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

IN MEMORIAM: Aaron M. Willey, 34; Grew Up In Burlington Flats

Aaron M. Willey, 34;

Grew Up In Burlington Flats

Aaron Willey

ONEONTA – Aaron Michael Willey, 34, who spent his childhood in Burlington Flats, died unexpectedly on May 27, 2020, in Oneonta.

He was born on Sept. 12, 1985, to Deborah L. Perkins (Willey) and Christopher Posada in Middletown.
Aaron grew up in Burlington Flats and attended Edmeston Central School.

Aaron received a diploma of legal assistant/paralegal from the Blackstone Career Institute in 2006.

IN MEMORIAM: Sharon Ann Congelli, 74; Active With Quakers

Sharon Ann Congelli, 74;

Active With Local Quakers

Sharon Congelli

FLY CREEK – Sharon Ann Congelli, 74, who most recently lived with her daughter in Fly Creek, passed away Sunday, May 17, 2020, following a valiant seven-year battle with glioblastoma. She was 74.

Born Nov. 20, 1945, in North Hornell, Sharon was the daughter of Duane E. and Carol J. (Bricks) Knapp of Atlanta. After graduating from high school in Wayland she attended the Continental School of Beauty in Rochester.

While she was employed at several places throughout her life, she was best known as the manager of the Home Video store located in the Wayland Food Mart, for over 25 years. Prior to managing the video store, Sharon worked for the Wayland Central School as part of the high school cafeteria staff, a position she enjoyed and from which lifelong friendships were born as evidenced by monthly lunch gatherings with the “cafeteria ladies” held for decades after.

IN MEMORIAM: Joan Kammerer Toorey, 95; Summered On Lake

Joan Kammerer Toorey, 95;

Summered On Goodyear Lake

ONEONTA – Joan Kammerer Torrey, 95, who arrived in Oneonta by train & returned every summer, passed away at home in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

She was born in the Bronx, the daughter of Andrew and Mary (McKinney) Kammerer.
She graduated from Haverstraw High School.

After high school, she came to Oneonta on a train, arriving at what is now The Depot Restaurant. While attending Oneonta State Teachers College, she met her future husband, Arthur Torrey. They married in 1946, after he returned from the Air Force. Together they raised a family of five boys, Arthur Jr., Brian, Craig, Damon and Eric (ABCDE).

IN MEMORIAM: Wayne Stanley Cook I, 82; Butcher Loved Cars

Wayne Stanley Cook I, 82;

Butcher Opened Car Lot

Wayne Stanley Cook

ONEONTA – Wayne Stanley Cook I, 82, owner of Wayne’s Cars and a former meat cutter at Bruno Scavo’s grocery, passed away Saturday, May 23, 2020 at the Chestnut Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Oneonta, where he was a resident for the past 5 years during his battle with Alzheimer’s.

Wayne was born Oct. 25, 1937 in Oneonta, the first of eleven children of the late LaVerne Alberti Cook and Ruth Margaret Cronkite. He grew up on the family farm at Star Route, Franklin and graduated from Delaware Literary Institute and Franklin Central School, class of 1956. Shortly after, Wayne joined the Army National Guard, Company C, 2nd Armored Rifle Battalion, 108th Infantry at Camp Drum.

In Appreciation: George Floyd


George Floyd, 46,

From Fellow Texan

By CHIP NORTHRUP • Special to

George Floyd

George Floyd was a big, happy-go-lucky Texan.

He had a daughter named Gianna and was a member of a Bible study class. I grew up in Texas with good hard working men like George, including members of his extended family.

Otis Floyd, Sr. was our handyman. His sons Otis, Jr., Michael and Clifford were our moving men. His wife, Hazel Gay Floyd helped raise our four children. Daughter Esther was our babysitter.

I spoke at Hazel’s funeral and thanked her for raising our children. Otis Jr. joked that she spent more time with our kids than with her own. She certainly spent more time with them than I did.

Robert L. Wood, 82 April 25, 1938-May 19, 2020


Robert L. Wood, 82

April 25, 1938-May 19, 2020

Robert L. Wood

ONEONTA – Robert L. Wood, 82, passed away peacefully at home with his loving family at his side on May 19, 2020.

He was born April 25, 1938, in Oneonta, the son of Jesse G. and Sarah E. (Wade) Wood.

Bob enlisted into the National Guard during high school.  He graduated from Laurens Central School proudly wearing his National Guard uniform.  He then served in the United States Army in 1960-63.

He married Gwendolyn Haines on May 3, 1965, in Oneonta.

Terrance P. O’Hara Oct. 28, 1948 – May 18, 2020


Terrance O. O’Hara

Oct. 28, 1948 – May 18, 2020

Terry O’Hara

ONEONTA – How does one even begin to tell the story of someone like Terry and keep it brief?   He was born Oct. 28, 1948 in Oneonta, the youngest son of Thomas P. and Margaret A. (Schoeller) O’Hara.  He met his wife, Cindy, at Plattekill Mountain and they were married May 26, 1979, in the Jay Gould Memorial Church, Roxbury.

Terry was known for his adventurous spirit, his smile and the glint in his eyes.  As a proud Irishman, he was never without a joke to tell, or a story to share.  He had patience, was a great listener with compassion and respect for others and he always wanted to make people smile, and –  wow – did he know how to be a good friend.

