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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 12, 2009

Hy Dubowsky

GUILDERLAND — Hy Dubowsky, a public servant with a passion for helping those in need, died on Sunday, March 8, 2009, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. He was 58.

His wife and three children were with him when he died and had supported him as he optimistically pursued difficult treatments over the last year for a rare and aggressive form of cancer, anaplastic T-cell lymphoma.

A member of the Guilderland School Board, Dr. Dubowsky was involved in a wide range of youth activities, coaching sports for his children, organizing events for the Guilderland Elks, and helping local Boy Scouts as both of his sons — like their father before them — earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Dr. Dubowsky was raised in Brooklyn and graduated from James Madison High School there. He went on to earn five academic degrees: a bachelor’s degree in political science from City University; a master’s degree in urban studies, also from City University; two master’s degrees from New York University — one in public administration and finance, and the other in philosophy; and a doctor of philosophy degree in finance, policy, and organization from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.

He was particularly proud of his Ph.D.

“When me and my mom went to do the death certificate,” said his oldest child, Eric, “we said, ‘You’ve got to put Ph.D. on there.’ He worked so hard for it; it took him over a decade since he was working at the same time.”

Dr. Dubowsky began his career as budget examiner for the state, and moved on to serve on the state’s Financial Control Board, leaving the board in 1987 as chief budget analyst. He went on to become the director of Fiscal Studies for the New York City Council Finance Division and then became assistant comptroller for the New York City Office of the Comptroller.

In 1991, he and his family moved to the Capital Region where he served as the director of research for the New York State Senate Committee on Taxation. Dr. Dubowsky had said he and his wife chose to settle in Guilderland because of the schools.

From 1991 until his death, he worked for the state’s Department of Labor. He was the director of the Economic Development and Business Services unit within the Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions.

“He worked up until last Wednesday, writing memos for the state,” said his son. “On Thursday, he was put on a respirator. One of his co-workers came in with his last memo he was editing.”

As part of his job, Dr. Dubowsky oversaw economic development programs that gave tax relief to companies that hired workers who might otherwise be considered undesirable, said his son. “A normal employer wouldn’t hire them,” he said. “A lot of people got a second chance that way. They got a chance to better themselves.”

Dr. Dubowsky testified about the programs before the Unites States Senate Finance Committee and also before the Joint Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

At the time of his death, Dr. Dubowsky was working on a draft proposal for federal legislation that would supply low-income individuals with vouchers to upgrade their skills in education and training programs.

Eric Dubowsky described his father as “very gregarious” and said, “He loved talking to everyone...He’d talk to the Price Chopper cashier until we said, ‘OK, Dad, it’s time to leave.’ He loved meeting people, hearing their stories.”

Being a Boy Scout was central to Dr. Dubowsky’s life. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout and saw that his sons did, too.

In fact, all seven of the Scouts in Eric’s Eagle Patrol earned the top rank.

“He made sure every one of us got our Eagle Scout,” said Eric.

“His best friends to this day are from Boy Scouts,” said his son.

In 1998, when Eric was 17, the two of them made the journey to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. They decided to take the hardest trek there — 11 days and 150 miles, including scaling Mount Baldy, the second highest peak in the Cimarron Range at 12,441 feet.

“They don’t offer it anymore,” he said of the arduous hike.

Eric recalls how, when the going was rough at first, and his spirits flagged, his father encouraged him. “By the sixth day, his knees gave out,” recalled Eric. They were given the option to be taken out by helicopter. “I took all of his stuff, his tent, his gear, so we could finish together,” said Eric. And they did.

Dr. Dubowsky went back to Philmont six years later with his younger son, Ryan.

Dr. Dubowsky and his wife, Carol Kaelin, a former Altamont Enterprise reporter, shared a liberal political philosophy and worked to achieve their ideals, frequently being involved in election campaigns. Dr. Dubowsky was the president of the Hudson-Mohawk Region chapter of Democracy for America, the grassroots political organization founded by Howard Dean. This past fall, despite Dr. Dubowsky’s cancer, the couple traveled to Ohio, a swing state, to campaign for Barack Obama.

