News of Otsego County

In Memoriam

Major Richard (Dick) Bratton, 84 March 12, 1936 to Feb. 18, 2021

In Memoriam

Major Richard (Dick) Bratton, 84
March 12, 1936 to Feb. 18, 2021

Major Richard (Dick) Bratton

COOPERSTOWN – Dick Bratton, retired Air Force civil engineer, legendary hiking trails builder and long-time Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, civic leader died on February 18, 2021, at the age of 84. He was born in Winchester, Kentucky, but spent the majority of his early years in Cooperstown, NY.

Dick graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, earning a degree in architecture. After graduation, he enlisted in the USAF and spent twenty-two years using his engineering expertise in various projects around the globe. Following his military retirement, he settled in the small mountain town of Green Mountain Falls, where he left an indelible mark through his service in local and regional government. He served two terms as Mayor and spent over thirty years in leadership and participation on numerous committees. He spent untold hours volunteering his time, wrote several successful grants for the benefit of the town, and was a generous benefactor.

‘Cooperstown’s Santa Claus,’ Paul Kuhn dies June 2, 2021
Cooperstown’s Paul Kuhn died Thursday, June 2. Best known as the village’s Santa Claus, Kuhn had a love for Cooperstown that extended to his childhood. (Ian Austin/

Santa Claus,’

Paul Kuhn
dies June 2, 2021

STAFF REPORT • Special to

Family and friends of Paul Kuhn have confirmed Cooperstown’s Santa Claus for decades died Wednesday, June 2, with his wife Mary Margaret by his side.

Kuhn, 83, had been suffering from heart failure and pulmonary fibrosis this spring.

According to a Community Graduate Program biography of Kuhn, he “was born in Glen Cove, New York in 1938. He grew up in a modest Catholic home during World War II with his older brother and parents. He received his first introduction to Cooperstown in 1945, after his family rented out their home and spent the majority of their time at a summer camp in Cooperstown, where his father worked. This camp became an integral part of his family’s life, and Kuhn served as a counselor there until he graduated from college. After graduating from Villanova University in Philadelphia, Kuhn served in the military, then returned to work at an insurance company for several years in Philadelphia where he met his wife, Mary Margret Kuhn. Once they retired, Mr. and Mrs. Kuhn moved to Cooperstown where they became important members of the community. Mr. Kuhn worked at The Farmers’ Museum as an interpreter in Bump Tavern for 17 years and as Santa Claus for 16 years.”

Kuhn’s full obituary will be posted later and will appear in next week’s edition of The Freeman’s Journal.

Late Corp. Michael Mayne from Burlington Flats honored with Veterans’ Hall of Fame induction
State Sen. Peter Oberacker and former state Sen. James L. Seward present the 2020 New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame honor to the parents of Corp. Michael Mayne. From left, Sen. Oberacker, Lee Mayne, Cathy Mayne, former Sen. Seward. (Contributed).

Late Corp. Michael Mayne
from Burlington Flats
honored with
Veterans’ Hall of Fame induction

STAFF REPORT • Special to

BURLINGTON FLATS — After a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, late Corp. Michael Mayne of Burlington Flats was honored as an inductee to a veterans hall of fame.

State Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, joined former Sen. James L. Seward to pay tribute Monday, May 31, to the late Corp. Michael Mayne of Burlington Flats, the 2020 inductee to the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame from the 51st Senate District.

Mayne’s parents Cathy and Lee accepted the honor on behalf of their son. Additionally, members of the 1st Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, who served with Corporal Mayne, made the trip to Burlington to take part in the ceremony.

Corporal Mayne was the 2020 Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame inductee from the 51st Senate District, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, Burlington Memorial Day ceremony was cancelled and the presentation was rescheduled for this year.

“We owe an eternal debt of gratitude to the men and women who have fought and died for our freedoms,” Oberacker said. “Corporal Michael Maybe personified the true meaning of hero and it is my extreme honor to join Senator Seward in presenting this fitting honor.”

“Corporal Michael Mayne was an exemplary soldier who cared deeply about his country and the men and women he served alongside,” Seward said. “As my final inductee to the Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame, I could think of no one more deserving.”   

 Mayne, who was 21 at the time of his death, served in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, a unit of the 25th Infantry Division based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Town of Middlefield Supervisor Joe Harris died Tuesday, May 25


Joseph Harris, 64,
Middlefield town supervisor
Sept. 20, 1956 to May 25, 2021

Middlefield  —  Joseph S. Harris, 64, of Middlefield, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday May 25, 2021.

Harris was born on Sept. 20, 1956, in Oneida.  The son of William and Barbara Harris.  He graduated from Cooperstown Central School.  He worked for the village of Cooperstown, where he took care of his pride and joy, Doubleday Field for 33 years before retiring.  He also spent many years working for local farms.  After his retirement, he devoted many hours to public service as the town of Middlefield Supervisor. He also worked for American Wholesalers and Stocking Stalls.

