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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 25, 2008

Dorothy I. Heath

ALTAMONT — Dorothy I. Heath left a legacy of good parenting that her children strive to live up to, said her son, John, the youngest of her seven children.

Mrs. Heath died peacefully at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn on Monday, Sept. 22, 2008, with her family by her side. She was 81.

“She was the type of person that always put her kids before anything else,” said John Heath. “She was outgoing, jovial, caring, and very religious.”

“At five in the morning,” he said of Monday, the day she died, “my wife was talking about how her Johnny got fed before she sat down to eat.”

“Dorothy’s greatest gift came from caring for her family who will always cherish her love and support of them,” her family wrote in a tribute.

Mrs. Heath was born on April 15, 1927 to Antonio and Mabel Krelska Kaminski. She grew up, one of eight children, in the Mont Pleasant area of Schenectady.

After she married G. William Heath, the couple had a large family of their own. They were married for 56 years. Originally both of them worked at General Electric. Mrs. Heath stopped her secretarial work in the turbine division to raise their family. Mr. Heath was a lifelong GE employee.

Their marriage was typical of the era, said John Heath. “My Mom stayed home and did the laundry and cooking and cleaning. She cared for the kids. My Dad was the breadwinner. He had dinner on the table when he came home from work and read the newspaper.”

John Heath went on about his mother, “She did a wonderful job raising us…As a parent myself now, I see that as her legacy. She was a great parent and I’ve got to live up to that and establish my own legacy as a parent.”

He concluded, “They were two great parents for 56 years. They stayed bonded.”

Mrs. Heath was “a great cook,” her son said. “Both of her parents were from Poland,” he said, and she prepared many Polish dishes, including stuffed cabbage and deep-fried cookies.

For two decades, she served as a Eucharist minister at St. Lucy’s Church in Altamont. “She would prepare the altar and prepare the body and blood of Christ for Holy Communion,” said her son.

She also volunteered as a kitchen angel, cooking for the Altamont Senior Citizens who have weekly luncheons at St. Lucy’s Parish Center. “She baked a cake every single week to bring them, up until she was in her 70s,” said her son. “She hated to go there as a guest. She always wanted to go as a helper.”

Mrs. Heath was a parishioner of Christ the King Church at the time of her death.

She once met Bob Hope when he played golf at the Albany Country Club where one of her sons was an assistant pro. “I got a chance to caddy for him,” said John Heath.

“She thought she’d re-create her joy of getting close to the super stars by visiting California,” he said. Mostly, she enjoyed traveling to visit her grandchildren in California and North Carolina; she also enjoyed seeing the two grandchildren who lived locally, he said.

“She loved being around them,” he said, even after she had trouble communicating.

Mrs. Heath had suffered a stroke when she was in her early 70s, he said. “The last five years, she was pretty sick,” said Mr. Heath. “My sister — there are seven of us and she’s the only girl — gave up her whole life to take care of Mom. My sister truly was her confidante.”

Mrs. Heath had Parkinson’s disease and lost the ability to walk and communicate, he said. “My dad was a caregiver, too, in a different way.”

He concluded, “She was a wonderful mother and a wonderful wife. Now it’s her time to rest. When she took that last breath, she was at peace. God took care of a great Christian woman. We can hold that in our hearts.”


Dorothy I. Heath is survived by her husband of 56 years, G. William Heath, and by her children: Bill, of Albany; Terry and his wife, Sharon, of North Carolina; Tom and his wife, Dawn, of California; Bob and his wife, Julie, of California; Bruce and his wife, Amy, of North Carolina; Karen of Altamont; and John and his wife, Karen, of Guilderland.

She is also survived by her four grandchildren, Kyle, Danielle, Kiera, and William; her sister, Sally Anunziata; and her brother, Eugene Kamen; and by many nieces, nephews, brothers- and sisters-in-law; and special lifelong friends.

Her seven brothers and sisters died before her.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Church, 20 Sumpter Ave. in Guilderland. Friends and relatives may call on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Interment will be in St. Adalbert’s Cemetery in Rotterdam.

