News of Otsego County


Baseball, Politics, Community Defined His Contribution
ALBERT ‘SAM’ NADER • 1919-2021

Baseball, Politics, Community

Defined His Contribution

The Nader family chose this photo of their patriarch, Sam Nader, with Damaschke Field, home of his Oneonta Yankees, in the background.

Editor’s Note: Here is the obituary prepared by Sam Nader’s family.

Albert S. “Sam” Nader passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, at his home as he wished, surrounded by members of his family.

He was born on July 8, 1919, in Oneonta, the son of Elias Andrew Nader and Rose Rajah Nader (Nassar). He was one of six Nader children. Sam Nader spent nearly his entire life in Oneonta. He was a proud lifelong resident of the 6th Ward and became an integral member of the community.

He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1938, where he excelled as a lefthanded pitcher. Mr. Nader attended Bates College and later Hartwick College and played baseball at both institutions.

As World War II approached, Mr. Nader began working for the Scintilla Magneto division of the Bendix Corp. in Sidney.

Jean D. Holbert, 82; Survived by 10 Children
In Memoriam

Jean D. Holbert, 82;

Survived by 10 Children

Jean D. Holbert

EDMESTON – Jean D. Holbert, 82, a former farmer who worked at Pathfinder Village, died Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

She was born on Nov.1, 1938 in Olyphant, Pa., the daughter of Bertha & Frank Ceresko.

On Aug. 17, 1957 she married George E. Holbert in Heart Lake, PA.

Jean worked alongside of George on the family farm for many years until the farm was sold in 1991. She then went to work as a care provider at Pathfinder Village and Homer Folks in Oneonta.

Jean was an avid baker, cook and preserver. She loved cooking all the holiday meals, baking the apple and pumpkin pies and serving her pickles. She had a green thumb when it came to growing a garden. She enjoyed putting puzzles together, reading cook books, watching the Buffalo Bills or just sitting around visiting with a cup of coffee and some baked goods. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

She is survived by her 10 children; Edward Holbert, David (Sue) Holbert, Beverly Fagan, George (Deanna) Holbert, Joseph (Beverly) Holbert, Carol (Greg) Thomas, Nancy (Bryan) Johnson, Roger (Kristen) Holbert, Susan (Art) Holbert, Catherine (Wayne) Holbert, Cindy Holbert, 22 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren, her sister, Ginger and many nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband George of 60 years, son-in-law Robert Fagan and daughter-in-law, Elsie Holbert, brothers; Lloyd & Andrew, sisters; Fran, Lottie & Eleanor.

Jean was one of the strongest, kindest persons you’d ever want to meet. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Calling hours were held on Monday, December 28, 2020 at the Dakin Funeral Home, LP, New Berlin, NY. Proper social distancing practices were in place.

A private funeral service was held for the family with Father Kris Boretto officiating.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Dakin Funeral Home.

Magee Left ‘Big Shoes To Fill,’ Colleagues Say

Magee Left ‘Big Shoes

To Fill,’ Colleagues Say


Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, foreground, appears at an Otsego Chamber of Commerce State of the State Breakfast with state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford.

Though they were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, retiring state Senator Jim Seward, R-Milford, always knew he could reach across the aisle to Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-121.

“Bill was always among my first calls when I needed an assembly sponsor for legislation that would help our area,” he said. “And he never hesitated to join me As legislators representing overlapping districts, Assemblyman Magee and I worked together on a regular basis to address the shared needs of our constituents.”

Magee, who served in the State Assembly for 28 years, years, died Thursday, Dec. 24 at age 81.

He was elected as NY state Assemblyman in 1990, and was soon given a reputation as an advocate for farmers, serving as chair of the Agricultural committee.

“[Magee] was a huge asset to the [agricultural] community,” said Darin Hickling, NY District 9 Farm Bureau Director. “He was a huge help to and supporter of the Farm Bureau; he was always there for us – his contributions can’t be measured.”

Magee also ran an auction house, and frequently donated his auctioneering skills to Farm Bureau Benefits.

“He was a personable, approachable and regular guy,” Hickling said. “It was great to talk with him. You could go to him about any issue and – more often than not – he already knew about and was working on it.”

In 2018, after 28 years in office, Magee, then 79, lost his re-election bid to Republican John Salka after the third contest between the pair.