Joseph married Jean N. McCauley on October 25, 1980.  They made many memories together, while enjoying their time camping and being with their family and closest friends.  He belonged to Wedocandors Club, where he enjoyed many hunting memories with his son, son-in-law, and club members.  He also was an avid hunter, who spent many opening days with his son and daughter.  It was as great joy to him to see a successful hunting day.  He enjoyed weekends playing golf with his Belvedere group.

He is survived by his loving wife Jean; son Chad and Stephanie Harris of Roseboom; and daughter Kristie and Brian Wellman of Hartwick.  He is also survived by his granddaughters; who he adored and held a very special place in his heart Jillian and Brianna Harris, Addison and Sawyer Wellman.  He is also survived by his two brothers, John (Karen) and Andrew (Karen), and six sisters, Denna (Patrick), Donna (Steve), Darlene (Walter), Janet (Jack), Margaret (Dale) and Martha, sister-in-law Denise Thayer and many nieces and nephews.  Joseph was predeceased by his mother and father, William and Barbara Harris; and brother, Thomas Harris.

He also enjoyed spending time with special friends Donna, Jim, Aaron and Andrea Mateunas, George and Kim Yerdon, Karen and Rich Anderson, Greg and Phyllis Lippitt, Art and Donna Hubbell, Paula Johnson, Shawn and Tiffany Morrison and Mike and Michelle Stocking and so many more.

Calling hours will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday May 30, at Ottman Funeral Home, 22 Church St. in Cherry Valley.  Following the calling hours, there will be a celebration of life at the Middlefield Firehouse, 3666 county Route 35 Roseboom.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Harris’s name may be made to any of the following Emergency Squads: Milford, Cooperstown or Middlefield.

Patricia A. Romaine, 74 ‘Jack of all Trades’


Patricia A. Romaine, 74
‘Jack of all Trades’

Cooperstown – Patricia A. (Parlatore) Romaine, 74, passed away peacefully on May 10, 2021 at Cooperstown Center in Cooperstown.

Patricia was born on January 8, 1947 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, daughter of the late Patsy and Frances (Capoccitti) Parlatore.

She enjoyed cross stitching, doing crossword puzzles and reading.

Patricia will be remembered for her ability to strike up a conversation with anyone. She enjoyed the music and movies of Elvis Presley, especially since they shared the same birthday.

Throughout her life, Patricia was a jack of all trades, working as a bookkeeper, telemarketer, school monitor and for various newspapers. She would always look forward to coming home to spend time with her loving family.

She will be remembered by her domestic partner, Jarron Baysinger.

Patricia is the former spouse of Michael Minutolo and the late Roger Romaine.

Memorial services will be held on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Noon at St. Michael’s Cemetery, 2205 Stratford Avenue in Stratford, CT.

Stanley G. Smith, 61 April 27, 1960 – May 23, 2021


Stanley G. Smith, 61
April 27, 1960 – May 23, 2021

Stanley G. Smith

ONEONTA – Stanley G. Smith, 61, lost his courageous battle with lung cancer on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

He was born on April 27, 1960 in Delhi, to Francis “Smitty” and Elizabeth (Slater) Smith.

Stan was a 1979 graduate of Oneonta High School, where he played football and baseball. He worked for several years at Brook’s BBQ. Stan worked also for Otsego County Senior Meals on Wheels.

In between he worked as a bar bouncer, helped his dad “Smitty” with the family paving business, and at the Holiday Lanes doing several different jobs. Stan worked in the maintenance at SUNY Oneonta for several years until the devastating diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer, forced his retirement last August.

Stan married Dolores Hugues on December 21, 2002. He became step-dad or as they liked to call him, “their extra dad”, to Peter Hugues-Simmons of Manchester, CT and Joseph Simmons of Laurens. Stan jumped into fatherhood with both feet, coaching the Sunday morning kids bowling. Taking teams all over the state to tournaments and taking a team all the way to the States in Syracuse. He also coached city of Oneonta pony league baseball, going from last place the first year to being undefeated the next. Stan, in his own rite, was an excellent bowler; 14 career 300 games, numerous 299’s. At one point, Stan was on the

Joseph George Smaila III, 92 Rotarian president, he helped start Worcester Pool and Worcester Health Center


Joseph George Smaila III, 92
Rotarian president, he helped start
Worcester Pool and Worcester Health Center

Worcester – Joseph George Smaila III, 92, went home to be with the Lord on April 10, 2021.

Joe was born in January of 1929 in New York City to Anna Udovich, who was originally from Austria.

