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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 29, 2011

Irene A. Siebert

GUILDERLAND — Irene A. Siebert, whose greatest joy in life was her family, died on Dec. 9, 2011. She was 104.

Mrs. Siebert was born on Aug. 17, 1907, the daughter of William and Emma (Brunnerert) Salisbury.

She was employed by the State Bank of Albany until her retirement in 1972.

She enjoyed cooking; camping; playing cards; ceramics; arts and crafts; sewing; gardening; and traveling. Her favorite place to travel was Hawaii.

Mrs. Siebert was an active member of McKownville United Methodist Church. After 92 years, she was the oldest and longest member of the church.

“Irene had an easy, giving nature, and a smile for everyone,” wrote her family in a tribute. Her family wrote that she was very loving, touched many lives, and left many good memories.

“She enriched all she met by her quiet gentleness and warmth,” wrote her family. She was always there to help family and friends, they wrote.

“The great love she had for her family and friends will be deeply missed,” her family concluded.

Mrs. Siebert is survived by her daughter, Evelyn (Prusinski) Fink, and her husband, Carl; her granddaughter, Dr. Lisa Pruskinski, and her husband, Mark, of Greenville, NC; and her great-grandchildren, Ryan and Regan Vellan.

Her husband of 50 years, Ernest (Red) Siebert, died before her, as did her sisters Clara (Peggy) Ray, Lola Lockskin, and Lucille Morroco; her brothers, Le Ray and William Salisbury; and her granddaughter, Deborah Ann Pruskinski.

Stanley C. Heidenreich

GUILDERLAND — Skiing was Stanley C. Heidenreich’s life.

He learned the sport as a boy from his father, and then fought for his country on skis during World War II. On his return home, he taught skiing to others, and finally worked as the assistant chief of ski center operations for the state.

Mr. Heidenreich died on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany after a short illness. He was 86.

He was born on June 22, 1925 in Albany, the son of the late Leroy and Lysle (Beach) Heidenreich. His parents owned and operated the Waterville Laundry in Albany.

They spent summers on Bowman Pond. “The polio epidemic was in force,” said his wife, Deloris Heidenreich. “He and his sister, Phebe, were young. His father didn’t want them exposed, so they spent all of their summers there.”

Mr. Heidenreich loved the country life. He enjoyed swimming and picking berries with the local farmers, said his wife. In the winter, he skied. “His father was a skier,” said Mrs. Heidenreich. “As soon as he could walk, he was on skis. That was his life.”

He went to the Milne School, a progressive school that served as a training ground for students learning to be teachers at what is now the University at Albany. “He liked Milne,” said his wife. “He was so tall, people always asked if he played basketball, but skiing was the only sport for him.”

He helped out in the family laundry and then, after graduating from Milne in the Class of 1943, when he turned 18, he joined the 10th Mountain Division. “It was an elite group,” said his wife. “He had to have three letters of recommendation to get in. When he went home and told his father he enlisted, his father said, ‘What?’”

The training at Camp Hale in Colorado, at an elevation of 9,500 feet, was rigorous. It included bivouacking in temperatures as low as 25 to 30 degrees below zero. “All training was in rock climbing, attacking on skis and various mountaineering combat maneuvers,” Mr. Heidenreich wrote in an account of his military history.

In 1944, he boarded the troop ship SS Argentina in Virginia for deployment in Italy, arriving in Naples in November. “There, we bivouacked for about two weeks while getting assembled and prepared,” wrote Mr. Heidenreich. “After a brief training period, we were moved onward to the front lines for combat. The exceptional training we had previously received in mountain warfare paid off. The Germans, following severe fighting that took us north across the Po River, were slowly driven to the top of Riva Ridge, Italy at the end of Lake Garda. Following serious fighting, with severe losses on both sides, the Germans finally surrendered in May 1945.”

Mr. Heidenreich, who rose to the rank of sergeant in Italy, was in charge of a squad of 12 men. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat action in Italy.

