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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 1, 2010

Kenneth Conley

CENTRAL BRIDGE — Kenneth Conley, and old-time trapper and fur buyer, died on May 5, 2010, at the age of 76. He was scheduled for triple bypass surgery after suffering heart trouble for about a year. “As his daughter Tammie, was wheeling him into Ellis Hospital in Schenectady for the surgery, the Lord called him home to that great fur shed in the sky,” his family and friends wrote tribute.

“Ken was known to all outdoorsmen in the surrounding counties of Albany, Schoharie, Montgomery, Fulton, Otsego, Delaware, and Green as a trusted and professional trapper and fur buyer. Over the years, trappers and fur hunters brought thousands of pelts to Ken for sale,” said the tribute. All sportsmen enjoyed the warm and friendly in his fur shed, which was always welcoming to all. Many a lively and spirited hunting and trapping story was shared while sitting around his old wood stove. A bottomless pot of coffee was always there for all to share. If you were luck, you might just be in time for a big bowl of his homemade clam chowder. It never lasted long.”

Mr. Conley was the son of the late Lawrence and Mary Doyle Connolly and was born in Staten Island, N.Y. on Oct. 2, 1933. His parents moved to Broome Center when he was 3 years old. The family later moved to Worcester and later still to Schoharie, N.Y.

Mr. Conley was married to Shirley Shell of West Berne, on Aug. 22, 1953. Together they raised five children. “His beloved Shirley passed away in 2003,” said the tribute. “Ken frequently expressed how much he missed her. They were a great team.”

As Mr. Conley grew up, he held various jobs on the surrounding dairy farms and frequently drove teams of horses to bring in loads of hay and other crops. He worked at the Penn-Dixie cement plant at Howe’s Cave, for 25 years. He then went on to work at the Owens-Corning fiberglass plant in Delmar for five years.

Living near the banks of the Schoharie Creek, Mr. Conley started trapping, hunting, and fishing at an early age. “As he grew up, sometimes school seemed to get in the way of time spent in the great outdoors, but he did find time to be on the Schoharie High School basketball and bowling teams,” the tribute said. He graduated from high school in 1951.

In 1973, having had a very successful trapping season that year, he found himself with 114 raccoon and 750 muskrat pelts as well as many other assorted fox, mink, and beaver pelts. “The best prices being paid locally at that time, were about $1.50 for the ‘coon and 75 cents for the muskrat pelts. His friends and fellow trappers encouraged him to start buying fur from other trappers to resell in New York City where prices were higher,” the tribute said. In those days, there were many streets in the city completely devoted to the fur business. George Hesig had a rural newspaper delivery route in the area at that time, and like to go with Ken on his trapline to help haul in the large catches of fur.

“As the years rolled on, and fur prices climbed in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Ken bought upwards of 10,000 muskrats, 15,000 ‘coons, and between five and six hundred deer hides a year. His son, Dennis accompanied him on many trips to New York City to sell furs. For years, he sold many furs to Warren Krumm in Liberty, N.Y. Many of the deer hides he sold to George “The Deer Man” Hesig in South Edmestson. Ken continued buying and selling fur and hides every year up to the time of his death, 37 years in all.

“Ken loved the out of doors and anything that had to do with it. He was a member of the New York State Trappers Association, and the Middleburg Rod and Gun Club. As a father, he loved taking his sons hunting and on the trap line. He taught them all the tricks of the craft. He also found time to coach his sons’ Babe Ruth, and later his sons’ Little League teams.

“Many trappers came to him for advice, encouragement, and instructions on the proper care of the pelts that they caught. As a service to his customers, he purchased lures and trapping supplies from his friend Pete Rickerd and made them available when trappers sold their furs to him.

“As a trapper, he would start out early each morning from fall to spring, to check his line, setting an example for all to emulate. He firmly believed in the vital role that trapping plays in helping to conserve all wildlife. His advice to young trappers was, ‘Never bother another trapper’s traps;’ when you set a trap, check it every 24 hours,” and last but not least to ‘Take care of your catch in a humane way.’

“Ken will be sorely missed by his loving family and all who knew him. He was one of the old-time trappers and fur buyers,” the tribute concluded. “His friendly encouragement and sage advice will long be remembered by many. He was respected, honest, above board, and a straight shooter all the way. His passing has created a large void in the fur business in upstate New York.”


Mr. Conely is survived by his five children: Sherry Nelson of Schoharie, Bruce Conley of Galway, Dennis Conley of Schoharie, Tammy Cleveland of Schoharie, and Chris Conley of Sharon Springs.

Also surviving are his 10 grandchildren: Jeremy and Linda Conley, Timmy and Jennifer Nelson, Keisha Foland and Cassidy Marsh, Gregory and Seana Cleveland, and Cody and Kyle Conley; and four great-grandchildren: Dillan and Alcia Foland, and Madison and Zacharey Marsh. 

Garland M. Cross

BERNE — Garland M. Cross, a Vietnam era veteran and an inventor, died on Friday, June 25, 2010 after a short illness. He was 70.

He was born in the town of Broome, to the late Arthur and Evelyn Cross. He was a 1958 graduate of the Berne-Knox Central School.

He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam era.

He worked for General Electric for over 30 years, eventually retiring from Research and Development.

He worked as part of a team at GE, and several patents bear Cross’s name.

