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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 23, 2010

Maryanne Mendel Slauson

NEW CITY — Maryanne Mendel Slauson, a woman who poured her life’s energy into helping others, died on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2010, after a 15-year battle with breast cancer. She was 55.

Her family wrote that, due to a monumental determination to see her son married, she was able to confound the physicians, overcome the odds, and live to see the wedding she so carefully planned with her son and new daughter-in-law.

“Even in the dire straits of those last few weeks in he failing body, her spirit and will shone brightly through, and her love and caring for her family was strong,” her family wrote in a tribute.

“She was full of energy and spirit, and, from the time she was a small child, was determined to succeed in everything she tried,” wrote her family in a tribute. “She was a straight-A student all through school, and, even after she found out she had breast cancer, she went to college nights and weekends to obtain her bachelor’s degree, and her master’s degree in business administration.”

Mrs. Slauson was the middle child of 10 siblings, and was the main event planner for her family; she made every birthday and holiday a special and unique occasion for her son, and many nieces and nephews, her family wrote. Weddings and showers were a challenge she dove into with delight, planning unusual and funny games, and presents for all attendees.

“She made it her mission to create an event that everyone would enjoy and remember. Her constant concern was for everyone else’s comfort. She kept her finger on the pulse of the family and her town,” wrote her family.

In her early 20s, Mrs. Slauson’s lifelong friend, Bette Jacques, encouraged her to apply for the Hugo Program, a fast-track management program with New York Telephone; she became the first outside, female telephone installer, and the first female foreman of an outside crew.

Mrs. Slauson’s family wrote that she quickly climbed the ranks, and was soon in charge of the entire region, from Plattsburgh south. She went to Pace University to obtain her master’s degree when she realized she needed a college degree to advance further with the company; she obtained the degree on June 1, 1999.

After getting her degree, she advanced to second-level management, and her family wrote that she received many awards for her exemplary work and problem-solving abilities.

“She loved to reward good effort, and enjoyed giving parties for her co-workers, celebrating with them all their cultural religious holidays. She made it her goal to encourage every team member not just to consider the numbers, but to make sure every customer got personal care,” wrote her family. She was well-loved by her employees, and was sorely missed when she became too sick to continue, her family said.

Mrs. Slauson got involved with each community for which she was responsible, joined many community boards, and even became good friends with Rudy Giuliani, her family wrote. Her family wrote also that, after the terrorists’ attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, she went to work to ensure that phone service was restored quickly, especially on the docks where perishable foods were arriving and trucks drivers were having trouble communicating to find a way to get the goods unloaded.

She stayed on the scene throughout the following days and weeks. When Hurricane Katrina hit, she gathered a group of volunteers, obtained upgraded trucks and cell phones, and went to New Orleans help.

Mrs. Slauson “played as hard as she worked,” said her family. “While she loved to bask in the sun, on the beach, with a good book, and loved to create crewel embroidery pictures, she also put together fantastic party favors and wrapped fancy presents.”

She went white-water rafting, salmon fishing, and jet skiing. In her 20s, she took belly-dancing lessons; she loved it so much she started teaching, and began going on “bellygrams,” taking her brothers along as protectors.

Family was extremely important to Mrs. Slauson. Her family wrote that she made it a point to be at every important crossroads for everyone, and do something with every brother and sister, no matter how far away.

She went horseback riding; shopping; golfing; took the kids to the Bronx Zoo; invited her sisters to weekends in New York City for dinner and a show; attended football and baseball games, where she rooted for the Jets and Yankees; learned the guitar; loved her pool; and re-decorated and landscaped her entire house and yard. Her finished kitchen was featured in New City Magazine.

Shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mrs. Slauson’s mother was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. Mrs. Slauson was strongly involved with organizing the family into a care schedule, and later she helped with the final affairs. She walked with her sister, Theresa, in the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Walk, in New York City, and the two of them auditioned for the television show The Amazing Race.

Even when she was feeling her worst, Mrs. Slauson was always encouraging others, and was a source of assistance to any of her friends and family with a need.

“Her generosity was legendary,” her family wrote. “Her ‘final event’ — the wedding of her son and new daughter-in-law — was a magnificent gift, and a farewell to her son and to us all.”


Maryanne Mendel Slauson is survived by her life partner, Steve Brower; her son, Eric Slauson, and his wife, Antonia; and her father, Herman V. Mendel and Patty Stratton, of Latham.

She is also survived by her siblings, Mark Mendel, and his wife, Janice, of San Jose, Calif., Susie Barger, of Westerlo, Eric Mendel, of Costa Mesa, Calif. Gary Mendel and Linda Moore, of Lake Tahoe, Calif., Theresa Granville, and her husband, Paul, of Pennsylvania., Greg Mendel, and his wife, Annette, of Cobleskill, Maureen Ferrucci, of Albany, John Matthew Mendel, and his wife, Fannia, of Guilderland, and Diana Quinn, and her husband, Dave, of Richmond, Va.; and many nieces and nephews.

Her mother, Annette Keppler Mendel, died before her.

A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 11 a.m., at the New Comer Cannon Funeral Home, at 343 New Karner Road, Colonie. Calling hours will be held on Friday, Sept. 24, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

To leave a message for the family, visit www.newcomeralbany.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the United Hospice of Rockland, 11 Stokum Lane, New City, NY 10956.

Irene Zimmerman

ALTAMONT — Irene Zimmerman, a homemaker and Altamont native, died unexpectedly on Sunday, September 12, at Ellis Hospital. She was 76.

She was the daughter of Wallace and Ethel VanAuken.

“Mom enjoyed flower gardening, knitting, crafting, baking, reading, and retail therapy,” her family wrote in a tribute. “She lived her life for home and family.”

She is survived by her loving husband of 59 years, William W. Zimmerman; daughter Cynthia J. Tirotta and her husband, Joseph, of Prescott, Ariz.; daughter Deborah A. DeVito and her husband, Michael, of Mountaintop, Pa.; son William Kerby Zimmerman and his wife, Andrea, of Altamont; daughter Stephanie S. MacGilfrey of Altamont; and grandchildren Gregory M. DeVito, Ryan J. DeVito, Samantha A. MacGilfrey, Cole T. MacGilfrey, and Logan J. MacGilfrey.

Private services were held at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Altamont Volunteer Ambulance Service, 767 Route 146, Altamont, NY 12009. 

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