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obituary

Homer Osterhoudt, Citizen: A Life Of Service, Leadership, Joy Is An Example To Us All

Editorial, July 6, 2018

Homer Osterhoudt, Citizen

A Life Of Service, Leadership,

Joy Is An Example To Us All

Homer Osterhoudt with son Darrell at the 2016 Hall of Fame Induction, his 70th.

Interviewed as his 100th birthday last January, Homer Osterhoudt remained full of life and curiosity, enthusiastically reporting deer peering in the window of his Woodside Hall room most evenings.
His back, which had carried
Cooperstown’s mail on a 10-mile
route daily for many of his 34 years at the Cooperstown post office, had begun to bend, but he was as warm and pleasant as always, as if he didn’t have a care in the world.
While waiting for him to return to his room from lunch, his caregivers praised his courtesy and calm. He was uncomplaining as the inevitable approached, perhaps a testimony to his Baptist faith.
The inevitable arrived Saturday, June 30, and Homer Osterhoudt, one of Cooperstown’s first citizens – none were more beloved – made his final departure from the community that had been his home for a century.

Many knew of Homer through his connection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which goes back to the very beginning. At 19, he was running a cement mixer in front of the post office on Main Street for Bedford Construction of Utica. The cement he produced, he would remember fondly for the rest of his life, was used in every single part of the original building.
Then, he thought the Hall of Fame would be “a little museum on Main Street” – so did Stephen C. Clark, his granddaughter attested when she and Homer participated in a panel discussion in the Bullpen Theater during 75th anniversary commemorations. Both, it turned out, were wrong.
Still, Homer must have had an inkling of great things to come during the first Induction in 1939, when he photographed Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and other immortals in the first class. Those many photos are now in the Hall’s collection, a permanent memorial to a curious and lively mind.
Since, there have been 74 Inductions – during World War II, the practice lapsed 1940-34 – and Homer reported his was proud to have attended all but three. In recent years, what frequenter of Inductions doesn’t remember Homer, under his bucket hat, with a “I was here on June 12, 1939” sign around his neck.

His obituary on the front of this week’s edition further reminds us that his Induction record was just a small part of a small-town life well lived.

Hall of Fame photo – Homer Osterhoudt rides in the Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary parade in 2014 with two others who were at the first Induction in 1939: former Hall director Howard Talbot, who has since passed away, and Catherine Walker of Hartwick.

He maintained friendly relations for decades as a long-time member of the Cooperstown High School Alumni Association, serving as its president. He was, of course, eventually a Native Son – his birth, in Oneonta, forestalled that until he reached age 50 – serving as president of that signature community organization.
He was active in his church, locally and as vice president of the Otsego County Baptist Men’s Association; (one of the three Inductions he missed, he recalled, was to attend an annual state Baptist conference.)
He was more than a postal carrier, (although he credited the miles he walked daily, in part, for his long and, until and healthy life): A career-long member of the National Association of Letter Carriers, he once was president of the Southern Tier District.
All of these community and professional leadership roles underscore that Homer Osterhoudt lived a full life of service, leadership and caring.
That final quality was passed on through his and wife Marion’s only child. The care and attention son Darrell and his wife Priscilla devoted to tending the beloved man in recent years, frequently commuting back and forth from their home in Springfield, Va., was an example the rest of us can only hope to duplicate.

A life well-lived: What was Homer’s secret?
At his 100th birthday party Jan. 14 in the Baptist Church’s community room, Ina Phillips of Hartwick, who worked at a downtown law firm during Homer’s years delivering mail, recalled, “He always came down the street with a smile.”
Asked about his father’s cheerful outlook, son Darrell replied, “Maybe that’s his secret.”
It’s a secret we’d all do well to emulate. Meanwhile, we can only reflect in awe and appreciation on a happy life well lived.
Goodbye, friend to us all, and thank you.

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Caryl B. Klingman, 81; Ran Adult Care Center

IN MEMORIAM

Caryl B. Klingman, 81;

Ran Adult Care Center

ONEONTA – Caryl B. Klingman, 81, who ran an adult care center out of her Gilbertsville home, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 23, 2018, at A.O. Fox Nursing Home in Oneonta.

Caryl was born on Sept. 19, 1936, a daughter of the late Harry and Anna (Loehr) Hutchens in Yonkers.

Caryl was once employed by the Clark’s Color Center in Oneonta and had a passion for sewing. She enjoyed doing various crafts and supporting many of the areas craft fairs. For many years, she ran an adult care center out of her home in Gilbertsville. She had a large heart and there was always enough room to help out another person.

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Jean M. Scorzafava, 90, Former Sixth Ward Alderwoman

IN MEMORIAM

Jean M. Scorzafava, 90;

Sixth Ward Alderwoman

Jean Scorzafava

ONEONTA – Jean M. Scorzafava, 90, a former Sixth Ward Alderwoman and beautician, died Tuesday, April 24, 2018. She was surrounded by her family at A.O. Fox Memorial Nursing Home, where she had been living.

