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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 20, 2011

John J. Avellino

ALBANY — John Joseph Avellino, 81, was a veteran and a religious man.
He died peacefully in his sleep at his home during the early hours of Monday, Oct. 10, 2011.
Mr. Avellino was born in Albany on Oct. 2, 1930, to the late Anthony and Carmela (Salmeri) Avellino. He served as a corporal in the United States Army during the Korean War and was assigned to the communications division as a radio operator, and later to the Military Police Corps.
He was employed as a truck driver for many years, retiring from Peerless-Mohawk Liquor Distributors. He was a communicant for many years at the former St. Margaret Mary’s Church, and was a charter member of the Guilderland Elks Lodge 2480. Mr. Avellino spent many hours at his summer camp on Hadlock Lake. He loved to fish, and read books and journals, his family wrote in a tribute, but his happiest times were spent with his wife, children, and grandchildren at family gatherings.
Mr. Avellino is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Helen F. (Parady) Avellino; his children: Karen Norris and her husband, Michael; and Susan Pezze of Guilderland and her husband, Frank; John A. Avellino of Clifton Park and his wife, Colleen; and Joseph A. Avellino of Guilderland and his wife, Sarah.
He is also survived by his brother, Philip Avellino of Guilderland; and his grandchildren: Cheryl Norris-Morosko and her husband, Kevin; Michael John Norris Jr.; Jennifer, Meghan, Ashley, and Francesca Pezze; John Francis Avellino; and Lauren and Julia Avellino.
He is survived, too, by several nieces and nephews.
His sisters, Rose Wilson, Mary Hirsh, and Angie Deitz, died before him, as did two brothers, Vincent and Joseph Avellino.
Funeral services will be held at 8:15 a.m. on Friday morning, Oct. 21, at the Hans Funeral Home, at 1088 Western Ave. in Albany, with another service to follow at All Saints Catholic Church (formerly St. Margaret Mary’s Church), on Homestead Street in Albany, beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday.
Relatives and friends may call at the funeral home today, Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. Interment will be in the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners’ Hospitals for Children, Office of Development, 2900 Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, FL 33607.
To leave a message of condolence for the family, send a sympathy card, or obtain directions to the funeral home, go online to www.HansFuneralHome.com.

James M. Mattice Sr.

ALTAMONT — James M. Mattice Sr., a hardworking family man who loved the outdoors, died unexpectedly on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, at Albany Medical Center Hospital with his beloved family by his side.
“He was a good man and a good father,” said his wife, Mary A. Mattice.
Mr. Mattice was born on Sept. 21, 1951 in Albany, the son of Arlene Mattice and the late Floyd Mattice. He was raised in Green Gorge, his wife said. “His father was a farmer and his mother was a housewife,” she said.
The couple met when he moved to the Delaware Turnpike, she said. “We met, and went out, and fell in love,” Mrs. Mattice said through tears. “We’ve been married for 42 years.”
Mr. Mattice worked as a contractor, doing siding and roofing. “He liked the work; he liked meeting people,” his wife said. “If they didn’t have much, he’d help them out and do the work cheaper.”
Mr. Mattice enjoyed family camping trips with his son and daughter. “He loved fishing and hunting and his family,” said his wife.
“Now we have six grandchildren,” she said. “They were the love of his life.”
Mrs. Mattice described her husband as “happy go lucky.” But, she went on, “When he told somebody to do something, they did it.”
She concluded, “He was a man of few words, but, when he said something, that was it…We will miss him every day of our lives.”
In addition to his wife, Mary A. Mattice, Mr. Mattice is survived by his son; James Mattice Jr.; his daughter, Laura Mattice, and Brandon “Skippy” Grant; four grandchildren, Jessica, Joey, Amber, and Mariah; two great-grandchildren, Aiden and Joses; a sister, Donna Lord; and many brothers- and sisters-in-law as well as nieces and nephews.
His brother, Floyd “Skip” Mattice Jr., died before him.
A funeral service was held on Monday at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont, followed by interment in the Thompson’s Lake Cemetery in East Berne.
— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Ann Suderley Ten Eyck

