News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


In Memoriam

Richard ‘Dick’ Pindar, 90; Owned Cross Supply Co., Dick’s Golf Shop

IN MEMORIAM: Richard ‘Dick’ Pindar, 90;

Owned Cross Supply Co., Dick’s Golf Shop

ONEONTA — Richard “Dick” Pindar, 90, of Oneonta, owner of Cross Supply Co. who, on retiring, started Dick’s Golf Shop, offering custom clubs and professional repairs, passed away on Jan. 22, 2020, at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing.

He had been residing at Heritage at The Plains at Parish Homestead for the past two years.

Family & Friends Bid Farewell To Bud Pirone


Family, Friends Bid

Farewell To Bud Pirone

Friends, family, colleagues and students filled the Belden Auditorium at Oneonta High School this afternoon where a service was held celebrating the life of William “Bud” Pirone, a beloved teacher, OHS principal and coach, who passed away on Jan. 13 at age 80. Retired Methodist minister Dick Breuninger gave the sermon, remarking, “If Dick saw paradise as a walk in the woods on a golden afternoon, the best way to honor his memory would be to go for a walk on a lovely day. If it’s too cold to walk, sit down with a good book.” Pirone’s son and daughter, Michael Pirone and Kim Pirone Baskin, seen at left, remarked on memories of their father. “My father had a reputation as a harsh grader, and once told me he gave himself a B+ as a father and husband,” said Michael. “But I gave him an A+.” (Ian Austin/

Carol Lee Wheeler, 78; Consultant Mentored By Mary Kay


Carol Lee Wheeler, 78, Morris;

Mary Kay Mentored Consultant

Carol Lee Wheeler

MORRIS – Carol Lee Wheeler, 78, who found her dream job as a Mary Kay beauty consultant, where she was mentored by founder Mary Kay Ash herself and prospered for 45 years, died Saturday, Jan. 18.

Carol Lee discovered her dream career in 1977. She became a Mary Kay beauty consultant; moving up the career path quickly. She became a sales director, then a senior sales director.

During her 45-year career she earned many prizes, trips, diamonds, and 13 career cars. Being mentored the company’s founder, she visited Mary Kay’s home, and established lifelong friendships.

Patricia A. Tasior, 71; Marine Served As Pittsfield Town Clerk

IN MEMORIAM: Patricia A. Tasior, 71;

Marine Served As Pittsfield Town Clerk

NEW BERLIN – Patricia A. Tasior, 71, of New Berlin, who served in the Marines and Air National Guard and, later, as Pittsfield town clerk, passed away peacefully on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at her home.

Pat was born on on Aug. 24, 1948 in Utica, the daughter of the late Joseph and Phyllis Kostyczak Tasior.  Pat grew up in Edmeston, where her family lived on the second floor of the Edmeston Hotel, which her father sold in 1987.  The site is now occupied by NBT Bank and the post office.

Kenneth Vibbard, 88; 40-Year Farmer In Burlington Flats

IN MEMORIAM: Kenneth Vibbard, 88;

40-Year Farmer In Burlington Flats

Kenneth Vibbard

BURLINGTON FLATS – Kenneth A. Vibbard Sr, 88, a 40-year dairy farmer, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Cooperstown, surrounded by his loving family.

Kenneth was born on Jan. 18, 1932 in Oneonta, the son of the late Wesley P. and Martha Drake Vibbard. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his loving wife of 66 years Velma B. Vibbard, and a son-in-law, Wayne Bennett.

A lifetime resident of the area, Ken graduated in 1950 from Cooperstown Central School, where he excelled in athletics.

Beatrice Gage Merzig, 97; Managed Husband’s Oneonta Medical Office

IN MEMORIAM: Beatrice Gage Merzig, 97;

Managed Husband’s Oneonta Medical Office

ONEONTA — Beatrice “Bea” Gage Merzig, 97, mother of City Attorney David Merzig, who managed her husband’s Oneonta medical practice for 30 years, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, following a brief illness.

Born Feb. 3, 1922, she was the daughter of Scott and Florence Gage of Morris.

She attended Morris Central School and graduated with honors from Houghton Academy in 1940, and graduated from Wheaton College in 1944 with a degree in Christian education.

John B. Barown, 67; Air Force Veteran, Milford Postmaster

IN MEMORIAM: John B. Barown, 67;

Air Force Veteran, Milford Postmaster

John B. Barown

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – John B. Barown, 67, an Air Force veteran and former Milford postmaster, died Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, at his home in the Village of Richfield Springs after a period of declining health.

John was born May 31, 1952, in Jersey City, N.J., the son of Bartholomew and Inge (Wappler) Barown, Sr.  When John was young, he and his family moved to Hartwick, where, for many years, they engaged in farming.

Elaine LaBarge, 74; Nursing In Mohawk Valley, Bassett

IN MEMORIAM: Elaine W. LaBarge, 74;

Nurse In Mohawk Valley, Bassett Hospital

Elaine LaBarge

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Elaine LaBarge, who retired from Bassett Hospital after a career in nursing, passed away Jan. 19, 2020 at Bassett Hospital after a courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. She was surrounded by those she loved deeply in her heart.