Joyce S. Jones, 87 Oct. 22, 1932-May 19, 2020


Joyce S. Jones, 87

Oct. 22, 1932-May 19, 2020

Joyce Jones

HARTWICK SEMINARY – Joyce S. Jones, a long-time resident of Hartwick Seminary and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, passed away with family by her side Tuesday afternoon, May 19, 2020, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.  She was also an accomplished seamstress and upholsterer, and had a special love for Otsego Lake, often reminding her family, “Aren’t you glad I moved to Cooperstown; there is not a more beautiful place.” She was 87.

Born Oct. 22, 1932, in Ayer, Mass., she was one of four children of David P. and Alice (Moison) Sargent. Raised on the family farm in Groton, Mass., Joyce graduated from Groton High School with the Class of 1950, and then attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1954.

Andrew M. Blum, 89; Banker On Wall Street Led Hyde Hall Revival


Andrew M. Blum, 89;

Banker On Wall Street

Led Hyde Hall Revival

Andy Blum and his wife Flis were inseparable for a half-century.

COOPERSTOWN – Andrew M. Blum, 89, died on May 18, 2020, at his home in New York City, with his loving wife of 47 years, Felicia, at his side.

He is survived by three children: Marcia Compton, Olivia Brown and Drew Blum, all of Hillsborough, North Carolina, eight grandchildren, and three great -grandchildren. He also had two stepchildren: Edwin Stebbins and Richard Stebbins.

He attended Hobart College in Geneva, and was in the Naval Reserve, 1949-69.

IN MEMORIAM: Judith Guzik, 77; Richfield Teacher, Garden Club Member


Judith Guzik, 77, Richfield Springs;

Richfield Teacher, Garden Club Member

Judith Guzik

JORDANVILLE – Judith (Brown) Guzik, 77, a teacher at Richfield Springs Central School, died on Friday, May 8, 2020, at St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Utica.

She was born on Aug. 16, 1942, in Oneonta, the daughter of the late Edward Hugh and Ellen G. Barlow Brown.

She was a graduate of Laurens Central School, Class of 1960 and went on to earn a BS Degree in Elementary Education with Honors from SUNY Oneonta in 1965. Judith also received her MS Degree in Guidance (K-12) from SUNY Oneonta in 1973.

IN MEMORIAM: Frederick Golja, 98; Farmer, Town Assessor


Frederick Golja, 98;

Farmer, Town Assessor

Frederick Golja

EAST WORCESTER – Frederick Golja, 98, a lifelong farmer and community leader, passed away on May 8, 2020.

He was born in East Worcester on November 25, 1921, the fifth of John and Josephine (Kavcic) Golja’s six children. He grew up attending the one room school house on Algerine Hill and working the family farm, where he honed the skills and appreciation of agricultural science that formed the foundation of his own successful farming career.

In 1950, at St. Brigid’s Church in Brooklyn, Fred married Johanna Alex, a city girl who summered upstate. Their shared Slovenian heritage united them in a love of music and dancing that echoed through their long and happy life together. In 1955, Fred and Jennie moved from the original Golja homestead to the farm on Brighton Road, where, working together, they raised four children and stewarded a productive herd of registered Holsteins.

IN MEMORIAM: Ed Newsham, 85; SUNY Professor, Masonic Leader


Ed Newsham, 85, Oneonta;

SUNY Professor, Masonic Leader

ONEONTA – Edward S. Newsham, 85, who had a distinguished career with the Masonic Fraternity, passed away Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital.

Ed was born September 13, 1934, in Erie, PA, the son of the late Frederick and Susan (Harriger) Newsham. He married June Mellor September 7, 1957 in Woods Hole, MA. Ed and June moved to Oneonta in 1965 when Ed accepted a position as Professor at SUNY Oneonta teaching Chemistry where he enriched and touched the lives of many students over the years until his retirement in 1997. Ed was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Oneonta where he served on various boards and committees.

Vincent J. DiGiglio, 28 Sept. 14, 1991-May 17, 2020


Vincent J. DiGiglio, 28

Sept. 14, 1991-May 17, 2020

SIDNEY – Vincent J. DiGiglio, 28, of Sidney passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at his home.

He was born Sept. 14, 1991 in Kingman, Ariz., the son of Steven J. and Karlene (Lloyd) DiGiglio.

Vincent graduated from Oneonta Christian School and then attended culinary classes at SUNY Delhi.

He was a proud stay at home dad to Cooper.

Geraldine Colburn, 69 Jan. 29, 1951-May 9, 2020


Geraldine Colburn, 69

Jan. 29, 1951-May 9, 2020

Geraldine Colburn

ONEONTA – Geraldine Colburn (known as Geri or JayJay) was born Jan. 28, 1951, in Brooklyn.  Geraldine passed at 69 years of age at home in Oneonta, with her daughter, Jennifer, and her dog Luna by her side on May 9, 2020. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer on Jan. 1 and had a courageous battle.

Geraldine grew up in New York City, but always loved the country and the home she got in the woods of Decatur with her late husband, Whitney Colburn. Geri was a lover of writing, listening to music, dancing, cooking and entertaining. She loved to make people laugh and feed them with all her delicious home-cooked Italian meals.

William A. Bonnel, 56 Dec. 19, 1963-May 8, 2020


William A. Bonnel, 56

Dec. 19, 1963-May 8, 2020

COOPERSTOWN – William A. Bonnel, who was a faithful long-time employee of Reiss Moving & Storage in Hartwick Seminary, passed away late Friday afternoon, May 8, 2020, at Robinson Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Stamford after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 56.

A native of New Jersey, Bill was born Dec. 19, 1963, the only child of William C. and Nancy Jean (Jackson) Bonnel. The Bonnels moved to the Cooperstown area when Bill was young, and he attended Cooperstown Central School, graduating with the Class of 1983. He later received a degree in automotive technology.

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