ONEONTA – Richard Arthur Breuninger, 74, left this world Saturday June 13, 2020, in Cooperstown, as the result of a stroke.
Known as Dick, he was born Sept. 29, 1946, in Springfield, Mass., the son of Arthur K.E. Breuninger and Marama E. L’Esperance Breuninger.
Dick lived in Feeding Hills/Agawam, Mass., before going to Hartwick College in 1964. During high school, Dick had a keen interest in language and tutored Puerto Rican migrant workers and enjoyed studying Latin. At Hartwick College he majored in German and minored in history and biology. He first met his future wife, Mary Walter, during freshman week.
After graduation in 1968, Dick went off to teach in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Mary went to visit him there at his urging to learn about life in West Africa. Upon returning in the summer of 1970, they married at the First Presbyterian Church, Gilbertsville, on Aug. 29, and a week later they arrived at Drew University in Madison, where Dick studied Theology.
At this time, Dick and Mary brought Kewulay and John from Sierra Leone to complete high school and college. They continue to be a part of the family.
Dick graduated from Drew in 1973, and after a year as supply pastor at the Otego Charge of the UMC, they moved into the parsonage. Their son Eric and daughter Maria were born during their time in Otego.
In 1980, Dick was appointed associate pastor to serve with George F. Goodwin at the First United Methodist Church in Oneonta. There he served for six years before taking Honorable Location to pursue other vocations.
He served as the United Way Director in 1986-1989. In 1990, Dick started teaching Spanish at Norwich Middle School, then in 1992 came to Oneonta to teach German and Spanish at the Oneonta Middle and High Schools, retiring in 2010. He led trips students on seven trips to Germany.
In 1973, Dick joined the Otego Rotary, and then the Oneonta Rotary. For 43 years, he was involved with the Rotary Youth Exchange Program on the club and district level. This combined Dick’s interest in languages and the pursuit of peace through Youth Exchange.
Dick was predeceased by his parents, Manama and Arthur Breuninger.
Surviving besides his wife Mary of nearly 50 years, are his children, Eric of Redwood City, Calif., and Maria of Allison Park (Pittsburgh), Pa., sister Kathie, in Feeding Hills, Mass.
Dick has four grandchildren, Leo and Charlotte Breuninger, and Elliot and Theodore Corbett.
Family also includes Kewulay Kamara and children in New York City, and John Marah and children in the Rochester area.
Contributions in Dick’s memory may be made to First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820, for the Organ Fund, or to Oneonta Rotary Fund, P.O. Box 1122 Oneonta, NY 13820 for the Breuninger/Forman Scholarship Fund.
At this time, there will be a family graveside service at Hillington Cemetery, Morris, and a Celebration of Life and Remembrance at First United Methodist Church, Oneonta, in the spring or summer of 2021.
His family has entrusted his care to the Johnston & Stanimer Funeral Home in Morris.
Online condolences to her family may be made by visiting www.JohnstonFH.com