HARTWICK – Kenneth Myron Dibble, Jr., 71, a retired union carpenter, local sports fan and family man, passed away unexpectedly of natural causes Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, at his home in Hartwick.
He was born Jan. 22, 1949, in Cooperstown, one of seven children of Kenneth Myron Dibble, Sr. and Marietta Tabor Dibble.
After graduating from Cooperstown High School, Ken was employed in the construction/carpentry business for nearly 50 years, including as a Union Carpenter with Carpenters Local 277, all while passing on his carpentry skills to a younger generation.
Editor’s Note: K. Wayne Bunn recounted these boyhood memories at the rededication of Route 205 through Hartwick hamlet in honor of Marine Sgt. John Kempe Winslow Monday, Oct. 5.
During the 1950s, I grew up two houses from Sgt. John Kempe Winslow, known back then as Johnny, on South Street in the hamlet of Hartwick. He was one year younger than I was, and one year below me in school, but we became close friends at a very early age.
We both attended the former Hartwick High School, which after 1957 became the Hartwick Grade Center, and rode our bikes to school each day during the warmer months. During the summer vacations,
I spent most days with Johnny and our other close friends (Darrell Risley, Ken Tabor, Ron Hurtibise, Orlo Burch, etc.) doing what young kids did back then during the summer: We played backyard football, baseball, basketball, rode our bikes, Little League baseball, Boy Scouts, got into minor trouble, fished for trout in the Otego Creek, hiked, and pretended to hunt deer in the woods around Hartwick.
Some of the best times we had growing up were days spent swimming at “The Fly,” a large deep hole in the Otego Creek near the bridge on North Street, where we would change our clothes in the bushes.
Another favorite time was riding on the back of Ken Foster’s milk truck as he picked up milk from area farms and then riding on top of the milk cans along the conveyor line with rollers which led into the former Hartwick milk plant.
As we got older, I would spend many days with Johnny at the Winslow camp on Otsego Lake where we would swim, fish, canoe, camp out, and hike around the area. We remained friends throughout high school and rode the school bus to Cooperstown each day. He was a very talented wrestler and golfer at CCS and he played the accordion.
Johnny was just a great kid, liked by everyone – I do not recall anyone not liking Johnny. I left for college one year before Johnny did, so I did not see him as much after high school, especially after he joined the Marine Corps in 1965.
Johnny, like all Marines, was very proud to serve in the Marine Corps and serve his country. During his first tour of duty in Vietnam, Johnny was wounded in the leg and spent several months recuperating in a hospital on Long Island. I recall talking with Johnny when he was discharged from the hospital and spent some time at home before resuming his duties.
He received the Purple Heart for his wounds in combat.
For whatever reason, he wanted to return to Vietnam and serve a second tour – perhaps to support his fellow Marines – but he never told me why and I never saw him again after that day. I just know that he was a true Marine and loved the Marine Corps.
Johnny followed in the footsteps of a military family – his father served in the Army in World War II and his older brother Chet served in the Army in the early 1960s.
It was a very sad day for me in July of 1969 when our neighbor Ford Risley told me that Johnny had been killed in Vietnam – he was only 22 years old.
Unfortunately, he was killed by a misguided friendly air strike during a combat operation in Quang Tri Province. He was scheduled to return home and be discharged from the Marine Corps in August of 1969.
It was a very difficult time when my mother and I visited the Winslow family at their camp to express our sympathy – my mother was Johnny’s third-grade teacher. I was able to drive several members of Johnny’s family during the funeral service which followed. Johnny was always late when it came time to do anything and we always told him that he would be late to his own funeral.
In fact, he was – the detachment from the Marine Corps from Albany was late in getting to the Patterson Funeral Home in Hartwick before the church service in Cooperstown so the service was delayed until they arrived.
To this day, 51 years later, I still miss Johnny.
I have very fond memories of Johnny and the Winslow family because they were so good to me over the years. Johnny’s father, Chester J. Winslow, Jr. – also known as “Big Chet” – was an attorney in Hartwick and had a profound influence on me as I was growing up, including why I attended Syracuse University (his alma mater).
I wanted to be an attorney like “Big Chet” but I struggled with English, reading, and writing so I pursued a career as a civil engineer. It is interesting to note that “Big Chet” told me one time that he wanted to be a civil engineer but struggled with math and science.
