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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 16, 2009

Audrey Helen Bentley

VOORHEESVILLE — Audrey Helen Bentley, who was a long-time resident of Voorheesville, died on July 9, 2009 at the Good Samaritan Home in Delmar.

Born in Jamestown, N.Y. on Feb. 17, 1918, she was the daughter of the late Frank and Marion Swanson.

Mrs. Bentley went to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she graduated in 1940 as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society before going on to get a specialist degree from Grasslands Hospital in Westchester County, N.Y. She then became a member of the American Dietetic Association, her family wrote in a tribute.

In 1943, she married the late William G. Bentley and the couple celebrated 57 years together.

During World War II, Mrs. Bentley was the chief dietician at the Buffalo Children’s Hospital and she later worked in that capacity at Cornell University.

In an eclectic career, Mrs. Bentley wrote for the Three Village Calendar on Long Island and was the executive secretary for the Setauket, New York United Methodist Church.

Here, she worked for 13 years as the assistant librarian at the Voorheesville Elementary School. She was also a member of the Voorheesville United Methodist Church and served as a past treasurer and a member of the board. She was also a volunteer for the American Red Cross and was a past president of the Good Samaritan Resident Council.

On Sept. 17, 2008, Mrs. Bentley was honored by the Capital Senior Issues Forum with a Senior Lifetime Achievement Award.

“She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and a good friend and caring individual,” her family wrote in a tribute. “She will be missed and fondly remembered by all those that knew her.”


Mrs. Bentley is survived by her sons, Bruce Bentley, and his wife, CherylAnn, and Timothy Bentley. She is also survived by her five grandchildren: Christopher, Brian, Philipp, William, and Annika.

Her husband, William G. Bentley, died before her as did their son, William Bentley.

A memorial service was held at the Voorheesville United Methodist Church on July 11 with arrangements by Reilly & Son Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Diabetes Association or the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

John Dornbush

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — John Dornbush was a quiet hero.

As he fought cancer over the last four-and-a-half years, Mr. Dornbush continued his service as a school board member; he continued his work helping university students find financial aid; he continued his commitment to his church, St. Lucy’s in Altamont; and, most of all, he continued his love and caring for friends and family.

He died on July 8, 2009, in the arms of his family. He was 59.

“John had no pretense,” said his wife of 34 years, Mary DiLella Dornbush. “He was upfront.”

Mr. Dornbush actively looked for — and somehow found — the positive parts of even the most horrendous experiences.

When, as vice president of the school board, he decided to run for re-election last year, he was in the midst of difficult cancer treatments.

Mr. Dornbush said then of the disease, “It gives you a chance to step back and re-assess and figure out what’s important. For me, it’s relationships, and I’m passionate about education…I know it’s going to sound corny, but I believe education for everyone is the only thing that’s going to save this planet.”

Mr. Dornbush had served on the Guilderland School Board since 1999; he was vice president under Richard Weisz, who came on the year after.

“The Guilderland school community has lost a great friend with the passing of John Dornbush,” Mr. Weisz said this week. “Always unassuming and courteous, he was a passionate supporter of children and education. He would challenge us to do the best we could. He’ll be sorely missed.”

Mr. Weisz went on to say, “I’ve always considered him one of my personal champions because he would do what he thought in a quiet way and would continue to do it even when he was ill…He continued to pursue his passion….Maybe in a world that’s all about theatrics, people would overlook him.”

Mr. Dornbush had an interest in seeing that the schools met the needs of each child — whether gifted or struggling. He also pushed, along with board member Hy Dubowsky, for more emphasis on technology and on math and science training.

“He had a perspective on technology and the future of education,” said Mr. Weisz. “It’s tragic that both he and Hy who shared that vision are both gone.” Mr. Dubowsky died in March of cancer.

Mr. Weisz concluded of Mr. Dornbush, “He was my vice president last year and, whenever I was trying to figure out a way to handle something and I would seek his counsel, I would respect what he had to say. I’m really going to miss him…He tried to figure out how to do the right thing no matter the circumstances.

“Everyone would listen to him because they knew he had no personal agenda other than doing the right thing. I miss his enthusiasm. I will miss his smile.”

Family man

A native of Pearl River, N.Y., Mr. Dornbush was born on Jan. 6, 1950. He was the son of the late Albert C. and Antoinette J. Polcin Dornbush. His father was a research microbiologist at Lederle Laboratory. “He was on the ground floor, in the early ‘40s, developing broad spectrum antibiotics,” said Mr. Dornbush of his father. “When he died, I found out he had seven patents and had written dozens of scientific papers…and he did it all with a bachelor’s degree.”

John Dornbush earned both undergraduate and advanced degrees from the University of Albany.

He met the love of his life, Mary DiLella, there as an undergraduate. He was a history major from downstate; she was an English major from central New York.

“We loved doing shows,” said Mrs. Dornbush. “I was a techie. John did some acting. He was on my crew. I like to brag that I taught him how to use power tools.”

When Mr. Dornbush finally got up the nerve to ask her on a date — it was on Dec. 8, 1972 — they hit it off immediately. “We were definitely attracted to one another,” said Mrs. Dornbush. “That’s all she wrote.”

