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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 21, 2007

Myrna S. Feldmann

Myrna S. Feldmann, mother of four children, grandmother of seven, and dear friend to many, died unexpectedly on June 5, 2007. She was 70.

"She felt very strongly about protecting wildlife," said her son, Charles Feldmann. His mother was "very open, friendly, and helpful," and enjoyed reading, genealogy, and staying in touch with her friends.

Born in Passaic, N.J. on Sept. 28, 1936, Mrs. Feldmann was the wife of the late Edward S. Feldmann, who died in 1995. She and Mr. Feldmann had been married nearly 40 years when he died, said her son.

Mrs. Feldmann lived in Knox for 40 years, and had recently moved to live permanently with her son and daughter-in-law in Londonderry, N.H.

Mrs. Feldmann was active in the Literacy Volunteers of America, Ducks Unlimited, the Turnpike Rod and Gun Club, the Helderberg Rod and Gun Club, and the Albany County Pistol Instructors.


Mrs. Feldmann is survived by four sons, Joseph Mark Feldmann, and his wife, Maggie, of Schenectady; Robert Feldmann, and his wife, Marcia, of Londonderry, N.H.; Charles Feldmann, and his wife, Sharon, of Berne; and William Feldmann, and his wife, Theresa, of Londonderry, N.H.

She is also survived by seven grandchildren — Ashley, Molly, Deena, Edie, Joel, Eli, and Isaac — and five nephews and two nieces.

Her husband, Edward S. Feldmann, her brother, Jay Slavin, and her sister, Rhoda Katerinsky, died before her.

Funeral arrangements were private, and a memorial service will be held on July 1 at Newcomer-Cannon Family Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Rd., Albany, N.Y. 12205.

In lieu of flowers, Mrs. Feldmann’s family requests that a tree be planted in Israel in her memory; information is available at www.jnf.org.

Memorial contributions may also be made to the Literacy Volunteers of America or the American Heart Association.

— Tyler Schuling

Colleen (Miller) Gerber

GUILDERLAND — Colleen Gerber, a redheaded beauty with an electric smile and a green thumb, died one year ago, on June 25, 2006. She was 42.

A woman with a gentle touch, Ms. Gerber had a way with plants and animals, said her mother, Adora Miller. She worked in the gardens at Indian Ladder Farms, Altamont Orchards, Gade Farms, and Helderledge Nursery, her parents said.

"She knew the name of every flower," said her father, Bernie Miller.

When she moved to Rotterdam with her daughter, Brittney, she kept flower beds in the yard. Now grown, Brittney still lives in that house with the gardens. The Millers said of Ms. Gerber’s tender gardening, "Her daughter is doing the same."

Growing up in Guilderland, Ms. Gerber rode horses and kept all manner of pets. In a photo album treasured by her parents, she is shown as a beaming young equestrian, helmet atop her head, holding up a blue ribbon.

"She jumped and everything," Mrs. Miller said of her daughter’s horse shows.

As a young woman, Ms. Gerber graduated from Guilderland High School, in 1982, and then attended the University at Albany and the State University of New York College at Stonybrook before getting married and having a baby. She spent her time as a newlywed in California, where her husband was based in the Army and she completed Arabic language training at the Department of Defense Language Institute.

When she came back to the Capital Region, she worked on computers at Atlas Copco, said her parents, where she got to use some of her Arabic language skills.

But her primary focus was raising her child.

"She was a very good mother," said Mrs. Miller. "She loved her daughter very much."

For Brittney’s baptism, Ms. Gerber sewed an ethereal white gown. The hours of labor she put into it are documented in the photo album: Ms. Gerber, beams behind an old Singer sewing machine, draped in white cotton.

As a young mother, Ms. Gerber took her daughter fishing, the Millers said. Again, the album is a testament to Ms. Gerber’s good nature; propping up her baby next to a carved pumpkin and smiling at the toddling child under the warm sunshine.

"We miss Colleen’s smile, kindness, and loving ways," her parents wrote in a tribute. "And will forever."

Ms. Gerber is survived by her parents, Adora and Bernie Miller; her daughter, Brittney Gerber; and her brother, Jeff Miller.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Hoyt-Fowler dies at 55
School loses its voice, husband misses literary love

By Rachel Dutil

VOORHEESVILLE – Molly Hoyt-Fowler’s English accent was well known around the community.