“They loved watching MSNBC together and talking politics,” said Eric.

Eric Dubowsky described his father as “a very wild individual,” explaining, “He came right to the edge of being socially unacceptable yet fit in real well.”

Dr. Dubowsky’s presentations at state conferences were legendary, he said. “One time he got up there in a gorilla suit. He loved using a sock puppet. He would wake up a dead room and get his point across. He really hit the spot.”

Dr. Dubowsky’s enthusiasm never flagged, even after his cancer diagnosis in January of 2008. “Even at the end, he was always very energized,” said his son.

His son went on, “He was always very well prepared. He got that from the Boy Scouts...He remembered everything.”

What his father valued most, Eric Dubowsky said, were his family and his friends. “He didn’t put value in physical possessions,” said Eric. Indeed, Dr. Dubowsky used to make frequent references to his long-on-mileage used cars.

“Me and my mom cleaned out his office today,” Eric said on Monday evening. “There were pictures of the family everywhere...He really valued his relationships.”

He concluded, “People keep calling up to say, ‘Your father is a great man. He really helped me out.’”


Hy Dubowsky is survived by his wife, Carol Kaelin, and their children, Meg Dubowsky and Ryan Dubowsky — all of Guilderland — and their son and daughter-in-law, Eric and Sarah Dubowsky of North Arlington, N.J.

He is also survived by his mother, Doris Dubowsky, and his sister and brother-in-law, Debbie and David Bernstein — all of Livingston, N.J.

A memorial session will be held on Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of Guilderland High School, located at 8 School Road in Guilderland Center.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

From the editor
Hy Dubowsky’s legacy: Further the reach of humankind’s commonality

Painting by Forest Byrd

Hy Dubowsky wasn’t big on handouts but he was big on helping people — all kinds of people.

His son Eric tells a story about how, when his father visited him in New York City, and they would pass panhandlers shaking their cups, Dr. Dubowsky would fill the cups not with coins, but with granola bars.

Dr. Dubowsky said, “They want food,” recalled his son, concluding, “He wanted to help them in a good way.”

Once, when Dr. Dubowsky won a supermarket contest that let him pick up as many groceries as he could in a minute, “He got a ham for the homeless,” said his son.

And, the Dubowsky family would spend the morning of Thanksgiving Day delivering dinners to the homebound.

In his work for the state’s labor department, Dr. Dubowsky developed programs to help society’s marginalized citizens — recently released prisoners, the mentally ill, the down and out — get jobs. He understood that jobs, not handouts, were a ticket to society.

He died on Sunday morning after a 14-month battle with a rare form of lymphoma.  His wife — Carol Kaelin — and his three children — Eric, Ryan, and Meg — were with him at St. Peter’s Hospital when he died.  He was 58. The days before, said Eric, had been like a live wake as people whose lives he had touched came to see him one last time.

“He always would help people and never expect anything in return,” said his son.

Dr. Dubowsky was kind-hearted, but he wasn’t a pushover. Eric tells a story from his childhood when his father was riding the subway in New York one morning. “Someone decided he may be an easy target, in a business suit on the way to work,” Eric recalled. The robber threatened him with a box cutter and told him to give up all his money.

“My father had some of the fastest reflexes known to humankind,” said Eric. “When they do the ruler test, when you hold your hand out and someone drops the ruler…he would catch the ruler at the number zero…My father quickly grabbed his wrist and held the robber under control until the next subway stop and took him off the train to find a police officer.”

Eric concluded, “I think most people would have said, ‘Take my money.’ But not my dad. He was a true New Yorker and showed that criminal his way to justice.”

Dr. Dubowsky worked not just with programs but with individuals. His son gave several heartfelt examples of how he helped people in need find and keep jobs. They came to stand on their own and give back to society.

The same applied to his children.

“He always wanted you to empower yourself,” said Eric.

He coached his kids in most any sport that interested them even if he didn’t play himself.  As a member of the Guilderland Elks, he also oversaw youth activities, ranging from an annual Easter egg hunt to a competitive hoop shoot.

He became a varsity lacrosse referee because his son, Ryan, played.

