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News of Otsego County

david delker

From Edmeston Comes NYC Angel Of Mercy

From Edmeston Comes

NYC Angel Of Mercy

Funeral director David Delker discusses his missions to New York City. (Ian Austin/allOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

EDMESTON – The family, David Delker said, was desperate.

“They were calling from Florida, but their mom was in The Bronx,” he said. “She wasn’t a COVID-19 death, but the funeral homes in the city had a month and half backlog, and they were just calling further and further upstate.

“They were panicking, they had seen the horror stories and were thinking the worst. But as soon as I started talking to them, you could hear that fear dissipating.”

Delker, owner of Delker & Terry Funeral Home in Edmeston, has begun serving families from New York City and downstate.

“I’m happy to drive four hours to get someone’s mom or their dad and bring them up here for a service,” he said. “Because that’s what I would want someone to do for my family.”

As the deaths from COVID-19 overwhelm funeral homes and the city’s five crematoriums, grieving families are often left frustrated as they try to schedule a service.

“I’ve gotten 25, maybe 30 calls from the city,” he said. “If I can, I’ll refer them to someone closer to them, or I reach out to my network and find out who has an open spot for cremation and I’ll handle the service.”

New York State prevents funeral homes from owning crematoriums or cemeteries, but Delker will make as many calls as he has to in order to find an opening in the schedule. “I have a whole network across the state, so I can make those calls and find out who has an opening,” he said.

That network is crucial, he aid, because of burial rights for different religions. “I’ve done a lot of Hindu services,” he said. “They want to say their prayers at the moment of cremation, so I text them from the crematorium when I know it’s begun.”

Once he has made arrangements with the family – often driving downstate to meet with them – he will locate the body and bring it back to Edmeston himself.

“I want to put the rumors to rest,” he said. “The bodies are not stacked on top of each other. Hospitals are trying to preserve the dignity. There are trailers, yes, and there are a lot of them, but they are organized. But sometimes, there are a lot of questions about where a loved one is.”

His network allows him to have a “three-to-four day” turn-around, and he can quickly mail the remains back to the families downstate. “I do what I can,” he said. “Just because there’s a pandemic on doesn’t mean I can’t be kind and considerate.”

And for those who do have services, new guidelines are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re only allowing 10 people at a time for viewings,” he said. “Everyone has to be wearing a mask, and the chairs are six feet apart. We deep clean between every service as well.”

Delker also allows families to livestream the service over password-protected streams, such as Zoom or Google Chat, to prevent crashers.

Cheering OUT & Swearing IN

Cheering OUT & Swearing IN!

     

At Oneonta’s First Night, Greg Lee and other members of his Cosmic Karma Fire troupe, left, spin flames for  onlookers outside Foothills’ Atrium.  At right, the Elite Dance Company’s Dejalei Champen and Emily Kane hoist Lillian Stalter up in the air.

The state senator’s wife, Cindy, holds the Bible for the 17th time as James L. Seward, R-Milford, surrounded by his family took the oath of office from County Judge Brian Burns, right, Tuesday, Jan. 1, in the Foothills Atrium.  Others from left, are son Ryan and his wife, Kelly Ann; daughter Lauren, and granddaughters Vivian and Nora

 

With his namesake father by his side, county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. takes the oath from county Judge John Lambert, who was also sworn in for a second 10-year term.

 

County Coroner David Delker, the Edmeston funeral director, kisses wife Karen after being sworn in for the first time.

 

Otsego county’s new assemblyman, John Salka, R-Brookfield, recites the pledge.

 

Assemblyman Chris Tague, who represents the county’s four easternmost towns, acknowledges applause.

 

    

Rod Roberts, above, swings Cuca, his wife of 36 years, around the dance floor to “What a Wonderful World.”  At right, tiger-faced Leah Puylara and Owen Meade, and his Aunt Lisa Foster, all from Milford, pause for a souvenir photo.

 

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, JANUARY 1
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for TUESDAY, JANUARY 1

County Officials To Be Sworn In

14-19eventspage

SWEARING IN – 1 p.m. State Sen. Jim Seward, Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., County Judge John Lambert, Coroners David Delker & Christian Shaefer, County Judge Brian Burns to administer the oath. Public welcome. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta.

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