“[Magee] fought hard for farmers, business and the general public alike,” Assembly- man Salka said. “He was down to earth, understood the issues and was one of the most bipartisan people. I certainly had big shoes to fill when I came into the position.”

Salka has said he plans to attend the funeral services later this week.

“It is only respectful,” Salka said. “He was a good man and a family friend; even though we were opponents we had mutual respect for one another.”

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh expressed her condolences at Monday’s Trustee’s board meeting. “He was a perfect, unassuming gentleman who always delivered and wasn’t shy about knowing more,” Tillapaugh said. “The assembly district lost a great politician who always put his constituents first and worked tirelessly on their behalf. His nearly three decades of service will live on through a number of projects.”

Joan F. Shepard, 66; Raised Family Locally
In Memoriam

Joan F. Shepard, 66;

Raised Family Locally

ONEONTA – Joan F. Shepard, 66, who worked at the F.N. Burt Box Company for many years, passed away Sunday, December 6, 2020 at home.

She was born Feb. 8, 1954 in Long Island City, the daughter of the late Peter and Rita (Croci) Sanfilippo.

Joan married Leonard C. Shepard on May 25, 1991 at the Aldrich Baptist Church, North Franklin.

Joan is survived by her husband, Leonard C. Shepard; four children, Bobby Jo (Greg) Greene, George (Patricia) Smith, III, William E. (Kathryn) James, Jr., and Alexander E. (Amanda) James; nine grandchildren; four great grandchildren; two sisters, Elvira (Barry) Koerber and Paula (Laverne) Morrell; one sister-in-law, Chris Sanfilippo; two brothers-in-law, Teddy Ketcham and Ron Reda; as well as several nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her siblings, Rosemary Ketcham, Rita Ann Reda, Peter Sanfilippo, Jr. and Frances Sanfilippo.

There will be no services.

Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home, Oneonta.

Dominic Peter Parlato, 83; Accountant Active In City
In Memoriam

Dominic Peter Parlato, 83;

Accountant Active In City

Dominic Parlato

ONEONTA – Dominic Peter Parlato, 83, who co-founded an accounting firm with Bruno Talevi and was active in numerous community boards, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020 in Warwick, R.I..

Born Aug. 10, 1937, in Rochester, to John and Phoebe (Frosino) Parlato, Dominic attended PS27 and East High School, where he was known to family and friends as “Donald.”

He served as president of his sophomore and junior classes and played high school varsity cross country, football, basketball and baseball.

At 16, he joined the United States Navy Reserve and at 17, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. After graduating high school, he served three years active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps at Parris Island, Camp Lejeune, and aboard the USS Randolph and Intrepid aircraft carriers before being honorably discharged in 1958 with the rank of E4, Buck Sergeant.

Following his service, he attended the University of Vermont where he majored in accounting, played varsity basketball and football and was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

It was also at UVM where Dominic met the love of his life, Paula Stevenson. Their lives were blessed with three children, Craig, Jill and Todd.

Upon graduation in 1962, he obtained employment in NYC with Haskins and Sells, CPAs, earning the CPA designation himself.

In 1967, he formed an accounting practice with partner Bruno Talevi in Oneonta.

In his spare time he played semi-pro football in the Empire League for three years with the Oneonta Indians; served as president of the Southern Tier Chapter of the NYS Society of CPAs; and was co-chair of Planned Parenthood of Otsego and Delaware Counties. He also served on the boards of the A.O. Fox Hospital Board of Trustees; A.O. Fox Foundation; United Way; Hartwick College Citizens Board; and was active with Oneonta Junior Jaycees; BPOE 1312; and the American Legion. As a Master Mason with the Oneonta Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, he was awarded the Dedicated Service Award and served as treasurer.

Dominic served as an adjunct professor at Hartwick College and the State University College at Oneonta. He received the Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) designation from the AICPA and earned Life Insurance Agent, Registered Representative and RIA designations.

He is survived by his wife, Paula (Stevenson) Parlato; son, Craig (Kim Green) Parlato; daughter, Jill (Tino) Ciambriello; son, Todd (Carissa Mann) Parlato; brother, Frank (Joan) Parlato; sister, Carole DeMauro; sister-in-law, June (Ladd) Cook; grandchildren, Dominic, Kelsey, Maia, Lila and Phoebe; and a large beloved extended family.