“I wasn’t the best football player,” said Eric. But Eric wanted to play in college and, he said of his father, “He wouldn’t let me give up on myself.” His father drove with him to various colleges and kept his confidence up. Eric made the team at the University of Rochester.

“He always made you believe you could do whatever you wanted,” said Eric who now works as a bond trader in New York City.

Dr. Dubowsky saw education as critical to individual success and essential to the community. He held five academic degrees himself, but was not a pompous or self-important man. Rather, he was self-deprecating and selfless.

He was also enormously energetic. He first ran in 2005 for a seat on the Guilderland School Board, saying of himself and his wife, Carol Kaelin, “We have three children but, beyond that, we believe that education is the essence of a free and prosperous country.”

Undeterred by defeat, Dr. Dubowsky ran again in 2006 and won. He planned  — despite the cancer — to run for a second term this spring. “This gives me great satisfaction,” he said in October. “It’s been a heck of a three years.”

This past summer, as television cameras rolled, crowds filled the school board meetings like never before. Mostly students, the onlookers protested the transfer of two high school teachers to the middle school. In July, when the nine board members gave their views on whether the board should review the administration’s transfer of the teachers, Dr. Dubowsky was one of only two who favored review.

He had been outspoken before on free-speech issues and calling for accountability from the district’s administration.

When he spoke to that packed room in July, he began by talking of his regard for the other board members but was clear and forceful in stating his own view. “We cannot be so conceited,” he said, “think ourselves so superior to those we represent, to believe that an issue of such importance to the community should not be subject to the scrutiny of those they elected.”

The pin-drop quiet room erupted into applause that lasted for more than a minute.

Dubowsky left that meeting, his son said this week, to go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City for a stem-cell transplant.

“He always looked forward to the next treatment,” said his son, but was willing to push it to get to a meeting he cared about. “He made sure he really stood up for his beliefs and the beliefs of the people he represented,” said his son. “He stood up for the kids.”

In October, as the first strong tremors of the recession were being felt, board members discussed the budget for the following year. Most of them talked of being scared, urged caution, or advised no new initiatives.

Dr. Dubowsky described his view as “totally opposite of my colleagues.” He suggested such initiatives as teleconferences and using distance learning, offering such courses as Chinese, career planning, and grammar boot camp by partnering with other schools.

He said he’d like to expand the music program into the community — offering entertainment in tough times — and establish “an institute for academic excellence.”

Dr. Dubowsky said then of Americans, “We were some of the smartest people around” with intellectual capital that drove the economy. He concluded, “I would not want to back off...As the budget moves forward, are there opportunities we can seize?”

Seizing opportunities — and making them available for others — was a hallmark of Dr. Dubowsky’s life.

He attended his last board meeting in February. He couldn’t drive then and struggled even to walk. But his comments were as insightful and provocative as ever. Hearing a report on the structure of the administration, Dr. Dubowsky said, “I think the study is static. Our charge for the district is, where do we go, not where we are.” Just because similar districts are doing something, he said, doesn’t mean that Guilderland should, too.

He framed these comments with an anecdote from his youth so that the tone was amusing rather than abrasive. Still, he made his point.

Dr. Dubowsky kept living his life, with the same passion he had before his cancer diagnosis. He wasn’t defined by his disease.

“There was never a point until two days ago that he thought he wouldn’t get better,” said his son, Eric, on Monday. “He never complained.”

At the last school board meeting, the board’s vice president noted after a presentation on a new engineering program at the high school, Project Lead the Way, that Dr. Dubowsky had pushed for it. It was appropriate recognition because Dr. Dubowsky did, himself, lead the way, not just in pushing for innovative programs but in energetically questioning and offering new perspectives.

When he first ran for school board, Dr. Dubowsky talked about the importance of learning life’s lessons. He said that his daughter, Meg, who is now a senior at the high school, had just been part of a 30-Hour Famine fund-raiser at St. Madeleine Sophie Church. “They didn’t look at Meg as Jewish,” he said. “She was just accepted and taken into the church for the Famine. These are the kind of barriers we have to break down.”