I was so happy when I read in 2019 that a section of State Highway 205 in Hartwick was going to be named in honor of Sgt. John Kempe Winslow – 50 years after his death. What a great tribute to Sgt. John Kempe Winslow and his family, including his brother Mike and sister Maria who are here today.
A big “thank you” to the Hartwick American Legion Post 1567 for promoting this idea and, especially, to State Sen. Jim Seward and Assemblyman John Salka for sponsoring the bill that was passed by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Cuomo to so honor Sgt. John Kempe Winslow.
I am so proud to call Sgt. John Kempe Winslow my long-time friend and to be a part of this dedication.
I grew up in a small town in Upstate New York where the streets were lined with big maple trees. Some streets had still had slate sidewalks. There were many of those big beautiful old Victorian houses you see in villages across Central New York.
I remember marching down the street in the parades. I was a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout. I think I even got to carry the American flag one time. We would end up at the American Legion where they would serve hotdogs and bug juice as many of the village residents milled around.
In those days I was proud of America, it was my country, it was a nation of immigrants who all came together for a better way of life. That’s the way I saw it at my young age.
As I got older I discovered the truth about many things: the shootout at OK corral with Wyatt Earp had nothing to do with justice. It was about a monopoly of gambling and prostitution.
The founding of my country was the result of mass liquidation of the indigenous species that
were already here. Millions were murdered.
And then there was the fact that there had been wars almost every year since the founding of this country.
We are an island: Why do we invest so much in military? Eisenhower warned about the military industrial complex, but nobody listened. Greed and power were too tempting.
The AMA was created to form a monopoly to drive away homeopathy doctors. It was not about freedom or a better healthcare system. The American Cancer Society was started to form a monopoly. So much power and greed.
I am embarrassed. The reality is every country in the world has blood on its hands. It’s time to stop whining about the past, forget about restitution. We should just move forward as a country and try to do better America has evolved into a petty country. We think everything is black or white. Democrats or Republicans, socialism or democracy, communism or democracy.
Politicians spend time backbiting each other. It’s more about their character and how much money they can put into advertising than the quality of their character or the ability to do the job.
Then there are all those people who fear socialism or communism – it’s like they feel it’s an either/or situation. Sure socialism can breed lethargy, but then capitalism breeds greed and self-centeredness.
Hopefully, one of these days we will get somebody who focuses on the needs and problems of the people, not the government and corporations. The corporations have gained so much power and control they have taken away much of our freedom.
So think about what America really is and what it can be – for all, not just you!
I am not well-versed in history but I think the early settlers saw this land as a place of new beginnings for all people regardless of race or religion.
A land of opportunity in fairness for all … equality and justice…
When it’s time to vote in any election, forget about what he said or she said, think about what they can do for all the people and not just the One Percent or yourself.
It’s not a popularity contest, it’s not about protecting your beliefs. It is a responsibility to run a nation. It should be done with dignity, compassion, iron-willed determination and a love for a nation that embraces all races and religions and all economic needs in a peaceful environment.
Whether we like it or not, it is not just ourselves anymore but we are part of a global community and we had better start acting with maturity, and not like a reality TV show.
HARTWICK – The last weekend Michael Winslow spent with his brother, Marine Sgt. John Kempe Winslow, the two went hunting up on a hill overlooking their hometown of Hartwick.
“We successfully hunted two bucks,” he said, pointing over his shoulder at the hill behind him. “We always enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapping.”
Now, in the valley below that hill, a sign dedicated to Winslow, who was killed by a “friendly fire” airstrike during his second tour of Vietnam on July 30, 1969, marks the portion of Route 205 that cuts through Hartwick hamlet, his hometown.
“My hope is that every time motorists go by, they’re reminded of his service and sacrifice,” said state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford. “This is a fitting way to honor him, and after 51 years, it’s long overdue.”
In 2018, Seward was approached by Hartwick and Cooperstown veterans’ clubs, asking him to put through legislation to dedicate the route in Winslow’s honor.
Seward won approval for the bill in the Senate, and Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, in the lower house, and it was signed by Governor Cuomo, the sign’s unveiling was delayed from spring until Monday, Oct. 5, by the coronavirus threat.
“This proves that Hartwick is a special place where American ideals, like John embodied, are still present,” said Seward.