Memorial contributions may be made to New Visions Foundation (Albany Association of Retarded Citizens), 334 Krumkill Road, Slingerlands, NY  12159 or to St. Peter’s Hospice Inn, 315 South Manning Blvd., Albany, NY  12208.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Robert James Hoffman

VOORHEESVILLE — Robert James Hoffman, an environmental chemist and a dedicated family man, died peacefully in his New Jersey home on Sept. 17, 2008, following a courageous battle with cancer. He was 76.

“He was an excellent provider and a caring, nurturing individual,” said his son, Geoffrey Hoffman, of Knox.

Born in Troy, Mr. Hoffman was the son of the late Marion and James Hoffman. He served as a corporal in the United States Army 17th Signal Battalion.

A graduate of St. Lawrence University, he worked for 36 years as an environmental chemist for the New York State Department of Health.

Mr. Hoffman worked in water pollution, to ensure clean drinking water, said his son. “He was very much involved in his work, very dedicated. He took the time and care,” said his son. “They called him the lightning rod at work. You could always go to Bob with a question and get an answer.”

Mr. Hoffman met his wife, Betsey, on a blind date, said their son; their marriage was a happy one and lasted 48 years, ending only with Mr. Hoffman’s death. The young family moved from western New York to New Scotland when Mr. Hoffman was transferred at work. “They fell in love with the area and just stayed,” said Geoffrey Hoffman.

“He was a very quiet, gentle person,” said his son. “He knew everybody and got involved in a lot of things…He was not talkative, but what he said was meaningful.”

Mr. Hoffman was a distinguished past president of the Kiwanis Club of New Scotland and a volunteer ambassador at the Albany International Airport. He was a member of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Albany.

Most importantly, he was a devoted father to his two daughters and his son, said Geoffrey Hoffman. “He put his life aside to make yours better,” said Geoffrey Hoffman. “He was always fixing my bike or my motorcycle, and he drove thousands of miles for me to play hockey.”

He went on about his father’s parenting style: “He never raised his hand or his voice,” said his son. “When my mother was nervous we were getting lost — this was before the age of MapQuest and GPS — he would be calm and reassuring. He’d say everything would be all right and it was.”


Mr. Hoffman is survived by his wife, Betsey Hoffman; his children, Kristina Morelli and her husband, Alan, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Melinda Maggio and her husband, James, of Hillsborough, N.J., and Geoffrey Hoffman and his wife, Denise, of Knox; and his grandchildren, Justin and Zachary Maggio and Tegan Hoffman.

The family would like to acknowledge their dear friends, the Martin and Collins families and James Preston.

A memorial service was held on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Albany with interment in Oakwood Cemetery in Troy. Arrangements were made by Reilly & Son Funeral Home of Voorheesville.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, 4600 East West Highway, Suite 525, Bethesda, MD 20814.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Joan L. Cox

GUILDERLAND — Joan L. Cox worked for the town of Guilderland for over 40 years and treated her co-workers with the same kindness as her family. She worked for the town up until her death on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008. She was 74.

“She was the kindest, most giving person,” said her daughter, Cynthia Schultz. “And she was an organizer. She‘d organize get-togethers for the retirees from Town Hall... She was always doing stuff for other people.

“She would get gifts for people in the doctor’s office when she had an appointment. And she’d give gifts to her co-workers‘ kids, whom she’d never seen.”

Mrs. Cox had a card for every occasion, her daughter said. “She just sent me flowers for 35 years at work.”

She also made a scrapbook to celebrate her daughter’s 50th birthday and had one in the works for her son, Curtis.

“She was so proud of my brother being promoted to captain,” she said of her brother‘s career with the Guilderland Police Department.

“She was my best friend and the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me,” said her husband, Worthy C. Cox. On Jan. 23, the couple would have been married for 55 years.

Mrs. Cox was born in New Jersey, the daughter of a butcher.

