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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 10, 2008

Edward Countryman

NEW SALEM — Edward Countryman was a hard worker who built a home for his family with his own hands.
A lifelong resident of the rural hamlet of New Salem, he died on Monday, Dec. 31, 2007, with his wife of 61 years, Marian Grippen Countryman, at his side. He was 93.

Mr. Countryman was born on his family’s farm on the shoulder of the Helderberg escarpment outside of New Salem. His mother died when he was 4, said his daughter, Bonnie Griffen, also of New Salem. Later, his family moved to a farm in the center of the hamlet.

Mr. Countryman first saw his wife-to-be at New Salem’s old inn and watering hole. "They met right down at Happy’s," said Mrs. Griffin. "But then he went into the service; they dated when he came back."

Mr. Countryman didn’t talk often about his years in the United States Army during World War II, said his daughter. "He was a cook and he did say everyone enjoyed his food," said Mrs. Griffin.

Mr. Countryman used the skill to cook for his family. "My Mom and Dad both worked," said Mrs. Griffin, which was unusual in that era; they shared cooking duties, too.

"Once a week, my Dad would stop at the fish market for haddock," said Mrs. Griffin. "And he deep-fried chicken. That was his thing. I don’t know how he stayed so thin."

Mr. Countryman built the family’s home on New Salem South Road. "I was very proud he built the house we lived in," said Mrs. Griffin.

Mr. Countryman had worked at B.T. Babbit, which made scouring soap called Babbo. When the business closed, Mr. Countryman made provisions for his family. "When he lost his job, he bought another house in New Salem and gutted it to fix up to rent," said his daughter. "He was a hard worker and he always made sure that his family didn’t go without."

Mr. Countryman also worked as a custodian at Voorheesville’s high school. In his spare time, he enjoyed bowling and gardening. He also liked to camp with his family and fish.

"We always went camping at Thousand Islands," said Mrs. Griffin.

"We started in a tent with no floor." The Countrymans, in their later years, graduated to camping in a motor home.

When Mr. Countryman caught fish on family camping trips, the Countrymans enjoyed a fresh fish meal and then Mr. Countryman would fillet the extra fish and freeze them to eat back home in New Salem, Mrs. Griffin said.

A farmer at heart, Mr. Countryman loved to garden and took pride in raising fresh vegetables for his family to eat. "He wouldn’t let anyone in his garden," said his daughter. "He liked the rows to be straight and the weeds to be picked right away," she said. "He was a perfectionist."

Mrs. Griffin concluded, "He was a good father. We weren’t a wealthy family. He did what he could for us. He took care of us."


Edward Countryman is survived by his wife, Marian Grippen Countryman; his children, Bruce Countryman and his wife, Lynn, of Knox, and Bonnie Griffin and her husband, John, of New Salem; and his grandchildren, Andrew and Katelyn Countryman and Cynthia and Gregory Griffin.

He is also survived by his siblings, Effie Seidel of Delmar, Nina Voss of Albany, Lydia of Florida, Aldin Countryman of Albany, and by several nieces and nephews. His sister, Myrtle Dawson, and his brother, Elmer Countryman, died before him.

Funeral services were held at the Reilly & Son Funeral Home in Voorheesville. Burial will be in the spring in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in New Salem.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Voorheesville Area Ambulance or the Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 297 North Ballston Ave., Scotia, NY 12303.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Rose Sadowski Dutkiewicz

ALBANY — Rose Sadowski Dutkiewicz’s family was a very important part of her life, and she was proud of her Polish heritage, said her family in a tribute. Mrs. Dutkiewicz died on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2008, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. She was 94.

Born in Elizabeth, N.J., Mrs. Dutkiewicz was the daughter of the late John and Elizabeth Paluch Sadowski. A longtime resident of New Hampton (Orange County), she had lived in Guilderland for the past 25 years. For the past four years, she lived at the Teresian House Center for the Elderly in Albany.

Mrs. Dutkiewicz was a member and past president of the Guilderland Senior Citizens group and a communicant of Christ the King Church.


Mrs. Dutkiewicz is survived by her children, Joan Thompson, and her husband, Chuck, of Maple Valley, Wash.; Bill Dutkiewicz, and his wife, Abbe, of Guilderland; Dr. Vincent Dutkiewicz, and his wife, Diane, of Guilderland; and Julia Owen, and her husband, Mick, of Milford, Pa. She is also survived by her sister, Jean Wiegand of New Hampton (Orange County), 14 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Her husband, Alexander Dutkiewicz, died before her as did her son, Stanley Dutkiewicz, and sisters Helen, Louise, Flo, and Betty.