He graduated from Worcester Central School, Class of 1949. He worked at his family’s restaurants, Bright Side Central Hotel and Anna’s Restaurant. He also worked at Worcester Lumber Co., General Electric, and Prudential Insurance as an agent. Joe was honored to receive several Vice-Presidential Academy of Honor Awards throughout his 30-year career at Prudential. Joe served as Rotarian President and contributed to the inception of the Worcester Pool and Worcester Health Center. He was a lifelong resident of Worcester. Joe loved his family, friends and community, enjoying bringing people together with a good laugh, cooking, a good poker game and a good polka.

Joe is survived by his wife, Jean Smaila of 20 years; son, Joseph “Buzz” and wife, Rita Smaila; daughter, Andria “Andi” Smaila; grandchildren, Christine (Smaila) and husband, Justin Soudant, Sara (Smaila) and husband, Brendan McGrath; great-grandson, Joshua Soudant; sister-in-law, Joyce Udovich; step-children, Marty and wife, Diane Winn, Ronnie and wife, Ginny Winn and Maryann (Winn) and husband, Wes Kryger; several grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Joe was predeceased by his first wife, Louise; his parents, Anna and Bill Udovich; sister, Barbara George and brother, William Udovich.

A private graveside service will be held at the St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Worcester.

Cards and remembrances may be sent to the family.

Online condolences may be made at, The Heller & Skinner Funeral Home, 155 Main St., Worcester, is assisting the family.

John R. Sovocool, 65 Marathoned in all 50 states


John R. Sovocool, 65
Marathoned in all 50 states

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – John R. Sovocool, 65, was born January 25, 1956 in St. Johns, Newfoundland in Canada to Wilbur Sovocool and MaryAnne Cranston Sovocool and passed away May 20, 2021 in Batavia, NY.

John graduated from LeRoy High School, Cornell University, Golden State University and served in the US Air Force. For the last 20 years he owned and operated the Fieldstone Farm Resort. In his off time, he was an avid runner who had completed at least 1 marathon in all 50 states. He ran a 100-mile marathon in Vermont which he finished in 22 hours and 11 minutes.

John is survived by his wife, Jeanie, five children, and two grandchildren: John E. Sovocool and his son, Chayden. Adam Sovocool and his son, Samuel. Kristin Sovocool and her husband, Ben Cook. Nicholas Sovocool.

Alexander Sovocool, and also his six remaining siblings.

He was predeceased by both his parents, his sister Patty and his brother Kenny.

Arrangements are entrusted to Falcone Funeral Home, LeRoy, NY.

Those wishing to make memorial contributions are asked to plant a tree in his honor.

Richard Duncan, 76, Photographer known for showing Otsego County’s beauty
Duncan’s photos captured the beauty of Cooperstown, Otsego Lake and Otsego County.

In Memoriam

Richard Duncan, 76,
Photographer known
for showing
Otsego County’s beauty 

COOPERSTOWN – Richard Duncan, 76, whose photographs defined the Otsego Lake region for a generation, died Thursday, May 20, 2021, at his home near Arnold’s Lake.

Duncan published three photo books, “Otsego Lake,” “Cooperstown” and “Otsego County,” in collaboration with The Fenimore Art Museum. An updated second edition of “Cooperstown” was published in 2018.

Duncan was born June 9, 1944, in Catskill, to Robert W. Duncan and Ruth H. Atwater. Survivors include his beloved companion since 1998, Pam Welch.

Patrick R. Materazzo, 86 Served in the Navy, worked in aerospace

In Memoriam

Patrick R. Materazzo, 86

Served in the Navy, worked in aerospace

Patrick Materazzo

Sidney – Patrick Materazzo, age 86, of Sidney, lost his courageous battle with cancer on January 28, 2021 at home surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Amsterdam, NY on May 1, 1934 to Luigi and Concetta (Testa) Materazzo.

Pat graduated from Amsterdam High School and Mohawk Valley Community College, and proudly served in the U.S. Navy.

He worked for over 30 years in the aerospace engineering industry before retiring to enjoy time with family, cars, and motorsports.

Jonathan A. Graham, 33 Known for fine cooking skills, sense of humor

In Memoriam

Jonathan A. Graham, 33

Known for fine cooking skills, sense of humor

Jonathan A. Graham

Franklin – Jonathan Andrew Graham passed away on May 8, 2021 in Johnson City, New York. He was born January 9, 1988. Jon was the loving son of Peter and Ann Marie Graham of Conklin, New York.

He had a beautiful voice. He was a soloist for his church and sang in the church choir, in Canastota he acted in the drama club. Because of his stocky build, he was nicknamed “Babe Ruth” in his little league baseball team where he could hit the ball out of the field.

Jon and family moved to Conklin where Jon was active in the Civil Air Patrol, he was introduced to glider flight by sitting in the front seat of a glider, with the pilot behind him. His infectious grin was broad after this flight and it shone many other times in his life.