“He came up here to work for Tobin Packing Company,” said Mr. Cox of his wife’s father. His wife, Erma, and their children, Joan and Shirley, moved in with their aunt, Marie Schoonmaker, who lived on Guilderland’s Western Avenue, where the library is today, said Mr. Cox.

When Mr. Cox was 18, he was driving through the pastoral Prospect Hill Cemetery. “We first saw each other there,” he said. “She was walking with her sister. I stopped to say hello...That’s how it all started.”

It will also end at Prospect Hill, when Mrs. Cox is laid to rest there today. The years between were filled with much activity and joy as the couple raised two children.

The young Cox family moved into a home on Willow Street, number 70, that had been built by Mr. Cox’s father “for the whole family,” he said. Mrs. Cox went to work at the Guilderland Town Hall, which was then housed in the old schoolhouse on Willow Street, where Mr. Cox had once been a student. He worked for the State Police.

“We had to work,” he said. “We lived close by. She walked to work.”

Mrs. Cox loved her work, he said. “She loved the people. It was like a family to her,” said her husband. “She worked through several administrations. They treated her wonderful.”

She served as acting comptroller and then, after retiring in 1991, Mrs. Cox worked as a clerk for the Guilderland Parks Department.

At the time of her death, Mrs. Cox was still working part-time for the town, at the parks department. “She was supposed to work Monday and Wednesday this week,” said Mr. Cox. “Right next to the office is a green parking sign that says, ‘Reserved for Joan Cox.’”

Mrs. Cox was involved in a wide range of community activities. She was a life member and past officer of the Guilderland Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary and an active member and past officer of the Elks Lodge 2480 auxiliary.

“She was always in charge of making the gravy at the firehouse fund-raisers. This was feeding 350 people,” said her daughter. “She had it down to a science.”

Mrs. Cox was a member of the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church and one of its first women deacons. “She was very religious and very dedicated to the church,” said her husband. “Whatever she did, she did thoroughly.”

Mrs. Cox was a meticulous housekeeper and an excellent cook, especially of German food. “She made good, home-cooked comfort food,” said Ms. Schultz.

She always kept her house at 70 Willow Street clean. “We’d tease her that she put more miles on her vacuum than her car,” said her daughter. “Sometimes she’d vacuum the same rug twice a day to get the nap up. We bought her a shirt that said, ‘Does vacuuming count as aerobic exercise?’”

“She was very good to us,” said her husband.

Mrs. Cox enjoyed her children — Cynthia and Curtis — and, later, her grandchildren, Christopher and Chad, the sons of Curtis and Cathleen Cox.

The boys would spend every Tuesday with their grandparents. After 10-year-old Chad got out of Pine Bush Elementary and 12-year-old Christopher got out of Farnsworth Middle School, they’d go to their grandparents’ house.

“She’d take them bowling or mini-golfing, or to the town park,” said Mr. Cox. “We’d all eat supper around 4:30.”

“They both loved her dearly,” he said, describing the family as “very close.”

When, in their later years, the Coxes moved to a modular home behind the original house at 70 Willow Street, Ms. Schultz was afraid the new home would look sterile. But Mrs. Cox made the new place “just as homey,” said her daughter.

Giving an example of her mother’s thoughtfulness, Ms. Schultz recalled a picture she kept on the refrigerator of a young Curtis Cox with his favorite toy. “It was the cutest picture of my brother with his favorite stuffed tiger,” she said.

Mrs. Cox saved her son’s toy since his boyhood and “cleaned it up,” she said, then recently took pictures of her two grandsons with their father’s favorite toy.

“I burst into tears,” said Ms. Schultz. “She was always so thoughtful.”


Joan L. Cox is survived by her husband, Worthy C. Cox; her daughter, Cynthia Schultz and William De Barthe; her son, Curtis Cox, and his wife, Cathleen; two grandchildren, Christopher and Chad Cox; her sister, Shirley Shelmandine, of Miami, Fla.; and several nieces, nephews,

George Everette Sands

ALTAMONT — George Everette Sands, a Vietnam veteran, postal worker, and village fixture, died unexpectedly on Sept. 20, at age 60. “He was a proud husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle to his large and loving family. George loved life and met each day with joy and vitality, his family wrote in a tribute. “He had the good fortune of hosting a family reunion in August of this year. His brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews will all miss him.”