NEW SCOTLAND — Ann Suderley Ten Eyck, generous and cultivated, died in her sleep on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. She was 97.
Born on Feb. 20, 1914 to the late John and Helen Suderley, Mrs. Ten Eyck was raised in Coeymans with her late brother, Frank Suderley. He was nine years her elder, and his best friend was Peter Ten Eyck, said their son John Ten Eyck of how his parents met.
Mrs. Ten Eyck grew up near her father’s brickyard, Sutton & Suderley Brick Co., and attended the St. Agnes School in Loudonville. She then went to Wildcliff, of the Mary Lyon School, in Swarthmore, Pa.
She and her husband then raised their three children on his family’s apple farm, Indian Ladder Farms.
“Ann was very generous with her time and resources, volunteering at the Albany hospital and serving as a member of the Junior League of Albany,” her family wrote in a tribute. “When living at Indian Ladder Farms, she hosted for several decades an annual Christmas Party for farm employees and their families. Ann loved animals, especially dogs, and once raised a large litter of Great Dane puppies.”
Mrs. Ten Eyck also enjoyed reading, was a member of The First Church in Albany, and was skilled at knitting and needlepoint. “For years many local nursing homes benefited from the warm lap blankets, referred to by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as Gaga blankets, she knitted for residents,” her family wrote. “Ann, the matriarch of the Ten Eyck clan, had a great love of family. Known affectionately by all of her 23 grandchildren and great-grandchildren as ‘Gaga,’ she took great joy in spending time with them.”
“She was a remarkable woman,” her son concluded.
Mrs. Ten Eyck is survived by her children: Gerritje (Garry) Henault and her companion, Richard W. Bromley; Peter G. Ten Eyck II and his wife, Rose-Marie Weber Ten Eyck; and John S. Ten Eyck and his wife, Sally M. Ten Eyck.
She is also survived by her grandchildren: Margaret Henault Papadakis and her husband, Yannis; Peter Henault and his wife, Elena; Laura Ten Eyck and her husband, Dietrich Gehring; Peter G. Ten Eyck III and his wife, Kimberly; Elizabeth Ten Eyck Mitchell and her husband, Greg; Jennifer Ten Eyck Scheesley and her husband, Ray; Rebecca Ten Eyck Kimberly and her husband, Todd; and Melissa Ten Eyck Hall and her husband, Christopher.
Additionally, she is survived by her great-grandchildren, Ivan Henault, Arianna Papadakis, Wolfgang Gehring, Emily Ten Eyck, Morgan Ten Eyck, Taylor Ten Eyck, Gretchen Mitchell, Kate Mitchell, Ray Scheesley, Daniel Scheesley, John Scheesley, Ian Kimberly, Ella Kimberly, Connor Hall, and Griffin Hall, and by her nieces and nephews, Helen Harris, Ann Rooney, and John Suderley.
Her husband, Peter G. D. Ten Eyck, died before her.
The funeral will be private and at the convenience of the family with arrangements by the Reilly & Son Funeral Home in Voorheesville.
Memorial contributions may be made to The First Church of Albany, 110 North Pearl St., Albany, NY 12207.
— Saranac Hale-Spencer

