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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 1, 2008


John N. Cyr Sr.

John Cyr, a man who shifted his life according to where he was needed, died on Monday, March 24, 2008.  He was 48.

After moving to Delaware to help his sister following the death of her husband, he was called back to Guilderland, whence he came, to help his family after his brother died. 

One of nine children born to Albert and Elizabeth Cyr, Mr. Cyr grew up as the son of a lumberjack, said his niece, Diana Hart Benjamin.  He went to work young, she said, and spent most of his life on the railroad, a job that he began when he moved to Delaware in 1976.

A couple of years after he returned to Guilderland, he got into a fender bender, said his niece.  It was an accident that brought him his wife.  “By the McDonald’s parking lot, they hit each other,” Ms. Benjamin said.

The couple married in 1986 and had five children together.  They have since divorced.

Although Mr. Cyr loved his job, he retired early and spent his time nursing animals and hunting, his niece said.

“He survives off of them,” she said of the line he drew between his pets and the animals he hunted.  Mr. Cyr was always going to auctions, she said, and, if he bought a cow to butcher, it wouldn’t get a name.  He would also buy the crippled old horses that nobody else wanted, Ms. Benjamin said.

“This horse, Cherokee, he had, only had one eye,” she said.  “Nobody else wanted him.”  Cherokee bit Mr. Cyr three times, she said, and sent him to the hospital, but he loved her despite it.

Mr. Cyr had a penchant for ornery animals — his niece recalled watching from a window in Delaware as he was charged by a bull.  “He outran the bull,” she said.

He had an understanding with beasts, and a life-long passion for animals, Ms. Benjamin said, as she recalled the horse figurines he would fashion for her out of tin foil or twisty ties.

“He had a big bark,” she said of her uncle, “but he was a big teddy bear.”

Indeed, Mr. Cyr would call his niece every day to check in, as he did with “all the ladies in his life,” including his mother, Ms. Benjamin said.

“He was a good man,” she said, “and he loved his family.”

Mr. Cyr’s family found this prayer fitting: “Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep.  I am in a thousand winds that blow, I am the softly falling snow.  I am in the gentle showers of rain, I am the fields of ripening grain.  I am in the morning hush, I am in the graceful rush of beautiful birds in circling flight, I am the star-shine of the night.  I am in the flowers that bloom, I am in a quiet room.  I am in the birds that sing, I am in the fields with the horses, I am in each lovely thing.  Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there.  I do not die.”


Mr. Cyr is survived by his children: Michael, Kathryn, John, Patricia, and Courtney, of Sprakers and his parents, Albert and Elizabeth Cyr.  He is also survived by his two godsons, Skippy Sawyer, of Guilderland, and Christopher Benjamin, of Voorheesville and by four brothers: Bernard Cyr of Albany; Harold Cyr of Minnesota; Albert Cyr of Cobleskill; and Thomas Cyr of Schenectady.  His sisters also survive him: Roseanne Potter and her husband, Newt, of Altamont, and Patricia Sawyer and her husband, Clarence, of Guilderland.

Mr. Cyr also had several nieces and nephews, cousins and friends who adored him, and his best friends, Mike Brown, of Guilderland, and Cliff Hart, of Delaware.  He also had a large extended family in Delaware, including Linda Hart, Helen Coburn, and Diana Hart.

Two of his brothers, Joseph Cyr and Richard Cyr, died before him, as did his brother-in-law, Robert D. Hart.  John Cook, of Delaware, and Ruthie Cook, also died before him.

A funeral was held on March 31 at the Lenz & Betz Funeral Home in Canajoharie with the Rev. Dr. R.W. Williams presiding.  Interment will be on May 24, at Sloansville Valley Cemetery.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Martha B. Gallup

ALTAMONT — Martha Gallup, a woman you could count on, died on April 27, 2008, at KingsWay Arms Nursing Center in Schenectady.  She was 84.