He concluded, “Kids learn hatred at home...There’s a need to align yourself with something. If you give kids things in school to get involved with, they can belong to something like a sports team, where they see a boy whose a dynamite kicker or a girl who gets up and can really sing. You break it down so you see individuals, you see commonalities.”

Dr. Dubowsky’s legacy is one that will inspire us to see the commonality of the human condition and offer ourselves to further its reach. Another story his son tells is of how he and his father completed an arduous 11-day hike together, scaling New Mexico’s Mount Baldy.

At first, Eric struggled and was buoyed by his father’s support. But then, on the sixth day, when his father’s knees gave out, it was the son who carried the heavy pack so the father could continue the climb. They reached their goal together because they had learned the value of caring, and sharing the burden when the need was greatest.

Melissa Hale-Spencer, editor

Robert G. Asch

Robert G. Asch was a quiet, modest man with simple pleasures, said his son Donald Asch. Mr Asch, an insurance manager and decorated veteran of World War II, he died on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, after a short illness. He was 93.

Mr. Asch was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on May 15, 1915, to William Waldo Asch Jr. and Johanna Augusta Ludder Asch. He was raised in Brooklyn, where he attended Manual Training High School and became an Eagle Scout. He then followed his two older brothers to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1936. He was very active in sports in both high school and college, swimming, and playing football and lacrosse. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity in college. Friendships were very important to his father, said Donald Asch, and he kept in touch with people from both high school and college throughout his life, garnering some 80-year friendships.

Mr. Asch worked for Kemper Insurance in Manhattan, where he met and married Reba Hench in 1942.

The next year, Mr. Asch left to serve in World War II in the Philippines, and missed Donald’s birth in August of 1944. When he returned from the war, with a Purple Heart, he returned to his job at Kemper, and the family moved to Long Island, in the brand new experiment in suburban living called Levittown. Kenneth and Adele Asch were born in Long Island, where the family lived until they moved to Guilderland Center in 1959.

Mr. Asch moved his family to Guilderland to accept a promotion from Kemper, and the Aschs lived in a small, 100-year-old farmhouse. Once in Guilderland, Mr. Asch pursued his various hobbies. He had always loved music, said his son, and he sang in the choir at the Helderberg Reformed Church, as well as in the Capital Hill Choral Society. He played volleyball in an adult league, and was an active member of the Noah Masonic Lodge in Altamont, helping out at the Altamont Fair each year.

Despite his busy work schedule, which took him traveling from county to county, Mr. Asch always had time to attend his children’s sporting events. “He basically worked his schedule around our games,” said his son. He became an avid fan of the Guilderland High School soccer team, which was becoming a local powerhouse, and attended games to watch his children’s friends play, even after his children had graduated.

Reba Asch died in 1973 after a long illness, and Donald said his father took wonderful, loving care of her, and that the two had a great marriage. In 1990, after three marriages, Robert married “the last love of his life,” Mollie Hunter. He met Ms. Hunter in Venice, Fla., where he’d been spending the winters since 1980. “They acted like a couple of teenagers,” said Donald. “It was very sweet, they were very happy.” Mollie Asch survives him, and lives in the Venice retirement community where they’d had an apartment.

Mr. Asch enjoyed his “simple pleasures” throughout the later years of his life, said his son. He loved music and the theater, and always had passes to the symphonies and ballets at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. One of his favorite places to be was on the beach, and, while in Venice, he took a walk by the water nearly every single day. He swam in the Hudson near his summer cabin in Lake Luzerne or in the pool at the retirement community.

Mr. Asch continued to be active in the Lafayette Alumni Association, writing a class column for its magazine for over 50 years. He organized his high school reunions right up until the year 2000, and often visited his old friends during his migrations to Florida.

The family had a good, close relationship, despite being scattered throughout the country, said Donald Asch, getting together every summer for the Fourth of July at a family house in the Catskills. They were always happy when Mr. Asch would join them for a few weeks, he said.

Robert Asch was a “loving husband, good father, and loyal friend,” said his son.