A funeral service and visiting hours were held yesterday (Wednesday) at the Teresian House Chapel in Albany. Burial was in Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in Florida, N.Y. yesterday. The Reilly & Son Funeral Home in Voorheesville made the arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Teresian House Memorial Fund, 200 Washington Ave. Ext., Albany, NY 12203.

— Tyler Schuling

Erika England

Erika England, née Langanke, was born in East Prussia on Feb. 7, 1920. She came to the United States at the age of 7 and was the youngest of six children: Gerhardt, Fritz, Gottfried, Herbert, and Greta.

Erika married George J England, a New York City fireman, in May of 1050. Together they raised their two girls, Georgette Christine and Marlene Elise, who were nineteen months apart.

During her life, Erika was not only a housewife and mother, but also a portrait artist, a designer, a horticulturist, a grandmother, and a free thinker.

She was raised as a Lutheran but followed her own path in spite of what she was taught. Given any opportunity, Erika would explain how, in a past life she believed she was a Druid! In this like, she had an extreme fondness for trees.

Erika lived for the enjoyment of nature. She loved animals and, in 1980, George had purchased a large farm north of the Catskills where they spent the remainder of their years.

Erika always kept herself busy, whether baking, painting landscapes in the later years of her life, or by caring for the many animals she adopted. When her husband became ill with Alzheimer’s, she cared for him as well until his passing in March of 2006.

Erika England died Oct. 27, 2007 in her farmhouse home. She is survived by her two daughters and her many grandchildren.


A memorial service for Erika England was held in New York City in late November attended by a small group of 20 friends and relatives. Reverend Edward O’Dea presided and the foregoing was read by her eldest grandson. Reverend O’Dea blessed her spirit as she was on her way to becoming one with the Holy Spirit.

Burdette E. Griffin

GREENVILLE — Burdette E. Griffin, a farmer and entrepreneur who enjoyed going to family events and playing poker with his Friday night buddies, died at his home on Jan. 7, 2008. He was 102.

Born in Greenville on Oct. 25, 1905, Mr. Griffin was the son of the late Burdette S. and Rhue Evans Griffin. He was one of 11 children, eight of whom lived well past retirement age.

On Christmas Day, 1927, Mr. Griffin married Evangeline Snyder of Medusa. They had two sons. Evangeline Griffin died in 1966.

In 1934, Mr. Griffin bought property on the Greene-Albany County line. He built the resort known as Balsam Shade Farm.

He enjoyed going to cattle auctions once a week to buy and sell cattle.

Mr. Griffin also enjoyed playing with his grandchidren. In his later years, he loved taking trips to Mohegan Sun with Mary Cornell, his best friend and long-time companion of 40 years.


Mr. Griffin is survived by his son, Edward Griffin, and his wife, Mary, of Greenville; two granddaughters, Jill De Givonie, and her husband, Len, and Keri Pettingill, and her husband, Marvin; a grandson, Kyle Griffin; four great-grandchildren, Ian, Aaron, and Noel De Givonie and Vangie Van Auken, and her husband, Ed; and four great-great-grandchildren, Alexandria, Elizabeth, Edward, and Samuel Van Auken. He is also survived by a sister-in-law, Roberta Griffin, several nieces and nephews, and his long-time companion and best friend, Mary Cornell.

His son, Kenneth Griffin, died before him as did his two brothers, Lewis and Max Griffin; granddaughter, Darcy Correia; and five sisters, Myra Booth, Elizabeth Burnett, Ruth Eisert, Margaret Feugman, and Stella Abrams.

A graveside service will be held at a later date. The Cunningham Funeral Home in Greenville made the arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 260 Osborne Rd., Loudonville, NY 12211, or to Helderberg Senior Services, Post Office Box 18, Westerlo, NY 12193.

— Tyler Schuling

Clyde E. Sisson

BERNE — Clyde E. Sisson, a World War II veteran who owned and operated his family’s farm, died on Jan. 2, 2008 at Albany Medical Center Hospital. He was 83.

"He was built like a giant, but he was very gentle," said his daughter, Lillian Chrysler.

Born and raised on West Mountain in Berne, Mr. Sisson was the son of the late Edwin and May Sisson.

During World War II, he served in the United States Army.

"He never spoke a lot about it," said Mrs. Chrysler. Her father only spoke about having his eardrum broken while in the service and how he got a medical discharge, she said.

For most of his life, Mr. Sisson worked for Sweet Associates of Schenectady as vice president and superintendent of construction.

Following his retirement, those who had been his co-workers continued to call him for his opinion, said Mrs. Chrysler. Her father built many local schools and hospitals, she said.