John’s friend Wayne Bunn recalled their idyllic boyhood days in the hamlet. “In the summer, I spent most of my days with Johnny,” he said. “We’d hitch a ride on Ken Foster’s milk truck, then we’d sit on top of the milk cans as they rolled down the conveyor belt at the Hartwick milk plant.”
A talented wrestler and golfer, he was also well-liked by his Cooperstown classmates. “I don’t recall ever meeting someone who didn’t like Johnny,” Bunn said.
Graduating from Cooperstown Central School in 1964, Winslow enlisted in the Marines. His father, Chester J. Winslow Jr. had served in the Army World War II and his brother, Chester J. Winslow III, had also served in the Army, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, where he trained German shepherds.
Winslow was injured in the leg and sent to Long Island to recuperate in a hospital there, where he received the Purple Heart. “It wasn’t just a band-aid,” said Michael. “I remember him pulling shrapnel from his leg weeks after coming home.”
But when he recovered, and was assigned to Camp Pendleton, where he volunteered for a second tour. “I remember my parents going out there to try and discourage him from going,” said Michael. “But he said the Marines needed experienced men to help train the new recruits. He told me if Dad could survive Patton’s army in World War II, he would be just fine.”
“He never told me why he wanted to return,” recalled Bunn. “But I never saw him after that day.”
He was killed in July; his return date was scheduled for August. “I still miss Johnny,” he said.
Classmate John Reynolds read an email from Randall Brown sent when the sign was announced, reporting meeting a vet named Van Crowder in Florida who remembered his comrade.
“He got out a few weeks before John’s scheduled release date,” Brown wrote. “Soon after John’s release date came, Van drove from Ithaca, where he was from, to Cooperstown to locate John and welcome him back to New York.”
Crowder arrived in Cooperstown late and slept in his car, only to be awoken by a policeman the next day.
“He told the officer why he was there,” Reynolds read. “The cop said he was sorry to have to tell him, but they’d buried John just the week before. Van loved John Winslow, and he named his son Nathan Winslow Crowder.”
Pausing this afternoon after the unveiling of a road sign naming Route 205 through Hartwick in honor of Marine Corps Sgt. John Kempe Winslow, who was killed in action in Vietnam on July 30, 1979, are, from left. state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, and Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, who sponsored the necessary legislation; Christine and Michael Winslow, his brother and sister-in-law; sister Maria Winslow Folts, and Donald Folts. Inset, the gathering brought together more than 100 wellwishers, plus honor guards from Hartwick and Cooperstown veterans organizations, who listen to Seward’s introductory remarks. Other speakers included Wayne Bunn, who grew up in Hartwick with Winslow, and John Reynolds, a friend and fellow veteran. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
HARTWICK – Rocco Joseph Lauria, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and brother, passed away late Tuesday morning, April 14, 2020, at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing. He was 84.
Born Jan. 25, 1936, in Utica, he was the son of Rocco and Norma (Bice) Lauria. After graduating with the Edmeston Central School Class of 1954, Rocco served for three years with the New York Army National Guard.
On April 14, 1956, Rocco married the former Louise Bunn in a ceremony at the parsonage of the Mount Vision Methodist Church.
If I could buy two square miles of land for $1,000/acre, I would be fortunate indeed, for I would preserve these two square miles as is, in reparation for the three billion birds lost since 1970.
We have lost these birds primarily due to habitat loss; they have nowhere to live thanks to our endless consumption of land. When will we humans learn that what the earth freely gives us is finite?
Many of us live here because of this area’s natural beauty. We would do well to honor that connection, and forego the short-term gain of receiving $1,000/acre for our beautiful home.
COOPERSTOWN – When the 9-4 vote affirmed Meg Kennedy as the first woman vice chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, Andrew Marietta leaned over and said, “Meg, you know I support you.”
The Conservative for Hartwick, Milford and New Lisbon and the Democrat from Cooperstown and the Town of Otsego both shook hands and smiled.
But for the preceding few minutes Thursday, Jan. 2, at the Otsego County Board of Representatives’ organizational meetings, things were a bit more tense.
David Bliss, R-Cooperstown/Middlefield/Cherry Valley, had been unanimously reelected board chairman. Dan Wilber, R-Burlington, then nominated Kennedy – “our Citizen of the Year” – as vice chairman, and freshman Rick Brockway, R-Laurens, second it.