Although they married when she was 25, Mrs. Dornbush didn’t have her first child until she was 33. “We went to graduate school. We thought we were too poor,” said Mrs. Dornbush. “We were late bloomers. We always said, you can know all the reasons not to have children. But you can’t know the great joy you feel until you do it. All the doubts are gone in a blink.”

Their first son, Stephen, was born in 1983. They lost an infant son, David, two years later. They fought through the grief and had a third son, Eric.

“John was a great dad,” said Mrs. Dornbush, noting that words trivialize his role. “He set a wonderful example for them and loved them deeply. He taught them how to give back. They have a good moral compass because of their Dad.”

Mr. Dornbush also cared deeply about his work, his wife said. “Most of his career, he worked in financial aid,” she said. He worked at his alma mater, the University at Albany for over 30 years. “John was the history of his office,” said Mrs. Dornbush.

Because he was so familiar with all the complex regulations, he could guide students and their families, often helping them out of a bind, she said.

Mr. Dornbush had a degree in counseling psychology and student development, and practiced what he was taught — “He was a student advocate,” said his wife. “It made a difference what he did.” Over the years, Mr. Dornbush received many heartfelt thank-you notes from families he had helped.

At work, he was also a negotiator for the United University Professions. “He knew how to listen and compromise to cut to the quick and get to what was important,” said his wife.

“Bring it on”

As he faced cancer, he cut to the quick, too. He knew what was important — life. “John loved life,” said his wife. “He was fighting this illness because he wanted to live.”

In the midst of intense immune therapy at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Mrs. Dornbush recalled, where her husband endured “horrible side effects,” as he faced treatments three times a day, he’d say, “Bring it on.”

Talking about his disease before he died, Mr. Dornbush spoke about it matter-of-factly. “In December of 2004, my wife found a mole on my back that looked funny,” he said. “She said, ‘Go to the doctor,’ which I did. The mole was removed and biopsied and I was told it was a nodular melanoma, which is the bad kind.”

As the cancer spread, he said, “I don’t look at the numbers too much because they’re not good.”

As a listener struggled to find a word to describe his attitude — an uncanny combination of courage and nonchalance — Mr. Dornbush supplied the word: “It’s acceptance,” he said. “If anything, cancer has helped me realize who I am and what I value. I have a great family. Mary, Stephen, and Eric have sustained me.”

He also talked about a car accident he had been in 12 years ago. “It was a head-on collision,” he said. “I came close to dying, but it wasn’t my time…I learned then how many friends I had. People came out of the woodwork to help me.”

The same thing happened as he battled cancer, his wife said. His longtime friends stood by him and helped.

Mr. Dornbush also relied on his religion. “I’m very spiritual,” he said. “I was raised Catholic and I’m a practicing Catholic but I won’t let my Catholic practice confine me. I see values in all religions. I think they are all simply different ways of looking at God and reality. None of them are perfect, but mostly they’re good.”

Mr. Dornbush smiled as he went on, “I have churches praying for me in Ireland; I have a prayer blanket from my brother’s congregation in Pennsylvania; Peter Golden,” he said, referring to a former school board member, “lit a candle for me at Notre Dame in Paris — and he’s Jewish.” Mr. Dornbush chuckled. “You do what you gotta do,” he said.


In addition to his wife, Mary DiLella Dornbush, and his two sons, Stephen and Eric Dornbush, John P. Dornbush is survived by his brothers, Carl Dornbush and his wife, Mary, of Blauvelt, N.Y. and Mark Dornbush and his wife, Denise, of Hanover, Pa.; his stepmother, Carol Dornbush of Pearl River, N.Y.; and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Saturday at St. Lucy’s Church in Altamont. Arrangements are by DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home of Guilderland.

Memorial contributions may be made to the John P. Dornbush Scholarship Fund, 6076 State Farm Road, Guilderland NY 12084 or to St. Lucy’s Church, Post Office Box 678, Altamont, NY 12009.

Florence A. Forand

Florence (Larrow) Forand, a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, died on Tuesday, July 6, 2009, at Wells Nursing Home, in Johnstown, N.Y. She was 95.

Mrs. Forand was born in Vergennes, Vt., on March 15, 1914, to William Foster and Edith Emma Rondeau Larrow. From the age of four months, she was raised by a very dear aunt, Delania Larrow Daniels.

Mrs. Forand graduated from Vergennes High School, where she was class valedictorian, in 1931. She married Adrien G. Forand on April 18, 1932, at St. Peter’s Church in Vergennes.

The couple moved to Boonville, N.Y. in 1945, where Mr. Forand worked at Sheffield Farms Milk Processing Plant. They enjoyed a marriage of over 60 years, before Mr. Forand died on Dec. 26, 1995.

Mrs. Forand was an active member of St. Joseph’s Church in Boonville.