His wife recounted one of his squad’s maneuvers. “They were getting nowhere because the Germans were on top of the mountain,” said Mrs. Heidenreich. “They hid in the homes and barns of the townspeople…At night, they came out and did their business. They used their training to climb the cliffs behind the Germans and surprised them.”

A letter written in 1945 by George P. Hays, a major general in the United States Army who was in the Battle of the Marne and the Meuse Argonne offensive in World War I and also at Normandy in World War II, said, “The battles of the 10th Mountain were as strongly contested and as bitter, and in many instances more intense than any I had experienced hitherto.”

He wrote at length about the “gallant” 10th Mountain soldiers with their “daring” maneuvers in the Alps against Germany’s strongest fighting units. The commanding general of Germany’s 90th Panzer Division, Hays wrote, told his troops “they had the consolation of surrendering to a very worthy opponent, the 10th Mountain Division.”

Mr. Heidenreich made lifelong friends in the 10th Mountain Division, and went to reunions with them for the rest of his life. He was a member of the 10th Mountain Division Association — Upstate New York and New England Chapter. The men he fought with were the pioneers of the ski industry in America, founding Aspen, Sun Valley, and Mammoth Mountain, among others.

After the war, Mr. Heidenreich returned to Albany, managing the family laundry business until 1973. At the same time, he served on the Committee of Certified Professional Ski Instructors of the United States Eastern Ski Association. He was appointed chairman of the committee in 1961.

Mr. Heidenreich was a devoted ski instructor. “His life was skiing,” said his wife, “He loved it and was good at it. He thought anyone who was interested should be taught.” He especially liked showing parents how to best teach their children, she said.

Every winter weekend for years, Mr. Heidenreich taught at the county slope used by the Helderberg Ski Club. The slope had no lifts or tows, so skiers climbed up the hill to ski down. The club’s triangular patch featured its insignia of a skier using a herringbone pattern to scale the hill. Members of the club ranged in age from children to the elderly. In addition to weekly ski lessons in the Helderbergs, they often took road trips together to ski in the Adirondacks or at New England ski areas.

Mrs. Heidenreich, a nurse, recalls joining the club because she wanted to improve her skiing. “I got active in the club and got to be the vice president,” she recalled. “Stan was president at that time. “It was a great group. Everyone knew everybody.”

In 1973, Mr. Heidenreich united his avocation with his vocation when he became the director of the Whiteface Alpine Training Center, a new program authorized and budgeted by the state legislature. As director, he hired and supervised racing coaches, purchased equipment, set up programming, and promoted the center through talks at ski clubs and shows.

Two years later, in anticipation of the 1980 Winter Olympics, centered in Lake Placid with alpine events at Whiteface, Mr. Heidenreich became the coordinator of Olympic construction projects. He oversaw new trail design at Whiteface, worked on the new base lodge design, and helped with locating the snowmaking system and with installing new lifts.

After the Olympics, Mr. Heidenreich worked as the assistant coordinator of ski center operations, which oversees New York’s ski centers at Belleayre, Gore, and Whiteface. He retired from that job in 1995.

Mr. Heidenreich lived on Pinewood Drive in Guilderland. “He said, ‘I’m finally out in the country,’” said his wife, “and, even though they built up around it, he still had a view of the Helderbergs. He loved it.”

Reflecting on her husband’s personality, Mrs. Heidenreich concluded, “He was very thoughtful of everybody. He always had a smile; when he walked in the room, you cheered up. He just beamed all the time. If something bothered him, you didn’t know it. He looked for the best in people and gave his best.”


In addition to his wife, Deloris Van Deusen Heidenreich, Stanley C. Heidenreich is survived by his sister, Phebe Lukens, and her husband, Robert; and by his three children and five grandchildren.

A memorial service was held on Dec. 17, 2011 at the New Comer Cannon Funeral Home in Colonie with private interment for the family in Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands. Mourners may leave a message for the family online at www.NewcomerAlbany.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors Program, 10th Mountain Division, care of Michael Plummer, Colonel Retired, 121 Paddock St., Watertwon, NY  15601, or to the New England Ski Museum, Post Office Box 267, Franconia, NH  03580.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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