Philip Floyd Gibbs

KNOX — Rev. Philip Floyd Gibbs and his wife devoted their lives to Christian missionary work. It took them from the frigid wilds of Canada when they were first married to the heat of the Philippines, where they spent three decades.
“We’re just ordinary people,” said Rev. Gibbs in 1990 soon after he returned to the Knox farmhouse where he was raised, to care for his aging parents. “If we hadn’t followed the Lord, we wouldn’t have had these experiences.”
Rev. Gibbs died on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011, at The Oaks of Sweeten Creek Nursing Home in Arden, N.C., following a long illness with Parkinson’s disease. He was 85.
After leaving Knox in 1995, Rev. Gibbs and his wife, Elizabeth, whom he called Betty, retired to Bradenton Missionary Village where they lived for a decade. Then they moved to The Oaks at Sweeten Creek to be closer to their youngest child, Irving Gibbs, and his children.
Rev. Gibbs was born on Nov. 16, 1925, the son of Albert and Elizabeth Gibbs of Knox. The family was religious, attending the Knox Reformed Church and frequently going to Camp Pinnacle, above New Salem, to hear missionaries speak.
The Gibbs family gathered together every morning to read the Bible and pray. “I had to get up at five to do the chores and milk the cows,” Rev. Gibbs said in 1990, recalling how the milking was done by hand. “And then I had to try to get all that barn smell off…with no running water.”
At first, Rev. Gibbs walked to a little white schoolhouse at the corner of Pleasant Valley and Tabor roads; later, he rode a bus to the big brick school building in Berne. “I knew in the fifth grade I was going to preach,” Rev. Gibbs said. It was while hearing a preacher at Camp Pinnacle that he remembers first accepting Christ as his Savior. “I just knew the Lord had called me,” he said. “From then on, whenever anyone asked me, I knew.”
“He used to carry his Bible to school all the time,” his wife said in 1990, “even though the kids teased him.”
The couple met in Nyack, where they were both students at the Missionary Training Institute. Mrs. Gibbs’s parents had been missionaries in Indochina. It was love at first sight, said Mrs. Gibbs, recalling how she swooned when she first saw him. The couple married on June 1, 1948, the day after graduation.
After Rev. Gibbs did a year of graduate work at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., the couple went to Busby in Alberta, Canada where Rev. Gibbs served as pastor for several churches and helped with religious instruction in the schools. He rode by horse on rough roads. The couple lived without electricity or central heat or indoor plumbing. “I used to say we had four rooms and a path,” joked Rev. Gibbs.
Their daughter, Esther, was born followed 11 months later by their son, Philip. Mrs. Gibbs melted snow to wash diapers by hand and split wood to keep the fire going. “It was so cold,” she recalled, “you had to always keep the fire going. There were times I didn’t think we’d survive.”
After a year-and-a-half in the cold of Canada, the couple went with the Christian and Missionary Alliance to the heat of the Philippines. They were first assigned to the Sulu Archipelago, a group of about 400 islands, forming the southernmost part of the Philippines, Most of the people there were Muslims who made their livings by fishing and pearl diving and also grew rice, coconuts, and other fruit.
The preacher’s Canadian horse was replaced by an American Jeep as the Gibbses made their rounds to villages of huts. Playing music from loudspeakers to attract the natives, they’d use a flannel board to tell them stories of Jesus. They used a young tinsmith as an interpreter until they learned the native language, Tausug, meaning “men of current.”
After eight years, the Gibbses were transferred 90 miles north to Zamboanga, the City of Flowers. Their third child, Irving Albert, was five weeks old when they moved to Zamboanga. Rev. Gibbs was in administration at mission headquarters, and the Gibbses spent two years as parents for missionary children. “We had 27 children in eight grades,” said Rev. Gibbs.
He was the treasurer and business manager of a Bible college; in charge of the Alliance Press, which printed religious tracts; in charge of a recording studio; and oversaw a plantation.
“It was mostly a matter of teaching the nationals how to do things so we could turn it over to them, which we did,” said Rev. Gibbs. The thrust was towards self-rule as well as growth. The Gibbses said that, in 1972, the first goal the Philippine church set was 400 new churches and 40,000 new church members in five years, which they reached.
“From there, we moved north till we ended in Manila,” said Rev. Gibbs. That was in 1972, and the Gibbses were in charge of a guest home for missionaries and a business office. Sundays in Manila were not days of rest for the Gibbses. “Each Sunday, we tried to preach in various churches, helping pastors,” said Rev. Gibbs.
In 1980 and 1981, they spent their Sundays traveling 125 miles to Bataan to minister to Vietnamese refugees. “Over 100 refugees were baptized in the river in one day,” Rev. Gibbs recalled. “Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodian, and one American…Each gave a testimony they had received Christ as Savior, that they wanted to live for him.”
The Gibbses spent their first year home on a mission tour in Canada and the United States to show what had been accomplished.
The Gibbses finally settled down on the family farm in Knox to be with Rev. Gibbs’s elderly parents. But Rev. Gibbs did not rest in his retirement. He served as an associate and interim pastor at a number of local churches, including Pineview Community Church in Albany, Carman Road Alliance Church of Rotterdam, Westerlo Baptist Church, and South Westerlo Congregational Church. He said he didn’t find preaching for different denominations difficult. “We all believe the same,” he said.
In 1988, “The Lord led us to found a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church in Altamont,” said Rev. Gibbs. The CMA Church, he said, stressed evangelism and missions. “It’s there to serve people,” he said, “to be of help.”
Floyd Gibbs is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Elizabeth (Betty) Stebbins Gibbs; their three children, Esther Gibbs Brisson of Canton, Ga., Philip Gibbs of Ballston Lake, N.Y., Irving Gibbs of Mills River, N.C., and their spouses; and their nine grandchildren: Renee, Michael, Stephen, Isaiah, Alissa, Sammy, Josiah, Levi, and April. 
One grandson, Joshua, died in 1989 at the age of 3 . Three of his siblings also died before him: Donald, Alan, and Mary; he has one surviving sister, Alberta Gibbs Dubisz, who lives with her husband in Sebring, Fla., and one sister-in-law, Ruth Gibbs of Charlotte, N.C., the widow of Rev. Gibbs’s late brother, Alan.
Calling hours will be held at Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont, on Friday, Oct. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Fredendall Funeral Home on Saturday, Oct. 22, receiving visitors at 10 a.m., with interment immediately following at the Knox Cemetery in Knox.
— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Sophia H. Shain