Mr. Sisson was a member of the Carpenters’ Union Local #370 for 60 years. He was also a member of the Farm Bureau and the Northeastern Contractors Association. He was an affiliate of the South Berne Congregational Church.

"Most of all, Clyde lived for his family and enjoyed hunting and fishing with them," said his family in a tribute. Years ago, Mrs. Chrysler said, he enjoyed bowling and darts.

Mr. Sisson started the Sisson and Son Family Farm. Mr. Sisson’s grandson is the third generation to run the farm, raising beef cattle. The farm is on Switzkill, Cole Hill, and Ravine roads.

"He loved life and he loved people," said Mrs. Chrysler. "He was a wonderful father and husband. He provided for us all"He was a great man. Wonderful man."


Mr. Sisson is survived by his wife of 65 years, Kate Palmatier Sisson; three daughters, Ida Pratt of Saratoga; Paula Britton of Rensselaerville; and Lillian Chrysler, and her husband, Roger, of Berne; and his daughter in-law, Christine Sisson of East Berne. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Kathy, Bernie, Eugene, Scott, Loyal, Howard, and Susie Pratt; Randy Jr., Todd, Tamantha, and Samantha Britton; Clyde III, Spencer, Kevin, Mitchell, and April Sisson; Roger Jr., Richard, and Robert Chrysler; 32 great-grandchildren; one sister, Martha Salzer of Westerlo; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

His cherished son, Clyde Sisson Jr., his son-in-law, Randall Britton Sr.; and his mother-in-law, Lillian Palmatier, died before him as did five brothers and two sisters.

A funeral service was held on Sunday, Jan. 6, at the South Berne Congregational Church. Burial will be in the spring at the South Berne Rural Cemetery. The Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont made the arrangements.

Memorial contributions may be made to the South Berne Congregational Christian Church, 101 Church Rd., Berne, NY 12023 for the building fund for a roof and a ramp for those with handicaps; or to the South Berne Rural Cemetery, care of Debra Stalker, 266 Lake Rd., Berne, NY 12023 for perpetual care.

— Tyler Schuling

Richard F. Spreer

VOORHEESVILLE — Richard F. Spreer, a hospital administrator who loved being surrounded by his daughters and six granddaughters, died on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008, at Albany Medical Center after a long illness.

"He was devoted to his family, a good husband and father," said his wife, Mary Spreer. "He loved his granddaughters"He was just there all the time with them," she said whether it was attending plays or softball games.

Born in Newburgh, Mr. Spreer was the son of the late Thomas and Edith Spreer.

"They were blue-collar people," said Mrs. Spreer, who knew her husband and his family since the two of them were kids.

"He had an identical twin brother and an older brother. The three boys were all exceptional athletes," said Mrs. Spreer.

Richard Spreer played on his school teams for baseball, football, and basketball.

He went to St. Michael’s College in Winooski, Vt. on a football scholarship, said his wife.

Mr. Spreer served in the United States Army from 1957 to 1959. He was happy to serve his country, his wife said, but his service was uneventful as it was between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He was stationed stateside and used his financial expertise, Mrs. Spreer said.

Mr. Spreer worked first as assistant administrator at Cornwall Hospital for 13 years, handling finances. He then was administrator at St. Peter’s Hospital for 11 years and at Ellenville Hospital for 11 years.

The Spreers moved to Voorheesville in 1973.

Mr. Spreer served on the advisory board of masters of science and business at The College of Saint Rose and was an education program instructor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University at Albany. He was the vice chairman of the Hudson Valley Auto Club and was a longtime member of the Pine Haven Country Club in Guilderland.

Despite his rigorous work schedule, he always made time for his family, his wife said. "He took all his children to York, Maine every year," she said. "That was his big treat."


Richard F. Spreer is survived by his wife, Mary Flynn Spreer of Voorheesville; three daughters, Karen Campbell of Colonie, Arleen Schillaci and her husband, Joseph, of Colonie, and Frances Albert and her husband, David, of Slingerlands; and by six granddaughters, Alexandra, Kaitie, and Diana Schillaci, Anna and Mary Frances Campbell, and Caroline Albert.

He is also survived by two brothers, Thomas D. Spreer and his wife, Barbara, of Vero Beach, Fla. and Robert J. Spreer and his wife, Eleanor, of New Windsor, N.Y.

His daughter, Robin, died before him.

His funeral was held at St. Matthew’s Church in Voorheesville with arrangements by Reilly & Son Funeral Home of Voorheesville, with burial in Calvary Cemetery in New Windsor.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association, 7 Washington Square, Albany, NY 12205 or to Albany Medical Center Research Department, 43 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY 12208.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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