COOPERSTOWN — Phillip Zenir, 60, local stonemason and musician, passed away Nov. 5, 2019, following a courageous battle with primary progressive aphasia, a rare form of dementia.
The son of John and Rosemarie (Bopp) Zenir, Phil was was born on May 30, 1959, in Mount Vernon, Westchester. He graduated from Carmel High School and attended Dutchess Community College, receiving two associate degrees in English and business.
He served as student council president and pursued his love of acting by performing in several theater productions.
He continued his education at SUNY Oneonta, where he received a BA in economics. He then earned a master’s degree from SUNY Albany in teaching English as a second language. He spent a summer in Austria and an academic year at the University of Wurtzberg in Germany.
He became fluent in German and also performed Shakespeare. He traveled extensively throughout Europe with his dear friend, Della Roberts, busking and doing street performances.
He met his wife, Annie, and they were wed in 1987. They lived briefly in Carmel, where he partnered with good friend, Art Rotero to form Zentero Masonry. In 1991, Phil and Annie moved to Cherry Valley.
Phil established Zenir Masonry and leaves behind a legacy of beautiful stonework throughout the area.
Phil loved life and took pleasure in many hobbies. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, pressing cider, making maple syrup and playing hockey and basketball. He especially loved bluegrass music and performed with the Fieldstone Pickers and Gravel Yard Bluegrass bands. He was particularly proud of his work with the Folk Fest For Food, an annual benefit concert series for the local food pantry.
He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Annie Webster; two children, Lucas and Madeleine Zenir; sister Elizabeth St. Martin (Phillip); three brothers, John (Debbie), Paul and Peter (Debbie), as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his beloved nephew, Paul Jon St. Martin.
There will be a Celebration of Life at the Old School Cafe in Cherry Valley at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cherry Valley Food Pantry.
Special thanks for the loving care he received at Cooperstown Center of Nursing and Rehab and the many friends and family who provided love and support.