As a student at Franklin High School, he thrived on the debate team where he helped win numerous debates both for the team and in individual competition.

Yvonne F. Page, 83; Ran Otsego County 4-H horse program

In Memoriam

Yvonne F. Page, 83;

Ran Otsego County 4-H horse program

ONEONTA – Yvonne F. Page, 83, passed away peacefully at Noland Hospital in Dothan, Alabama on Monday, May 10, 2021.

Yvonne was born on March 16, 1938 in Summit, NJ and was a daughter of the late Gaston and Aurore (Brunette) Fichot, Sr. On June 7, 1958 she married Charles Page, Sr. at Our Lady of Fatima Church, New Market, NJ.

Yvonne was predeceased by her husband, Charles Sr., son, Perry Sr., daughter-in-law, Geralyn Page, along with many siblings, their spouses and in-laws.

Yvonne put her heart and soul into everything that she did. She was actively involved in whatever activities that her children and grandchildren where involved in. She enjoyed trail riding her horses with her family and grandchildren. She taught many how to ride horses and basic horsemanship. She was a leader of the New Lisbon Farm Bugs, the Buckaroos and the Morris Unicorns 4-H clubs for over 35 years.

She took great pride in running the Otsego County 4-H horse program along with many of her friends.

Claud D. Folds, 71 Awarded Silver Star for gallantry

In Memoriam

Claud D. Folds, 71

Awarded Silver Star for gallantry

Claud D. Folds

HARTWICK – Claud D. Folds, better known to his family and friends as Flip, joined Our father in Heaven in the early morning hours of Tuesday May 11th, 2021.

Born in Oneonta on April 2, 1950, Flip was the only child of John and Doris Folds. Because of his father’s service in the US Air Force, Flip had the unique opportunity to grow up in a variety of locations, including Texas, Alaska (moving there just two days before The Great Earthquake,) Izmir, Turkey, and Northern Africa, just to name a few. This life afforded Flip a perspective on the world that few people have the chance at.

Flip enlisted in the US Army in 1968 to serve his country during The Vietnam Conflict. He received sniper certification at Fort Benning, Georgia in November of 1968 as one of the first members of the hand-picked group of volunteers from each battalion to be a part of the class.

Flip served in many capacities, including the 23rd Infantry Division (formerly known as The Americal Division; the very same as his father during World War 2.) Flip was part of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol- a team of 6 well-armed men that performed patrols and missions deep in enemy territory- holding the rank of Sergeant. LRRPs would eventually become today’s Army Rangers.

Flip finished his time in the Army as part of the 198th Infantry Brigade until an injury sent him home.

Lawrence J. “Butch” Weill Jr., 61 Lifelong Unadilla resident, enjoyed gaming, sports

In Memoriam

Lawrence J. “Butch” Weill Jr., 61

Lifelong Unadilla resident, enjoyed gaming, sports

Lawrence J. Weill Jr.

UNADILLA – Lawrence J. “Butch” Weill Jr., 61, of Unadilla passed away unexpectedly Saturday, May 1, 2021, at home. He was born August 8, 1959, in Oneonta the son of James O. Sullivan and Betty (Brown) Sullivan.

A lifelong area resident, Butch graduated from Unatego Central School, the Class of 1977.

He was currently employed for Norfolk Southern Corp. as a machinist. He started working for the railroad in June of 1992. Butch enjoyed scratch off tickets, trips to Turning Stone and Tioga Downs, watching sports especially the New York Mets, Oakland Raiders, and SU Basketball and going to Afton to watch dirt track racing.

John Gale Goddard, 79 Oceanography pioneer, world traveler, volunteer

In Memoriam

John Gale Goddard, 79

Oceanography pioneer, world traveler, volunteer

John G. Goddard

Cooperstown – John Gale Goddard, former resident of Cooperstown passed away May 6, 2021, in Nyack, NY. He was 79.

John was born in Cooperstown to Arthur John Goddard and Ramona Gale Goddard and graduate from Cooperstown Central School in 1960. He earned a B.A. in chemistry from Harpur College (now SUNY Binghamton) in 1965 and a M.S. in Geology from CUNY Queens College in 1969.

John was an expert in the measurement of carbon dioxide in sea water. He joined the staff at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory in Palisades, NY in August 1965 and supported that research enterprise until 2019; he also taught oceanography at Fairleigh Dickinson University in the 1980s. He sailed on more than 20 oceanographic expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans and traveled to all seven continents. His efforts contributed to better understanding of global climate change, biogeochemical cycling, ocean circulation, ocean-atmosphere interaction, and earthquake prediction. The quality and importance of his contribution to the collective scientific accomplishments of LDEO is recognized.

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