Jean was born in Carbondale, Penn., on Aug. 29, 1927, the daughter of Victor and Philopena Nepa. She moved to Oneonta, with her husband, Marino, in 1948.

Jean loved her new community and served in Civil Defense as well as serving as Sixth Ward Alderwoman from 1976-84. She worked as a self-employed beautician for many years and later worked for Otsego County in the Unemployment and Election Board offices. She retired from those positions to start her most fulfilling work as a devoted grandmother.

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Lawrence Heldman, 86; SUNY Oneonta Professor

IN MEMORIAM

Lawrence Heldman, 86;

SUNY Oneonta Professor

Lawrence Heldman

ONEONTA –  Lawrence John Heldman, Ed.D., a SUNY Oneonta professor active in community life, died Monday, April 23, 2018, at his home.

Larry was born Feb. 10, 1932, to Arthur Charles and Mary Patterson Heldman in Yonkers, the eldest of their five children. He attended Yonkers schools and graduated from Cortland State Teachers College (SUNY Cortland) in 1953.

He served in the Army’s 516th Signal Corps during the Korean War, and was awarded the Medal of Military Merit.

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Elena Doyle, 71; Premier Pastry Chef

IN MEMORIAM

Elena Doyle, 71;

Renown Pastry Chef

Elena Doyle

EAST MEREDITH – Maria Elena “Elena” Doyle, 71, who owned Elena’s Sweet Indulgence in Oneonta,  died peacefully on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at her home, surrounded by family and loved ones.

Born in Queens, NY, daughter of Silvio Ghianda and Mary (Gerolamo) Ghianda, Elena moved to East Meredith in 1989. A long-standing member of the Oneonta business community, she owned and operated Elena’s Sweet Indulgence in Oneonta, NY for more than 20 years and was one of the area’s premier wedding caterers.

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Lois J. Clark Stalter, 85; Farmer Active in Franklin Life

IN MEMORIAM

Lois J. Clark Stalter, 85;

Farmer Active in Franklin Life

Lois Stalter

FRANKLIN –  Lois J. Clark Stalter, 85, a lifelong farmer and mother of the late Dr. Kenneth D. Stalter, passed away on Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

Lois was born on Feb. 28, 1933, in Delhi, to Lynn S. and Mildred (Truscott) Clark. She grew up on the family farm on Elk Creek Road with her brothers, David and Peter, and sister, Celia.

Lois was a farm girl and proud to drive the team of horses in the fields for her father.

She graduated from Delaware Academy, Class of 1951. She was the drum majorette in the band and played basketball and field hockey.

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Ralph Osterhoudt, 73; Owned Parkview Liquors

IN MEMORIAM

Ralph ‘Red’ Osterhoudt, 73;

Owned Parkview Liquors

“Red” Osterhoudt

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Following a courageous 13-year journey with cancer, Ralph “Red” Osterhoudt passed from this life on April 4, 2018, at Albany Medical Center with his wife Sheila, son, Cory and sister, Janice, at his bedside.

In recent days, Ralph enjoyed being with family, extended family and friends celebrating his grandson Jack’s fourth birthday, his own 73rd April Fool’s/Easter birthday, a birthday brunch and visits from many family members and friends bringing him love support and best wishes.

Ralph was the first born of Bessie Stoddard Osterhoudt and Ralph Hopkins Osterhoudt. He was raised with two brothers, Ron and Chuck and one sister, Janice Misencik.

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Richard Lutz, 91; Founder of Lutz Feed
IN MEMORIAM

Richard F. Lutz, 91; He Built

100 Homes, Founded Lutz Feed

Richard F. Lutz

ONEONTA – Richard Frederick Lutz, 91, the contractor and business visionary who founded Lutz Feed, passed away on April 2, 2018.

He was born on March 8, 1927, in Roxbury, the son of Frederick and Lena Lutz. His siblings were Edna and Herbert, more affectionately known as Deak. He was educated at Roxbury Central School.

Dick served in the United States Navy during World War II from 1945 to 1946.

On Oct. 26, 1952, he married the music teacher of Roxbury Central School, Marjorie Webster. They had two sons, Steven and Robert.

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In Memoriam: Donald R. Stiefel, 92; Worked for D&H Railroad

In Memoriam:

Donald R. Stiefel, 92;

Worked for D&H Railroad

Donald Stiefel

ONEONTA –  Donald R. Stiefel, 92, a former D&H Gang leader, passed away March 6, 2018 at Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown after a brief illness.

He was born Dec. 27, 1925 in Oneonta, the son of Frederick and Mabel (Moon) Stiefel.

Don was a United States Navy veteran serving from 1944 to 1946 in the Merchant Maines Convoy duty.

He married Margaret “Peg” Jordan on Sept. 19, 1946 at the Zion Episcopal Church in Morris.

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