

Mr. Schoonmaker and his father farmed 350 acres and raised sweet corn, potatoes, and tomatoes, Mrs. Furman said. They had about 70 head of Holstein cows, 40 of them milking cows, she said.

Mr. Schoonmaker was a member of the Army Air Forces Aircraft Warning Service and volunteered as a lookout during World War II, Mrs. Furman said. The look out was located on West Mountain. Mr. Schoonmaker drove up the mountain with Milton Hart. When it was too icy to go up Irish Hill, they had to go way around by way of Cole Hill.

A self-employed farmer until 1970, Mr. Schoonmaker then operated Schoonmaker’s General Store in West Berne. He retired in 1982.

In his pictorial history of Berne, Life Along the Way, Willard Osterhout chronicles the early days of Schoonmaker’s Store.

The Schoonmaker’s Store, a family-owned business that spanned over a century, was opened in 1871 by Mr. Schoonmaker’s great-grandfather, Dewitt C. Schoonmaker. Mr. Schoonmaker’s grandfather, Isaac Barber Schoonmaker, operated the store from 1898 to 1951. The store burned once at the end of the 19th Century, and again in April of 1903. After the store burned the second time, Isaac Schoonmaker didn’t have the money to rebuild, so companies he did business with gave him money to rebuild the store.

Mr. Schoonmaker’s uncle, Arthur C. Schoonmaker, then operated the store from 1951 to 1966, when he died. Mr. Schoonmaker then ran the general store with his father.

There had been a post office in back of the store when Isaac Schoonmaker operated it, said Mrs. Furman. "In our time, it was a general store," she said.

Mr. Schoonmaker was a member of the West Berne Methodist Episcopal, Beaverdam Reformed until they closed, and then of the Berne Reformed Church. He was a charter member of the Town of Berne Historical Society, also a member of the Foxenkill Grange.

Mr. Schoonmaker liked running and singing; while attending the Beaverdam Reformed Church, he led the choir, said Mrs. Furman. Her father also enjoyed bowling and played on the Berne-Knox baseball team when he was younger, Mrs. Furman said.

Mr. Schoonmaker had "a great sense of humor" and "always thought of others before himself," she said. "Even if he was feeling down, he would make up a joke to make other people laugh."


Mr. Schoonmaker is survived by his wife, Arlene H. Schoonmaker; and his daughters, Cheryl Furman, and her husband, Clarence, of West Berne, Janet Schoonmaker of West Berne, and Karen Merritt of Rensselaer.

He is also survived by his grandchildren, Matthew Davis, Sarah Furman, and Angie Merritt; his great-grandson, Elijah Davis, and his nephew, Jonathan Hodge from Connecticut.

Arrangements are by Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

A private funeral service was held. Interment was in the Woodlawn Cemetary in Berne.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Berne Ambulance Squad or the Berne Reformed Church.

— Tyler Schuling

Wilbur Donahue White

ALTAMONT — Wilbur Donahue White, a World War II veteran and retired Thruway worker, died on Friday, May 18, 2007, at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. He was 85.

He was born in Delanson, N.Y., the son of the late Iva and Homer White.

He lived in Altamont for most of his adult life.

He graduated from the Albany Business College and served his country in the Navy during World War II from Nov. 11, 1942 to Jan. 26, 1946. He was stationed in the South Pacific.

He was retired from the New York State Thruway Authority.

He is survived by his wife, Emma R. White, and daughter, Pamela Murnan.

A graveside service with military honors will be held today, May 24, at 1:30 p.m. at the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Guilderland. Arrangements are by Fredendall Funeral Home of Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 85 Watervliet Ave., Albany, NY 12206.

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