Born to the late Hans and Catherine Dam in a town called Edam in the Netherlands, Mrs. Gallup immigrated to America as a young girl with her family.  They settled in Whitesboro, N.Y.

“She was a small child when she came here,” said Sally Bidleman, Mrs. Gallup’s long-time friend.  Her father worked at the school, Mrs. Bidleman said.

Mrs. Gallup followed in those footsteps after she got a degree in primary education from the State University of New York College Cortland in 1944 and a master of science degree from the University at Albany in 1952.

When she moved to Altamont after earning her first degree, she taught at the Altamont High School.  “She had a friend who also taught school and they roomed together,” Mrs. Bidleman said.

She moved to Altamont in 1944 and in 1949 married the late Gilbert E. Gallup, also from Altamont.  They spent their lives together in the village and she taught kindergarten for 35 years in the Schoharie Central School District.

On her retirement in 1981, Mrs. Gallup received from the school, many parents, and former students, recognition of the dedication, kindness, patience, and joy she brought to the children in her classroom, wrote friends of her in a tribute.  “Lucky are the children who have passed through her door,” said one former student.

“She loved teaching school,” Mrs. Bidleman said of her friend.  “She just loved the kids.”

Mrs. Gallup also taught Sunday school at the Altamont Reformed Church, and a stained-glass window now overlooks the sanctuary to commemorate her 50 years of teaching.  Her enthusiasm spread beyond the school there, too. “If Martha signed up to do something, she did it,” Mrs. Biddleman said of her friend, who served as treasurer, was a member of the consistory, and was part of the women’s circles and Bible studies.

In 2005, Mrs. Gallup made a donation to the church that financed architectural renovations to make the church hall, Sunday school rooms, and other church facilities handicapped-accessible.

“She was always involved with something in the church,” said Mrs. Bidleman.

Indeed, Mrs. Gallup came from a family that produced a minister.  Her brother, Herman Dam, has a church in Tennessee, said Thelma Elgie, a close friend of Mrs. Gallup.

“Our husbands were friends,” Mrs. Elgie said of how they met.  The pair went bowling every week at Weavers’ Bowling Alley in Altamont, she said.  Later in life, Mrs. Gallup took up golf, and spent much of her time on the green.

She and her husband also enjoyed traveling, often taking trips to Florida and California and going with friends to Maine, Alaska, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.

“Once you were a friend of Martha’s, you were always a friend,” said Mrs. Bidleman of her friend’s sturdy character.  “She was a true friend.”


Mrs. Gallup is survived by her brother, the Reverend Herman Dam, and his wife, Helen, of Murfreesboro, Tenn.  She is also survived by a niece, Polly Bullock, and two grandnieces, Mindy Bullock and Lauren Bullock Brandon and her husband, Matt, of Tennessee.  Also surviving are other relatives: Johanna and Jon Brandsma; Laura Brandsma and her husband, Piet De Boer, and their daughter, Rixt, of the Netherlands; William and Irene Zimmerman of Schenectady; and Betty Siedsma of Oriskany, N.Y.  Two goddaughters, who were like family to her, Corinne Plummer and her husband, Lyn Edinger, of Fly Creek, N.Y., and Roberta Butler and her husband, Bradford, of Sanford, N.C. and many cherished, life-long friends from Altamont, SUNY Cortland, and the Schoharie School District also survive Mrs. Gallup.

Her husband of nearly 50 years, Gilbert E. Gallup, died before her.

A funeral service will be held today, May 1, at the Altamont Reformed Church at 1 p.m.  Before the service, friends are invited to gather in the church hall to share memories from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Interment will be in Fairview Cemetery, Guilderland, with arrangements by the Fredendall Funeral Home.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Altamont Reformed Church Memorial Fund, 129 Lincoln Ave., PO Box 671, Altamont, NY  12009.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Evelyn Person Mitchell

VOORHEESVILLE – Evelyn Person Mitchell, an avid bird-watcher and gardener, was devoted to her family. 

She died on Sunday, April 20, 2008, at the Community Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s in Albany.  She was 75.