He was predeceased by brother-in-law, Peter DeMauro and daughter-in-law, Carol (Tilton) Parlato.

A memorial service will be announced in 2021.

IN MEMORIAM: John Hayen, 58; Oneontan Loved Christmas

IN MEMORIAM: John Hayen, 58;

Coach Loved Decorating For Christmas

John Hayen

NEW BERLIN – John David Hayen, 58, who was known for his elaborate Christmas light displays died Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020, at St. Peter’s Hospice in Albany.

He was born May 20, 1962 in Niskayuna, the son of John F. Hayen and Virginia (Lawton) Mosher Sweeney. He graduated from Duanesburg Central School and attended SUNY Morrisville for a short time.

One of his most notable accomplishments was marrying Susan Pendorf on October 28, 1983. With his wife of over 36 years he has three beautiful children.

Throughout his life he has always been athletic and involved with sports.  Most notably he was inducted into the National Softball Hall of Fame and was a three time All-American. He channeled his love for sports into a coaching career as the Goal Keeper Coach for SUNY Oneonta. His love for his teammates and players easily made him a respected mentor. John was a passionate and dedicated person, to his family, friends, and life. In his free time, he enjoyed fishing, a fine bourbon and loved making ugly Christmas sweaters.  John was known as a huge lover of all things Christmas and a Yankee Hater.

In 2016, he boasted that he had 25,300 Christmas lights on his house, more than Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

For over 20 years John worked at Town Square Media Group in Oneonta as a Senior Marketing Consultant.  He was well-known for the live broadcast events, morning sports reports, radio auctions, and live Yellow Jacket sports broadcasts.

John is survived by his wife, Sue Hayen; children, Amber Wiltsie (Jeffrey), Jarrin Hayen (Jason), Christopher Hayen (Jennifer).  He was so proud this past year to become “Poppy Pop-pop” to Oliver Graham and Mason Nolan.  Also surviving, his mother, Virginia Mosher-Sweeney (Steve); his father, John Hayen (Nancy); his siblings, Christopher Hayen (Linda), Susie Jarosz (Brian); step-siblings, Deborah Mostert (Terry), Michael Duhenme (Karen); many beloved nieces and nephews and very special friends.

He was predeceased by his step-father, David Mosher.

John’s wishes were for no services, wanting instead to have a big party to celebrate his life. To honor his requests there will be visitation from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at the Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta.  Due to current restrictions please wear a face covering, maintain social distancing and be prepared to wait to enter the building.  In loving honor of John, please be sure to wear your ugliest Christmas sweater.

The family wishes to extend, with heartfelt gratitude, a special thank you to the staff at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn, for going above and beyond for John and his family.  In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Community Hospice Foundation, Gift Processing Center, 310 S. Manning Blvd., Albany, NY 12208; In Memo: Hospice Inn – In memory of John Hayen.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to,

Rosanne Hill, 73; Owned Bait Shop With Husband

IN MEMORIAM: Rosanne Hill, 73;

Owned Bait Shop With Husband

Rosanne Hill

PORTLANDVILLE – Rosanne Hill, 73, the former co-owner of Jerry’s Bait-n-Tackle, died Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 in Homosassa, Fla.

She was born Jun 17, 1947 in Morris, Ill. to Arthur and Anne McCoy. She was a certified phlebotomist and retired from A.O Fox hospital. She was the co-owner at Jerry’s Bait-n-Tackle with her husband, Jerry Hill.

Linda L. Hamilton, 75; Worked For Bassett


Linda L. Hamilton, 75

Aug. 29, 1945-Sept. 20, 2020

Linda Hamilton

LAURENS – Linda L. Hamilton, 75, went to be with the Lord Sept. 20, 2020.  She was at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.

She was born August 29, 1945 in Mount Vernon, the daughter of Clarence H. and Lucille H. (Jarrett) Hamilton.

Linda graduated from Cortland State College with a teaching degree, received her nursing degree from Broome Community College and completed graduate studies at Bob Jones University.

