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

Edward Van Beers, 84; Operated Pittsfield Plumbing & Heating

Edward Van Beers, 84;

Operated Pittsfield

Plumbing & Heating

PITTSFIELD – Edward John Van Beers, 84, who for years operated Pittsfield Plumbing & Heating, passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 11, 2019.
Edward was born on March 5, 1934 in Paterson, N.J., a son of the late Charles Vincent Sepione and Kathryn Viedas.
Edward was an avid coin and stamp collector. He enjoyed tending his vegetable gardens, walking his land, watching a Yankees’ game, a good game of horseshoes, and reading anything non-fiction. Most notably; he was a jack of all trades and loved to work.
Right up until recent times, he still had plans for building projects and improvements around his home. At Pittsfield Plumbing, he provided area homeowners with supplies and well-appreciated guidance.
He is survived by

Barbara Means, 87, Oneonta; Artist, World Traveler

Barbara Means, 87,

Oneonta; Artist,

World Traveler

ONEONTA – Barbara Means, 87, a world traveler who excelled in the arts, passed away on Jan. 13, 2019, in her home surrounded by loved ones.
Born on July 23, 1931, in Gettysburg, Pa., where she grew up playing on the battlefields, Barbara loved to read and swim.
She received her first degree at Cedar Crest College and went on to earn two master’s degrees in Special Education and Library Science. Barbara embodied the true spirit of a lifelong student.
She was a world traveler, an early feminist, and a talented artist. She was an active member of First Presbyterian Church, a beloved participant of the local ADK chapter, and a fierce bridge competitor.
She is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband of 61 years, Chalmers.
Her celebration of life ceremony will be held 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 at First Presbyterian Church of Oneonta.
Arrangements are withBookhout Funeral Home.


Sandee H. Alpern, 71, Cooperstown; Spinner, Weaver, Potter, Teacher

Sandee H. Alpern, 71,

Cooperstown; Spinner,

Weaver, Potter, Teacher

COOPERSTOWN – Sandee Hillman Alpern, 71, a spinner, weaver and potter, as well as Cooperstown Elementary teacher, passed away this morning, Jan. 10, 2019, at Chestnut Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Oneonta. She had lived in Cooperstown since 1976.
Sandee was born in New York City on June 24, 1947, and grew up in Great Neck, Long Island. She attended Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., where she earned her bachelor of arts degree, then earned her master’s in educational psychology at the University of Chicago. She was married to Harlan Alpern in Roslyn on June 20, 1971.
After her marriage she moved to Rochester with her husband, who was a resident in pathology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She worked as a play therapist on inpatient pediatrics. She also took classes in spinning and weaving, becoming proficient and had her own spinning wheel and loom.
In 1976 she moved to Cooperstown with her husband, who was an attending pathologist at the Bassett Hospital. Sandee took a part-time position at the Cooperstown Elementary School as the teacher of the gifted and talented program. She continued to do spinning and weaving.
In addition, she took classes in pottery at The Smithy in Cooperstown. She had her own pottery wheel and kiln in the basement of her home. She developed expertise in pottery, sold her pieces and became a teacher of pottery at The Smithy, teaching two classes weekly and had a following of students. She sold her pottery as well as her weaving products at local stores and craft shows. She loved to collect and wear craft jewelry.
Sandee is survived by her husband, Harlan; her son, Micah (Sarah) of Mountain View, Calif.; by her daughter, Rebeka Seelinger (Brian) of Erie, Pa.; her four grandchildren, Bobby, Emma, Hazel and James; as well as by her mother, Corinne S. Hillman of Cooperstown, and a sister, Kathi Hillman McElroy (Hugh) of Port Jefferson. Sandee had many friends in the Cooperstown area as well as friends and relatives across the country who will miss her.
The funeral will be at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown, with Rabbi Peter Schaktman of Temple Emanu-El in Utica officiating. Burial will be in Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens.
For those that wish to honor Sandee’s life and memory a tax-deductible donation could be made to The Smithy Clay Studio, 55 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

Obit Sullivan 011619

Roger B. Sullivan, 68;