Robert G. Asch is survived by his wife of 18 years, Mollie Asch; his three children, Donald Asch and his wife, Susan, of New York, N.Y., Kenneth Asch and his wife, Diane, of Tuscon, Ariz., and Adele Dalenberg and her husband, Jim, of Oakland, N.J.; nine grandchildren, Debbie Asch and her husband, Curt Elfenbein, Rebecca and Jared Asch, Erin, Jordan, Nathan, and Linden Asch, and Ken and Lucas Dalenberg; and one great-grandchild, Matilda Elfenbein Asch.

He is also survived by the children of his brothers, Bill and Emerson; his nephew, Tony Asch, and niece, Yanna Saari, and her husband, Len Saari, and niece Joan Brown; and several great nieces and nephews.

— Anne Hayden

Nancy I. Edmunds

VOORHEESVILLE — Nancy Edmunds, whose honest kindness could not be taken advantage of, died on March 3, 2009. She was 78.

Growing up a city girl, Mrs. Edmunds was the daughter of a successful pediatrician in New York who worked from the 1920s through the Depression, said her son, Dr. Frederick Edmunds Jr. Often, people wouldn’t be able to pay their bills and the doctor would accept eggs and homemade goods in exchange for services, he said.

Mrs. Edmunds went on to the University of Rochester, where she began a pre-med program. In the library one day, though, a man approached her to say that his friend would like to ask her for a date. In short order, Frederick Edmunds came to her table and apologized for whatever his friend had said, adding that it was surely untrue. “So you don’t want to ask me out?” she said.

The pair married and Mr. Edmunds took a job with a law practice in the Capital District. And, although each had been raised in a city, they wanted to live on a farm with lots of children. The Edmundses ended up buying a run-down farm in New Scotland, which they fixed up themselves, and raised six children down the road from the Voorheesville high school.

Every year, Mrs. Edmunds would plant a vegetable garden that was “always too big,” her son said.

“We always planted corn,” he said. “It never grew.” She enlisted all of her children to work on the vegetable patch.

“You didn’t mess with Mom,” Dr. Edmunds said of the way he was raised. “She was very strong willed.” His parents were always in synch, he said; there was no room for mixed messages to their children.

Later on, Mrs. Edmunds began selling real estate. “By the time you have that sixth kid, you go a little stir crazy,” he said of what propelled her into the business.

She was a very smart, curious person, Dr. Edmunds said of his mother. She began her pre-med program because she liked helping people, and in real estate, she helped people find happiness, he said.

Mrs. Edmunds enjoyed her work with Roberts Realty for 20 years, and she was especially fond of the Hilltowns and the Altamont area for its rural beauty, said her son.

Over the years, Mr. Edmunds’s interest in history had led him to end up with a sizeable collection of Civil War era arms and the couple decided to move to Gettysburg, where they opened a Civil War museum. Mrs. Edmunds ran the museum for the decade it was open and liked it, again, for the chance to meet with people, said her son.

For years, the couple would go to Vero Beach in Florida, where Mrs. Edmunds’s mother was, and they moved there permanently in 2006.

“Greatly respected by friends, neighbors, and colleagues, she was a pillar of strength and stability in the communities she participated in. Her honesty, integrity, and curiosity served as a model for her children,” wrote her family in a tribute. “She was the love of her [husband’s] life, and provided the foundation for their remarkable relationship.”


Mrs. Edmunds is survived by her husband, Frederick Edmunds, and her children: Stephanie Adams of Social Circle, Ga.; Dr. Geoffrey Edmunds of Voorheesville; Linda Friedrich of Ft. Pierce, Fla.; Dr. Frederick Edmunds Jr. of Victor, N.Y.; Emme Edmunds of Ithaca, N.Y.; and Thomas Edmunds of Middleburgh. She is also survived by her brother, George Irving, eight grandchildren, a great-grandchild, and dog, Putch.

A memorial will be held at 2 p.m. on March 15 at the Cox-Gifford-Seawinds Funeral Home in Vero Beach, Fla. A guest book may be signed at www.seawindsfh.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the VNA Hospice Foundation, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, FL 32960.

Saranac Hale Spencer

Harriet R. Flower

DELANSON — Family came first for Harriet R. Flower, a strong woman who loved to laugh.