Mr. Sands was a United States Navy veteran. He served in the submarine service during the Vietnam War and later retired as a letter carrier with the U.S. Post Office. 

“He loved his Navy days, those he worked with and his many friends,” his family said. “George was the special confidant, sometimes referee, to the many he served during his years at the Cohoes Post Office as the shop steward. Later he befriended and reached out to many when he delivered the mail in that area. 

“Retirement was a welcome relief from the 4:30 a.m. wake-ups for George. He was always ready to serve breakfast beginning at ‘whenever.’ The kitchen closed at nine, when he sped off to help one of his friends with their ‘projects.’ 

George had a very practical knowledge of many things. He was the go-to guy for many mechanical and technical problems requiring an unorthodox solution. George and Jared Martin formed a special bond after his retirement while working on many projects together. George thought of Jared as a second son.

Several of his post-retirement friends formed a boys’ club. Wherever they met, he was among friends. All the locals knew George, and have many stories to tell of his generosity and kindness. He was very happy in his retirement, enjoying traveling and spending time with his family and friends. He could be seen on many days walking around the village of Altamont.

‘George kept the home fires burning literally, at the family homestead on Helderberg Avenue. He loved his boyhood home and was able to make the necessary conversions and adaptations without sacrificing the charm. The many family photos and other memorabilia he displayed always made the out-of-town family feel like they were coming home.

“To his grandchildren he was known as Grandpa Winkie. He was a very important person in their lives. His grandson Ben loved to visit his grandpa. It was his favorite place to be. It was always fun, never boring. He was proud to state, ‘I’m just like my grandpa!’ Granddaughter Abby would help him make pancakes in the morning and she would have ingredients all over.  He did not care as long as she was having fun.  He was definitely wrapped around her little finger.

“We will miss George’s hearty laugh and his willing smile. He had energy and enthusiasm in all he did that was easily felt when you were with him. George is a model to all of us of what honesty, hard work, friendship and love of family looked like at its best.

“Altamont will be one citizen less but we gain one more angel. Thank you for being you from your wife, children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters and many, many friends.”


George Everette Sands is survived by his wife, Christina Wilson-Sands; his daughter Lisa Sands-Stock, her husband, Maxwell, and grandchildren Benjamin, 9, and Abigail, 3 of Rocky Hill, N.J., also his favorite and only son, Eric Lee Sands of Altamont.

He is also survived by his seven brothers and sisters – Ronald Sands of Chico, Texas, his children Susan Anderson, husband, David, children Reid and Regan in Portland, Ore. and Cindy Creedon, husband Tim, children Kendall and Emily in Columbus, Ohio. Thomas Sands, wife Linda, of Indianapolis Indiana and Naples, Fla., children Stephanie Bradley, husband Peter, children Will, Alex and Drew of Bingham Farms, Mich., Jennifer Marsh, husband Chad, children Sidney and Sam in Austin, Texas and Jonathon Sands in New York, NY. Dean Sands, wife Jennifer of Placerville, Calif. and son Theodore of San Francisco, Calif. John Sands, wife Sherry of Altamont and children Kendra of Columbus, Ohio, John “Max”, Athens, Ga. and Alex of Altamont. Sandra Jean Sands-Ramshaw, husband Paul, children Loren of Hanover N.H. and Sidney of Washington D.C., Christopher Ramshaw and family and Mark Ramshaw in Illinois. Christopher Sands, wife Lynn, son Spencer of Los Gatos, Calif. Shelagh Sands-Browning, husband Greg, children August, Hanover N.H., Sidney and Lucas of Juneau, Alaska; and his cousins  William Sands and Thomas Beacham of Alexandria, Va.

Calling hours are at Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont today, Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m. The service will be held tomorrow, Friday, at the Altamont Reformed Church at 10 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Altamont Free Library Building Fund, Post Office Box 662, Altamont, NY 12009.

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