He was an avid bowler, who bowled a perfect game certified by the ABC. He enjoyed hunting, bingo and socializing at Papa Joe’s.

He was a member of the American Legion Post 977, Altamont.

He is survived by his daughter Julie Briggs and her husband, Ray; his beloved grandson Jonathan Briggs; two sisters, Lois Dittmar and Anna Mae Garrett; a brother Gerry Cross and his wife, Barbara; a niece, Wendy DeLeon, and her son, Evan, as well as many other nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held on Tuesday, June 29 the at Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont followed by an interment in Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne.

Memorial contributions may be made to Marathon for a Better Life, Post Office Box 268, Warnerville, NY 12187. 

Anita Eva Dabravalskas

NEW SCOTLAND — Anita Eva Dabravalskas, a homemaker and animal caretaker, died on June 24, 2010. She was 85.

Born Anita Eva Rockefellow, she married Joseph Dabravalskas. The couple raised three children together.

In addition to being a homemaker, Mrs. Dabravalskas worked for the Delmar Animal Hospital.

Mrs. Dabravalskas is survived by her husband, Joseph, and her children: John Dabravalskas and his wife, Barb, of Duanesburg; Jim Dabravalskas and his wife, Vickie, of Columbus, Ohio; and Theresa Deyoe and her husband, Doug, of Clarksville. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren as well as numerous relatives.

Her sister, Edna Dunston Pittz, died before her.

The family thanks Peter and Lori Whitehouse and Sister Mary Frederick for their caregiving.

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on Monday at the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Delmar. Arrangements were by the Meyers Funeral Home with interment in the Calvary Cemetery in Glenmont.

Jeffrey Paul Horowitz

Jeffrey Paul Horowitz, described by his family as a loving, caring soul, died on June 26, 2010. He was 31.

Mr. Horowitz was born on May 1, 1979, in Middletown, N.Y., to Gary and Jeanne Lawrie Horowitz. He graduated from Ellenville Central Schools. He was living in Schenectady, and working as a correctional officer for the Coxsackie Correctional Facility.

He was a devoted Mets fan, and loved watching sports.

“Jeff was a loving, caring soul with a pure heart and he never let anyone down,” wrote his family in a tribute.

He is survived by his parents, Gary and Jeanne Horowitz, of Ellenville, NY; his sister, Robyn Caiazzo, and her husband, Timothy, of Cobleskill; an honorary brother and sister-in-law, Esteban and Kimberly Harris Martinez; and one honorary niece, Iliana, of Roanoke, Va.

He is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends, who will miss him tremendously and never forget him, his family wrote.

A celebration of life was held on Wednesday, at Loucks Funeral Home in Ellenville. Interment followed at the Fantinekill Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Scorsby Hose, Hook & Ladder Company, 1 Libtery Square, Ellenville, N.Y. 12428, or to the Coxsackie Correctional Facility, Post Office Box 200, Coxsackie, N.Y. 12051, care of Jamie Young.

Doris Vojnar

GUILDERLAND — Doris “Dottie” Vojnar, a kind woman with a great sense of humor, died peacefully on June 25, 2010, following a long illness, surrounded by family. She was 85.

Mrs. Vojnar was born in 1925, in Chickapee, Mass., and later moved to New York. She was employed by General Electric in Schenectady.

She was a volunteer with hospice, and loved baking for her family, going to garage sales, and taking care of her pets. Her daughter, also named Doris, said her mother especially loved cats, and was always giving sick, stray, and injured cats a home.

Mrs. Vojnar’s family described her as “an extremely kind and caring woman who loved her children and her pets.” She had a great sense of humor, enjoyed spreading laughter, and was an inspiration to many, said her family. They referred to her as “the boss,” and the leader of the family.

Her daughter said Mrs. Vojnar would want the memories of her to be happy ones, and to leave behind the echo of laughter.

“She would want the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun of happy times,” her daughter said.


Doris Vojnar is survived by her long-time companion, Angelo Maisonave; her best friend, William S. Vojnar; her six sons, William Vojnar, and his wife, Dorothy, of Esperance, Randy Vojnar, of Coolee Dam, Wash., Dan Vojnar, and his wife, Lonya, of Guilderland, Jack Vojnar, of Schenectady, Shawn Vojnar, and his wife, Michele, of Guilderland, and Robert Vojnar, and his wife, Sara, of Rexford; her three daughters, Doris “Dorie” Vojnar, of Cohoes, Kathleen Watford, and her husband, Don, of Garden City Beach, S.C., and Audrey Kearns, and her husband, Ron, of Guilderland; and her daughter-in-law, Sharon Vojnar, of Guilderland.

She is also survived by her grandchildren, Lisa, William and David Vojnar, of Guilderland; Alaya and Tamira Vojnar, of Lopez Island, Wash.; Jeromey Vojnar, of Schenectady; Jack Vojnar Jr., of Orlando, Fla.; and Jessica Domey of Troy. She is survived, too, by her great-grandchildren, Arik, Willy, and Connor Vojnar, and Brandon Watson.

Her parents, Charles and Mildred Phillips, died before her, as did her sister, Maxine Sholosky.

The family would like to thank LeeAnn Favato, Mrs. Vojnar’s caregiver, and Tiffany, Alice and the staff of hospice, and all of the members of the community that have offerend their support.

A funeral was held on Wednesday at the DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home, in Guilderland and interment followed in the Vojnar Family Cemetery.

— Anne Hayden

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