“She loved her friends and family,” said her granddaughter, Holly Busch. “She never missed one of the kids’ being born and she never missed a birthday.”

Mrs. Flowers died on Saturday, March 7, 2009, at the Guilderland Center Nursing Home. She was 90.

“Towards the end, we all called her Ancient. She was the Ancient Grandma and she loved that name,” said Mrs. Busch. Mrs. Flower had four children, seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Busch had a special bond with her grandmother. She recalled of her high school years, “For Senior Skip Day, I didn’t go out with my friends. I had lunch with my Grandma.”

“She was a great mother,” said Mrs. Flower’s daughter, Marguerite Heath. “She was always there for all of us kids.”

Her life wasn’t always easy, though. She was born in Oak Hill, N.Y., the daughter of the late Harold and Marguerite Moore.

“She lost her mom when she was 17,” said Mrs. Heath. “That was hard. But she was strong. And she enjoyed life.”

Then she lost her first husband, Willard Bink, when Mrs. Heath was just 10 months old. The couple had married in the wee hours of Christmas morning, said Mrs. Heath. Serving in the military, Mr. Bink was stationed in South Carolina and the couple set out to find a reverend to marry them on Christmas Eve, she said, but the actual ceremony didn’t take place until after midnight.

“She just loved Christmas,” said Mrs. Heath. “That was her special day.”

She met John E. Flower, the man who would become her husband, at a dance. She didn’t know him at the time and was dancing with someone else. Mr. Flower approached the dancing couple, recounts Mrs. Busch, and asked, “What are you doing dancing with my wife?”

Mrs. Heath, Mrs. Busch’s mother, tells the same story a little differently. In her version, when Mr. Flower approached the dancing couple, he announced, “That’s the woman I’m going to marry.”

The marriage lasted 51 years, ending only with Mr. Flower’s death in 2003.

Mrs. Flower worked for 13 years as a stenographer for New York State, retiring in 1981. Mrs. Busch is a stenographer, too, and said, “We were the only two in the family who knew shorthand and we could write back and forth and know what it meant.”

Mrs. Busch said of her grandmother, “She wasn’t the type to spoil you, but you knew she loved you. She always knitted us mittens for Christmas.”

In their later years, Harriet and John Flower spent their winters at a campsite in Florida, so the family celebrated Christmas in July when they were home.

The couple enjoyed camping and was particularly fond of Kingyan’s Canyon in Nassau, said Mrs. Busch. “They loved the people they met camping,” she said. “They had fun joking together. My Grandma was a very funny person. She used to joke around and put on skits.

“She was a chubby lady. Her clothes were always mismatched. She didn’t care about fashion. She loved her friends and family. I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t like her. If someone was arguing, she wouldn’t get in it. She wouldn’t judge people.”

Mrs. Flower was involved in a number of community organizations. A resident of Delanson since 1963, she was a life member of the ladies auxiliaries of the Delanson, Altamont, and Guilderland Center fire departments.

In her later years, she joined the Altamont Seniors. “Every Tuesday, she was ready to go,” said Mrs. Heath, referring to the Seniors’ meeting day. “Some other days, I had a heck of a time getting her out, but not on Tuesdays.” Mrs. Flower liked the Seniors’ trips and bingo games, and most of all the social interaction, said Mrs. Heath.

Her mother also enjoyed country music, said Mrs. Heath, particularly Renée Lussier, a country singer from Knox. “I’d take Mom to see Renée as many times as I could,” said Mrs. Heath. “She’d be tapping her feet and she’d say, ‘That’s our girl.’”

She concluded of her mother, “She was happy. She liked everybody. She cared about people being comfortable. She could mingle with a crowd no matter where we were.”


Harriet R. Flower is survived by her daughter, Marguerite Heath, and her husband, Allen, of Altamont; her son, Robert Flower Sr., and his wife, Sandra, of Delanson; her daughter-in-law, Joan Bink, of Indiana; seven grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

Her husband of 51 years, John E. Flower, died in 2003. Her two sons, Willard Bink and Frederick Flower, also died before her as did a sister, Clare Moore. Her first husband, Willard Bink, also died before her.