“Her family and friends were most important to her; she cared about them very much,” said her daughter, Bonnie Reilly of Voorheesville.

She was born in1928 in Boston, where she was raised.  She worked as a secretary at Whiteweld in Boston from 1951 to 1957 before moving to Voorheesville.  She worked at the Blue Cross Blue Shield in Albany from 1986 to 1997 before retiring. 

Her husband, Phillip Mitchell, died before her.

Mrs. Mitchell lived on Locust Drive in Voorheesville and enjoyed bingo, dinners out, and special times spent with her brother and sister on Cape Cod. 

She is survived by her daughters Bonnie Reilly of Voorheesville, and her husband, John,  Priscilla Muscolino, of Gloversville, and her husband, Emilio;  her son, Phillip Mitchell of Suffield, Conn., and his wife, Kim; her grandchildren, Sam and Thomas Mitchell and Adele and Claudia Reilly; and several nieces and nephews. 

Her husband, Phillip, died before her, as did her brothers, Gustav C. Person, Elmer “Swede” Person, Walter A. Person, and her sister, Norma O. Person Jackson.

The funeral service was held on Thursday morning at the Reilly & Son Funeral Home in Voorheesville.  Burial was in the Bethlehem Cemetery. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, for Ovarian Cancer research, 260 Osborne Rd. Albany, N.Y. 12211.

— David S. Lewis

Donald Quay

Donald Quay, a World War II veteran and an engineer, died on April 28, 2008 in a hospital in Connecticut where he lived. He was 86. 

Mr. Quay was born on Dec. 14, 1921 in Knox, the son of Daniel Webster Quay and Bertha Mae Bradt Quay.

He married Vivian Lorraine Coulter on November 23, 1949 in Schenectady. His wife   died on May 21, 1997.

He served in the United States Army in Europe during World War II as a radio operator and was awarded a Bronze Star.  He always blamed his right ear hearing loss on the trip home from Europe on the boat.

Following the war, he attended and graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, in 1951, with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering.  He worked first for American Locomotive in Dunkirk, N.Y. while he and his family resided in Fredonia, N.Y.

In 1962 he moved to New London, Conn. and where the family spent nine months.  He started work for the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in 1962, working as an engineer in the nuclear shielding area, a job in which he thrived. He moved to Montville, Conn. in 1963 and bought the house in which he lived in for the rest of his life.  He retired in 1986 to be home to care for his wife. 

He was active for a period at the United Presbyterian Church in Groton and then at the Montville Center Congregational Church where he served as deacon and moderator, he was a member of the local VFW, and a life member of the American Legion Post in Dunkirk.

He enjoyed playing bridge during lunch hours while at work. And, at home, his hobbies included daily cryptograms, woodworking, tinkering with anything that needed repair, gardening and being at home, making dandelion wine. In his retirement he enjoyed pinochle outings with friends. 

Following his wife’s death he spent time traveling with his children to Quay, New Mexico; Orlando, Fla. and other locations.  In his later years, he was slowed by his illnesses but enjoyed reading, his grandchildren, and frequent family outings.

He is survived by three sons, Peter Donald Quay and his wife, Brenda; Keith Robert Quay and his wife, Carolee; and Wayne Daniel Quay and his wife Cheryl — all of Norwich, Conn and by two daughters, Donna Lorriane Gendreau and her husband, Roy, of East Windsor, Conn. and Patricia Diane Brown and her husband, Robert, of Montville, Conn. He was the proud grandfather of 10 grandchildren.   He is also survived by two brothers, Thaddeus Quay of Altamont, Richard Quay of Tennessee; and two sisters, Helen Coulter and Rosemary Tubbs of Altamont.

The funeral services are today (Thursday) at 10 a.m. at the Church & Allen Funeral Home in Norwich, Conn; burial will immediately follow at Maplewood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made Parkinsons Disease to Connecticut Chapter/APDA, 27 Allendale Drive, North Haven, CT 06473. An online memorial is at www.mem.com.

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