Florence Forand is survived by her son, Paul, and his wife, Linda, of Altamont; her daughter, Suzanne Whitcavitch, and her husband, Bruce; 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Her husband, Adrien G. Forand, died before her, as did her son, Adrien G. Jr. Forand, her daughter, Barbara Forand Raven, and her grandson, Jason Whitcavitch.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held today at St. Joseph’s Church in Boonville, with interment to follow in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Arrangements are by the Trainor Funeral Home in Boonville.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

Marion E. Pitcher

EAST BERNE — Marion E. Pitcher, a loving wife, mother, and grandmother, died on Sunday, July 12, 2009, at the Center for Living and Rehabilitation in Bennington, Vt. She was 92.

Mrs. Pitcher was born in Rochester, Mass., on June 22, 1917, to Hiram E. Gould and Hannah E. (Dustin) Gould. She attended Bridgewater State College before marrying R. Alton Pitcher on April 26, 1936.

Mrs. Pitcher and her husband moved to Hyannis and North Quincy, Mass., before moving to East Berne in 1947, where they re-purchased Mr. Pitcher’s family farm.

After her husband died in 1975, Mrs. Pitcher moved back to her family home in West Wareham, Mass., where she lived for many years. In 2001, she moved to Bennington, Vt., to be near her daughter.

Marion E. Pitcher is survived by her daughter, Janet Fabricius, and her husband, Dr. Richard Fabricius, of Bennington, Vt.; her son, Rudolph A. Pitcher, and his wife, Connie Pitcher, of Huntsville, Al.; and, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

A graveside funeral service will be held on Monday, July 20, at the Rochester Center Cemetery, where she will be interred in her family burial plot. Arrangements are by Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, in Bennington, Vt.

Memorial contributions may be made to a charity of one’s choice. To send the family personal condolences, visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

Robert Foster Scott, M.D. FRCPS

ALTAMONT — Dr. Robert Foster Scott, a revered teacher and a researcher in anatomic pathology, died on July 2, 2009.

“All who knew him remember him with love and affection,” his family wrote in a tribute. “He will be missed.”

Dr. Scott was born in 1925, the son of Dr. J. W. and Ellen (Foster) Scott in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

A graduate of the University of Alberta with a bachelor of science degree, he received his medical degree in 1951. He did his post graduate training as a resident and research fellow in pathology at the universities of Alberta, British Columbia, Washington University of St. Louis, and London University, England.

After a staff appointment at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Scott joined the faculty of Albany Medical College, retiring in 1993 as Emeritus Professor of Pathology. His major academic interests were in anatomic pathology teaching and research. He was a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

For some years, Dr. Scott was chief of the autopsy service at AMC. He won several awards in recognition of his superb teaching to medical students, and served four years on the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Dr. Scott co-authored over 70 research papers, mostly dealing with atherosclerosis and he was co-founder and first host of the Arterial Wall Society, and served on the National Institutes of Health Study Section.

He was a consultant to the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Albany and to the New York Department of Education, serving on teams assessing off-shore medical schools.

Dr. Scott is survived by his wife of 55 years, Gwendolyn Aileen (Bailey) Scott. They shared an enthusiasm for fishing under the guidance of Al Anderson of Three Forks Montana. Dr. Scott’s other interests included woodworking, model ships, clocks, oriental rugs, and wine.

Dr. Scott is also survived by his son Sean Scott, J.D., and his wife Rhett, of Colo., and daughters, Dr. Glynis Scott and her husband, Sam Crabb of Rochester N.Y., Dr. Shannon Scott and her husband, Leonard Garrison of Idaho; his grandchildren Ian, Arthur and Samantha; his step-granddaughter Codi; and his sister, Dr. Moira Finnegan of Victoria, B.C.

A private memorial service may be observed at a future date.

Marion H. Simmons

Marion H. Simmons — a waitress and homemaker — is described by her family as a devoted wife and loving mother and grandmother.

She died on Thursday, July 2, at the Hospice Inn of St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. She was 86. For the last several years she resided at the Ohav Shalom Apartments in Albany.

She was born in Secaucus, N. J. On Feb 2, 1923, daughter of the late George and Helen (Olisca) Pallag. When her health permitted, she volunteered at the Ohav Shalom Apartments where she leaves behind many friends.

“Throughout the years, she lent many encouraging words to those she served as a waitress in Manhattan and Dutchess County (T-Man, Seven Stars),” her family wrote in a tribute.

She is survived by her children: Raymond Ross, Susan (Hardisty) Croote and Alan, and Doreen Tong and Larry M.; her grandchildren, Everett Ross, Mary Katherine Ross, Christine and James Hardisty, Nicholas and Justin Tong; great-grandchild, Eva Marie Ross, stepsister Anne Shull; four step grandchildren; and one step great-grandchild.

Her husband, Howard Simmons, died before her as did her stepmother, Mary Cloud, and her brother, Andrew Pallag.

A funeral service was held July 7 at the First Baptist Church of Westerlo. Arrangements were by the Cunningham Funeral Home in Greenville. Interment was in the LaGrange Rural Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Westerlo or to the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital.

Richard R. Eldred — Burial of Ashes

Richard R. Eldred, who had lived in Knox died on March 11, 2009 at St. Peters Hospital in Albany. He was 73. A graveside service will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2009 at the Knox Cemetery at 2 p.m.

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