Funeral services were held on March 10 at the Bond funeral Home in Schenectady, with interment in Memory’s Garden.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of choice.

Melissa Hale-Spencer

Amos Edward Hallenbeck

WESTERLO –– A strong-willed man who was a leader all of his life, Amos Edward Hallenbeck, worked as commissoner of the Albany County Highway Department.

 He died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease at the age on 87 on Sunday, March 8, 2009.

“He was a stubborn man, a strong-willed person,” said his son, Amos Hallenbeck Jr. “He took care of his family and he took care of his extended family.”

Mr. Hallenbeck was born on March 5, 1922 in Coeymans, the son of the late Edward and Anna Hallenbeck. He grew up hard, losing his mother at age 12. “That is a really young age to lose your mother,” said his son. “His whole life changed after that.”

Mr. Hallenbeck was the brother of Harold, Beatrice Tallman, and Bernice Helijas –– all deceased. His brother died young, leaving a widow with six children. “My father made sure their family stayed together and had what they needed. That’s the way he was with everybody,” said his son. “He’d rather be active, involved.”

 He was married to Viola Snyder for 51 years before she died of cancer in 1994.

“He took care of Viola to the very end. He was mainly an outdoor person, but stuck by her bed for the final three weeks,” Mr. Hallenbeck Jr. said. “He grieved for a long time, but eventually moved on.”

Mr. Hallenbeck’s last job was as Albany County commissioner of highways, where he met his surviving second wife, Alice Cox, who was his secretary. “He was a very responsible man; that’s why he earned that position,” said his son. “He fixed a lot of roads in his day.”

After serving as a staff sergeant in World War II, Mr. Hallenbeck worked as the number one crane operator at the Voorheesville Army depot until it closed. He then moved to his commissioner position, retiring in 1987.

Mr. Hallenbeck was an active community member and leader. He was a lifetime member of the Westerlo Volunteer Fire Department and founding member of the Westerlo Volunteer Rescue Squad, serving as president for many years.

“That’s how much my dad sought out to help people,” Mr. Hallenbeck Jr. said. “He would never have to be asked to help anyone or with anything. If someone lost a job, he helped them find another.”

Mr. Hallenbeck also served as president of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Board of Education, was commander of American Legion Post 1493, in Voorheesville, and was a member of the Berne Masonic Lodge. Mr. Hallenbeck was active in politics as the Westerlo Democratic Party chairman for several years.

“Everyone was happy to have him so involved in the community,” said his son. “He was always doing something important. I don’t think he ever had a free moment to himself.”

Bowling was his favorite hobby before and after retirement. He was an avid bowler into his eighties, until Alzheimer’s would no longer let him.

“He was stubborn, but strong willed. He was the mainstay of the family,” Mr Hallenbeck Jr. reiterated. In addition to his wife, Alice Cox, “His final years were really hard on him because he loved being busy. He hated sitting around after the Alzheimer’s took over. You could see it in his eyes.”


Amos Edward Hallenbeck is survived by three children: Amos Hallenbeck Jr. and his wife, Deborah, of Virginia Beach; Richard Hallenbeck and his wife, Marie, of Voorheesville; and Joanne Hallenbeck and her fiancé, Stephen Van Etten, of Voorheesville.

He is also survived by two stepchildren; David Sperbeck and his wife, Anita, of Voorheesville and Diane Deschenes and her husband, Albert (Bud), of Voorheesville. In addition, he is survived by seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 14, at 11:00 a.m. at the Cunningham Funeral Home in Greenville. Calling hours will be held from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, March 13. A luncheon for friends and family will be held at the Westerlo Reformed Church after the service on Saturday. Interment will be in the Westerlo Rural Cemetery in the spring.

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association, 85 Watervliet Avenue, Albany, NY 12206.

–– Jordan J. Michael

Frank William White

Frank William White, a decorated World War II veteran and later an auto and truck mechanic, died on March 3, 2009 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy.

A former Schoharie resident, he was 88.

He is survived by his four children — a son, Dennis, and daughters, Eileen, Kathy, and Martha (Mindy) and their families.

A memorial service will be held in late spring or early summer, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Berne. The date and time will be announced.

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