Bliss called the vote, but Michele Farwell, R-Morris, asked tentatively, “Is there discussion?”
What followed was a discussion about the future of bipartisanship, with Farwell noting that two years ago, when the county board was also split 7-7, now-retired Gary Koutnik, D-Oneonta, “was nominated, and he got unanimous support of the board. I thought that was a very positive show of bipartisanship.
“I’m just a little bit concerned we might be taking a step backward, and that would be unfortunate.”
Marietta, who as senior Democrat was the party’s leading prospect to succeed Koutnik, agreed. “Having that bipartisan approach contributed to how we worked well together,” he said. “… I think we lose some of the value of the past two years by not having that structure.”
Two Oneonta Democrats, Andrew Stammel and freshman Clark Oliver, speaking for the first time in an official capacity, concurred.
But another Oneonta Democrat, Adrienne Martini, said, “I also think it is nice to have some diversity in terms of who is the vice chair, and I think Meg brings that in terms of gender.”
In the end, Kennedy’s election was bipartisan.
Voting aye were Republicans Bliss, Wilber, Brockway, Unadilla’s Ed Frazier and East Springfield’s Keith McCarty. And Democrats Farwell, who paused for a moment before voting aye, Stammel and Martini.
Voting nay were Marietta, and the other three Oneonta reps, Oliver, Danny Lapin and newcomer Jill Basile.
Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, was absent with the flu.
After the vote, Bliss said, “I agree we’ve done some great work together lately as bipartisans. And I will endeavor to continue.”
He pointed out Kennedy, a Conservative, “is neither Republican or Democrat. And she’s proven her worth, and I know she will endeavor to be as bipartisan as possible.”
Still, Farwell regretted the Democratic loss of the vice chairman post. In an interview, she also noted that Koutnik, an environmentalist, was replaced by Brockway, “a climate-change denier,” on the board’s Solid Waste & Environmental Concerns Committee. And that Oliver was only named to one committee, Human Services.
“I wasn’t expecting a return to partisanship,” Farwell said. “I hear over and over that they want functional government, and not party nonsense like they see in Washington. I feel some trust has been lost.”
In an interview, Bliss said Marietta had expressed interest, “and I would have had no problem with Andrew as vice chair. Andrew was great. Meg was the better candidate.” The climate-denier statement surprised him. He said that Oliver was also named to Performance Review & Goal Setting, a special committee that is about to be elevated to full-committee status.
“Bipartisanship, by my definition, is the best person, the best candidate, the best idea,” the chairman said.
Throughout the debate, speakers were at pains to separate the issue of bipartisanship from Kennedy herself.
“I think Meg – representative Kennedy – will do a great job, and she has my respect and esteem,” said Farwell. Marietta said, “I think Meg will do a tremendous job.” And Stammel, turning to her during his remarks, said, “Meg, I think you will obviously do a great job.”
In the just completed term, Kennedy had chaired the two most time-consuming committees, Intergovernmental Affairs and Administration (ways and means), which won approval for a county administrator form of government and the establishment of the county Energy Task Force.
LAURENS – Herbert E. Baumann, 90, of Laurens, a Korean War veteran and utility lineman who retired to Otsego County from New Jersey, passed away after a brief illness early Sunday morning, December 22, 2019, surrounded by love and a loving family at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.
Born Sept. 19, 1929, in Garfield, N.J., he was a son of Herbert Paul and Elsie (Kinscher) Baumann. He first attended schools in Paramus and later Paterson, N.J.. He left high school and worked for a time as a machinist for John Johnston in Paramus.
HARTWICK – As drivers have been noticing, the Town of Hartwick has posted 12 “You Have Arrived” signs at entry points to the community and its hamlets.
The signs are been raised entering the Route 28 business district, near Toddsville (Historic Mill Village), Hartwick Seminary (Home of the first Lutheran Seminary in America), and at the Hamlet of Hartwick at Routes 205 and 11. The maroon colored detail dates back to the original “Hartwick Huskies” school colors.
The signs grew out of a collaboration between the town board, the highway department and the Hartwick Historical Society. The project, from planning to installation, took many months but is now complete, Town Clerk Andrea Vasquez reports.
According to Devlin, hunters on the state land near the area of Adams Pond Road and Mason Road on the Plainfield State Land came across a Honda-CRV sitting “a few hundred feet” back from the road on Sunday morning.