Her smile was genuine, her frame petite, and her personality was bubbly.

Hoyt-Fowler worked for nearly 11 years as a secretary in the main office at the Clayton A. Bouton High School in Voorheesville, and was planning on retiring in September.

She died unexpectedly on May 10, 2007. She was 55.

"Molly was a unique person," said her husband of 27 years, Russ Fowler. "She believed in speaking the King’s English," he said. She loved language, and she understood the meaning behind words, he said.

"I never understood why she didn’t get a job as a translator for the United Nations," Fowler said, adding that she was fluent in several languages.

Fowler said that people would often inquire as to where she got her English accent. "Who knows where she got the accent from; she grew up in New Jersey," he said with a laugh.

"Molly enjoyed using the British phraseology," said high-school Principal Mark Diefendorf. For example, he said, she would refer to the elevator as "the lift."

Diefendorf knew Hoyt-Fowler for the extent of her time with the district. He met her when he was teaching economics, before he became principal.

"She was a nice lady," Diefendorf said, "a person I depended on."

She was "very opinionated, but very respectful," Diefendorf said. The two would frequently talk about their favorite movies, and both were fond of going to the Spectrum Theater, in Albany. He remembered their discussion on the movie, The Queen, in which Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth. "She loved it," he said, adding how much she enjoyed talking about the British monarchy.

Hoyt-Fowler’s death shocked everyone, Diefendorf said. The irony, he said, was her upcoming retirement. "You hope that people get enough quality time" in their lives, Diefendorf said. "Molly had told me that she and her husband had bought a boat," he remembered.

"You personalize it," he said of her death. "She had all these great plans, and she didn’t get to follow through with them.

"It was a sad time for all of us," he said.

"We are planning on doing something in her memory," Diefendorf said. "She was a very literate woman," he said. A bench with an engraved plaque would be a fitting tribute for her, Diefendorf said, adding that the district will probably also plant a tree and donate to the local food pantry in her honor.

"The parents and students were affected by her and affected by her loss," Diefendorf said.

At last Monday’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Linda Langevin, in a trembling voice, formally recognized Hoyt-Fowler’s work with the district. "Molly J. Hoyt-Fowler passed away unexpectedly last month, just before her retirement," Langevin said. "Our sympathy goes to her and her family."

Following Hoyt-Fowler’s death, Langevin said, the district’s flag flew at half-staff for a week to honor her.

Hoyt-Fowler was a hard worker, and she was very detail-oriented, she said. "She was always positive and bubbly.

"It was a loss without any closure, and very difficult for us," Langevin said.

Russ Fowler met his wife at the Eastchester Public Library in Westchester County, he told The Enterprise. They were both employed there.

The couple moved to Delmar in 1990, he said.

His wife was a selfless, interesting, and fun person, Fowler said. "Molly was always willing to pitch in and do what needed to be done."

They had no children, but Sasha – a collie "just like Lassie" – and Puff – a cat they picked up from the Menands shelter – were like children, Fowler said. "We all sort of tried to co-exist here peacefully," he said.

Fowler said that he recently gave Sasha to a family who had just lost a pet. "She was too much for me to take care of," he said. He misses her, though, and will visit her "when I’m sure she’s settled in," he said. "Now all I do is get glared at by Puff," he added.

Fowler said that his wife "loved New York City." He remembers taking her there to see the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden. "She always wanted to see the Stones," he said.

"When Mick Jagger came out on stage, the whole crowd was cheering as one," he remembered fondly. He and his wife stayed that night at the Pennsylvania Hotel, he said.

Fowler said he misses his wife tremendously. "I miss the person who I spent 27 years sleeping next to," he concluded.

Marguerite T. Kleeberger

Marguerite T. Kleeberger, a long-time teacher, died Sunday, June 17, 2007 at the Eden Park Nursing Home in Catskill, N.Y. She was 90.

Born in Altamont, she was the daughter of the late John and Margaret Scrafford.

She taught in the Coxsackie-Athens- Central Elementary School District for many years.

She is survived by many loving cousins.

A funeral service was held Wednesday at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont with burial in Guilderland Cemetery in Guilderland.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Zion Lutheran Church of Athens, 102 N. Washington St., Athens, NY 12015.

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