She was born in Ilion on Feb. 19, 1945, to the late Francis and Esther Werthman.

Elaine was a 1963 graduate of Mohawk High School and a 1964 graduate of nursing school. She started her career at Mohawk Valley General Hospital and retired from the ENT clinic at Bassett Healthcare.

Rita Ann Wellman, 81; Professor’s Wife Active In Community

IN MEMORIAM: Rita Ann Wellman, 81;

Professor’s Wife Active In Community

Rita Ann Wellman

ONEONTA – Rita Ann Wellman, 81, wife of a SUNY Oneonta professor and a lifelong community volunteer, passed away on Jan. 14, 2020, at her most recent home, the Plains at Parish Homestead.

She was born on April 24, 1938, in Milford, Conn., the daughter of Roy and Alice (McDermott) Nurenberg.

After graduating from Orange High School, Rita began studying sociology at the University of Connecticut. She transferred to Quinnipiac University and completed her sociology degree in 1960.

In Memoriam: Martha A. Quinn, 105; Made Cooperstown Home For 26 Years

IN MEMORIAM: Martha A. Quinn, 105;

Made Cooperstown Home For 26 Years

COOPERSTOWN – Martha A. Quinn, 105, a former resident of Eastchester who had made her home in Cooperstown for the past 26 years, passed away early Sunday morning, January 19, 2020, in Hartwick at the home of her son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Peggy Quinn, who were at her bedside.

Born October 29, 1914, in Garfield, New Jersey, Martha was the last surviving sibling of 10 children of Harry and Anna née Cap Palubniak.

Peter L. Martin, 96; WWII Vet, Farmer, Active In Community

IN MEMORIAM: Peter L. Martin, 96;

WWII Vet, Farmer, Active In Community

FLY CREEK – Peter L. “Pete” Martin, an integral and beloved part of the Fly Creek community and life-long farmer, passed away early Saturday afternoon, Jan.18, 2020, at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing.  He was 96.

Born July 22, 1923, in Gloversville, Pete was a son of Charles Edward Martin and Grace Vida née Odell Martin. From an early age he helped on his family’s Cloudlands Farm on Tansey Hill at Edson Corners in Milford.

Bud Pirone Funeral Is Saturday; Principal On OHS Wall Of Fame


Bud Pirone Funeral Is Saturday;

Principal On OHS Wall Of Fame

Bud Pirone with medal on being inducted into OHS Wall of Fame in 2014.

ONEONTA – William (Bud) Pirone, revered retired Oneonta High School principal and one of the founders of the active alumni association, died on Jan. 13, 2020, one day shy of his 81st birthday.  He passed in peace at the Fox Nursing Home, where he had been a resident for a year following a series of strokes starting in September 2018.

Calling hours will be this Saturday, Jan. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by a service at 3 p.m. to remember Bud’s life at the Oneonta Senior High School auditorium, 130 East St.

Bud was born on January 14, 1939, in Rome. N.Y., the second child of William and Madelyn Pirone.  The family relocated to Oneonta when he was a young boy and lived on Union Street, adjacent to Wilber Park, where he roamed the woods and developed a love for tennis.

Austin Sears, 72, Dies; Founded Cooperstown Summer Theatre Fest
Reprinted From This Week’s 
Freeman’s,  Hometown Oneonta

Austin Sears, 72, Dies;

Founded Cooperstown

Summer Theatre Fest

Austin and Margarita Sears in 2013, after they decided to close the Cooperstown Summer Theatre Festival after almost three decades. (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – Austin Sears, 72, creator, manager and actor at the Cooperstown Summer Theatre Festival for three decades, exited life’s stage on Dec. 17, 2019, in New York City.

Austin Sears,  founder of the Cooperstown Summer Theatre Festival.

“We met in 1979,” his wife Margarita said in an interview this week.  “The 40 years I knew him, it was all Cooperstown.  It was all theater.  That was his life.  That’s what he talked about and did every day – looking for actors, soliciting scripts.”

The curtain went up on July 6, 1984, inside the renovated barn on West Lake Road about a mile south of Glimmerglass Opera.  The first performance, Noel Coward’s “Private Lives,” played to a packed house.  At the end, it poured, and cars got stuck in the mud looking to exit.  “Kirn’s was coming back and forth to pull cars out,” Maggie said.

Job Corps Takes Walk Down Memory Lane

Hartwick Nursing Students

Visit Former TB Hospital

The Hartwick College Rural Nursing “J”-term class – posing here with GOHS Executive Director Bob Brzozowski, third from left, and Frank Marquette, center, a former patient at the Homer Folks TB Hospital – took a walk down memory lane last Monday at the Oneonta Job Corps building, which formerly housed the TB hospital.  Brzozowski outlined the hospital’s history.  Marquette, who is an actor/director with his own theater company in the Hudson Valley, was a child patient at Homer Folks in the 1950s. He is holding a wooden Pinocchio doll that he had during the two years He was being treated for TB. This is the third year he has talked to the Hartwick class. OJCA Certified Nursing students also participated in the event, which included a tour of the permanent exhibit and former operating room (that is now a records office). Hartwick College professors in the group included Brigid Finn-Maguire, far left, and Kathleen Ash, far right.
Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103