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In Memoriam

Howard Charles Michaels

Howard Charles Michaels

FLY CREEK—Howard Charles Michaels, known affectionately as Charlie, died August 26, 2023, following a brief illness. He was 89.

A fifth-generation Cooperstownian, Charlie was born and raised in Cooperstown. He graduated from Cooperstown High School then enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in the signal corps during the post-war occupation of Germany.

Honorably discharged, Charlie joined New York Telephone automating switchboards and spent off-hours enjoying Otsego Lake while entertaining aboard the Alkies Away. A chance meeting while skiing at Mt. Otsego introduced him to Barbara Yuenger and they were married in 1962. They settled in Fly Creek, where Charlie’s career path evolved into carpentry.

He joined the Neilson Corporation as a union carpenter building Bassett Hospital and Hartwick College.  He worked for Harris Clark building Cooperstown’s Woodland Museum, then became an independent contractor specializing in home renovations, particularly kitchens, and leaving his mark on numerous Otsego Lake camps.

Charlie and Barbara’s shared entrepreneurial spirit shone as they painstakingly restored and expanded the old cider mill on their property. What started as a modest endeavor transformed into a beloved agritourism destination, where they pressed apples and created cherished memories with visitors. Their hard work and dedication to the Fly Creek Cider Mill has created a lasting legacy.

In the winter months, Charlie and Barbara lived in Park City, Utah, enjoying the famous powder snow and developing many friendships. They continued with winters in Mesa, Arizona, fostering new connections and enjoying the warmth of the desert.

Upon retirement, Charlie and Barbara embraced new adventures, moving to Camp Red Roost on Canada Lake. There, Charlie loved his workshop, and maintained the camp while tending to his collection of apple parers and planes. He relished his days on the Nick Stoner Golf Course and the camaraderie of the 19th hole.

As an avid deer hunter, Charlie traveled to Canada, where he bagged his prized buck. Closer to home, he enjoyed a lifetime of hunting seasons on the east side of Otsego Lake, Bed Bug Hill, and at the Wedocandors in the Adirondacks.  As a life-long skier and proud member of the National Ski Patrol, Charlie was known for his smooth form and tight cristies, and explored many mountains in North America and Europe.

Charlie is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughter Francine (Warren) Hoffman; his sons, H. William Michaels and Richard (Kimberly) Murphy; grandchildren Arthur and Jane Hoffman, H. Henry and Sadie Michaels, and great-granddaughter Serenity Hoffman. He is predeceased by generations of the Michaels and Simonds families of Cooperstown.

In accordance with his wishes, private services will be held, and Charlie’s resting place will be Lakewood Cemetery, as well as the cherished landscapes of Canada Lake, Bedbug Hill, and the great North Woods.  Charlie leaves behind memories of fun and adventure, an empty glass, no untracked powder, and a few lucky deer.

Arrangements are under the direction of Tillapaugh Funeral Home.  In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy can be made with the Friends of Bassett.


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