GUILDERLAND — Skeeter was the most fitting name for Sophia Shain, a steady and optimistic spirit, who died on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, after a long battle with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She was 66.
Mrs. Shain was named after her mother, and her family wanted to find a nickname for her that was different than those for her mother, her husband, William Shain said. “The story I was told by her mother,” he said, was that “when she was first born… her godmother came into the hospital and looked at her… and said, ‘My goodness, she’s just a little skeeter of a thing.”
She grew up in Pennsylvania and met her husband when she was 15. At the time, she was dating his best friend. Five years later, the pair worked at a summer job together and, by the end of the season, they wanted to spend their lives together, Mr. Shain said.
They went to graduate school at Temple University together, where she got a degree in education, before moving to the Washington, D.C. area. There, she studied library science at the University of Maryland.
When she and her husband moved to Guilderland in 1980, she began working in the Schenectady City School District, where she was a librarian in the Steinmetz Middle School, the Park Avenue School, and the Woodlawn School. She taught children to see books as a way to travel and satisfy curiosity. “She felt that one of the most important things was to get children started reading books,” Mr. Shain said. She owned every book written by Dorothy Sayers, he said.
Mrs. Shain also loved animals and kept a farm full of sheep, with which she would teach suburban children the joy of husbandry. Many children beyond their own spent summers on the shains’ Guilderland farm, eagerly anticipating the Altamont Fair sheep show. “She helped develop new programs for fair-goers as well as the resident shepherds in the Sheep and Goat Building,” her family wrote in a tribute.
Mrs. Shain’s greatest joy came from her children and her farm, her husband said. She liked to be outside. Her gardens always had Cosmos, which are wispy, daisy-like flowers that catch the wind — she liked to watch them wave, he said.
“She was certainly somebody for whom the glass was nearly always running over,” he said. “The name ‘Skeeter’ seemed to fit her.”
Bill, Ken, Cyndi, Josie, James, Jamiee, and Jaclyn thank all who have enriched our lives and helped care for her.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease more than 15 years ago and was a resident in the Rosary Unit at Our Lady of Mercy in Guilderland for more than eight years. A family memorial service was held in the Chapel at Our Lady of Mercy on Oct. 15 with arrangements by the Marra Funeral Home in Cohoes.
Memorial contributions may be made to Skeeter’s Memorial Project payable to Our Lady of Mercy, 2 Mercycare Lane, Guilderland, NY 12084.
— Saranac Hale Spencer

Merle D. Barber

CLARKSVILLE — Merle D. Barber, a long-time farmer, died on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, at the Good Samaritan Lutheran Health Care Center. He was 89.
Born in Westerlo on Aug. 10, 1922, he was the son of the late Casper and Maisel E. (Shufelt) Barber.
Mr. Barber was in partnership with his brother, Milton, who died before him, in operating a dairy farm, egg production, and home-delivery business that their father started in 1927.
Burial will be private in Westerlo Rural Cemetery. Arrangements are by the Applebee Funeral Home in Delmar.
Memorial contributions may be made a charity of choice.

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