SUNY Oneonta Asst. VP

In Upgrading Enrollment

OTEGO – Roger B. Sullivan, 68, SUNY Oneonta associate vice president/enrollment management, passed away on Jan. 4, 2019, at his home in Otego. He also had a home in Sunset Beach, N.C.
Roger was born on Dec. 28, 1950, in Ogdensburg, the son of Roger P. and Velma I. (O’Shaughnessy) Sullivan.
He graduated from Lisbon  Central High School and later earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from SUNY Potsdam and Bowling Green (Ohio) State University, respectively, before beginning a 40-year career in the SUNY system.
In 1996, SUNY Oneonta then-President Alan Donovan hired him to improve the college’s enrollment..Roger helped SUNY Oneonta gain national recognition, most notably in its rise in the U.S. News rankings to a Tier One Public Masters College as well as its recognition as a Top 10 Best Public Colleges in the North.
During his career, Roger received SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service, was a founding member and a president of the New York State Transfer and Articulation Association, was an invited faculty member at several international Strategic Enrollment Management Conferences, and participated in many SUNY-wide task forces.
Roger served on and was president of the Otego Zoning Board of Appeals, co-chaired SUNY Oneonta’s annual United Way Campaign and was a member of the Catskill Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors. Roger was also a member of the First United Presbyterian Church of Oneonta, where he was ordained as an elder and where he served on multiple church sessions.
Roger is survived by his wife of 45 years, Jane “Henry” Sullivan, to whom he was married on Aug. 18, 1973; daughter, Sarah Dubowsky (Eric Dubowsky) of Ridgewood, N.J.; son, Shaun Sullivan (Tiffany Hurd) of Hampton, N.H., his cherished grandchildren, Alexis, Magnus, Aoife, Kahlen and Isabella; and numerous aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
In addition to his parents, Roger was predeceased by his younger brother, Todd of Rochester.
A Memorial Service will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at the First United Presbyterian Church (“Red Door” Church) in Oneonta.
Contributions in Roger’s memory may be given to the Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, 297 River Street Service Road, Oneonta, NY 13820, or the United Way of Otsego County, c/o 31 Maple St., Oneonta, NY 13820.



IN MEMORIAM: Joseph Marsh, 92, Worcester WWII Air Force Veteran, School Bus Mechanic

IN MEMORIAM: Joseph Marsh, 92, Worcester;

WWII Air Force Veteran, School Bus Mechanic

Joseph Marsh

WORCESTER – Joseph Marsh, 92, a World War II Air Force veteran and bus mechanic for Worcester Central School, died Jan. 15, 2019.   Born in Paterson, N.J., he was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany.

He and his devoted wife, Dorothy (Duritzo) Marsh were married for 62 years until her death in April 2018; they moved to Worcester in 1957.

At first, he worked for Phillips Buick in Oneonta as an auto mechanic, then at Worcester Central School as the bus-garage mechanic and a bus driver for 23 years.

Laura Duncan-Bachanas; Registration Specialist At Bassett Hospital

IN MEMORIAM: Laura Duncan-Bachanas;

Registration Specialist At Bassett Hospital

Laura Duncan-Bachanas

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Laura J. Duncan-Bachanas, 39, of Bronner Street, passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, at Bassett Hospital. She had the comfort of her loving family by her side at the time of passing.

Laura was born on Feb. 8, 1979, in Cooperstown.  She was raised by her mother Peggy Roberts Dziadik and her step-father Thomas Dziadik. A lifelong area resident, she was educated in Richfield Springs Schools and she had attended Herkimer County Community College.

For the last 12 years Laura was a registration specialist at Bassett Hospital.

Ella Jean Baumgardner, 96; First Husband Killed During World War II

IN MEMORIAM: Ella Jean Baumgardner, 96;

First Husband Killed During World War II

Ella Jane Baumgardner

ONEONTA – Ella Jane Baumgardner, 96, formerly of Oneonta, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at her home in Liverpool.

She was born in Russia, Herkimer County, in 1922, the daughter of the late William and Helen Jones, and was raised on a farm in Milford.

Jane was married to John “Sonny” Brienza, who was killed in World War II.  In 1947, Jane married Edward P. Baumgardner and together they raised their family in Oneonta.

She was retired from SUNY Oneonta.

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