IN MEMORIAM: Ljiljana Neckermann, 70; Artist Loved Otsego Lake


Ljiljana Neckermann, 70;

Artist Loved Otsego Lake

Ljiljana Neckermann

COOPERSTOWN – Ljiljana Neckermann, an artist and former resident of Newport, Cooperstown and Schuyler Lake, passed away at Pacifica Senior Living in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, after a long illness.

Ljiljana was born in 1949 in the former Yugoslavia, and moved to Germany in her 20s, where she had a successful career in business and became a citizen. In 1979, she was married to the widowed Johannes Neckermann, and two years later, the Neckermann family became residents of the greater Cooperstown area.

IN MEMORIAM: Mary Erbe, 97; Active in Oneonta Life


Mary C. Erbe, 97;

Active in Oneonta Life

Mary Erbe

ONEONTA– Mary C. Erbe, 97, passed away June 28, 2020 at A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta.

Born in Oneonta, August 26, 1922, the daughter of Sheldon H. and Gertrude (Strong) Close. She married Donald D. Erbe on June 10, 1944. He died September 5, 1992.

Mary graduated from Bugee School, Oneonta High School and Syracuse University. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority. A life member of the First Presbyterian Church, where she served as a Trustee and an Elder. Mary also served on the Board of Directors of the Oneonta Family YMCA; the Executive Committee of the Hartwick College Citizens Board, a director of Friends of Huntington Library Board. She was a member of the Oneonta Federated Garden Club, the Oneonta Country Club and for over 50 years she played in the Wednesday Bridge Club.

IN MEMORIAM: Celeste Brown Thomas, 61; Editor At New York Times


Celeste Brown Thomas, 61;

Editor At New York Times

Celeste Brown Thomas

ONEONTA – Celeste Brown Thomas, 61, retired New York Times staff editor who grew up in Oneonta, passed away June 20, 2020, in Rochester of complications from uterine serous cancer.

She had been treated for the disease, a rare and aggressive cancer, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Rochester since May 2017. She died surrounded by family, after hospice care at home for several weeks.

She was born Nov. 25, 1958, in Sayre, Pa., the eldest of two children of Foster Lloyd Brown, a SUNY Oneonta statistics professor, and Barbara Feather Brown, a music teacher. After attending Bugbee School and Oneonta High School, she graduated with a bachelor’s in English from SUNY New Paltz and later a master’s in English from New York University.

IN MEMORIAM: Aaron M. Willey, 34; Grew Up In Burlington Flats

Aaron M. Willey, 34;

Grew Up In Burlington Flats

Aaron Willey

ONEONTA – Aaron Michael Willey, 34, who spent his childhood in Burlington Flats, died unexpectedly on May 27, 2020, in Oneonta.

He was born on Sept. 12, 1985, to Deborah L. Perkins (Willey) and Christopher Posada in Middletown.
Aaron grew up in Burlington Flats and attended Edmeston Central School.

Aaron received a diploma of legal assistant/paralegal from the Blackstone Career Institute in 2006.

IN MEMORIAM: Sharon Ann Congelli, 74; Active With Quakers

Sharon Ann Congelli, 74;

Active With Local Quakers

Sharon Congelli

FLY CREEK – Sharon Ann Congelli, 74, who most recently lived with her daughter in Fly Creek, passed away Sunday, May 17, 2020, following a valiant seven-year battle with glioblastoma. She was 74.

Born Nov. 20, 1945, in North Hornell, Sharon was the daughter of Duane E. and Carol J. (Bricks) Knapp of Atlanta. After graduating from high school in Wayland she attended the Continental School of Beauty in Rochester.

While she was employed at several places throughout her life, she was best known as the manager of the Home Video store located in the Wayland Food Mart, for over 25 years. Prior to managing the video store, Sharon worked for the Wayland Central School as part of the high school cafeteria staff, a position she enjoyed and from which lifelong friendships were born as evidenced by monthly lunch gatherings with the “cafeteria ladies” held for decades after.

IN MEMORIAM: Joan Kammerer Toorey, 95; Summered On Lake

Joan Kammerer Toorey, 95;

Summered On Goodyear Lake

ONEONTA – Joan Kammerer Torrey, 95, who arrived in Oneonta by train & returned every summer, passed away at home in Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

She was born in the Bronx, the daughter of Andrew and Mary (McKinney) Kammerer.
She graduated from Haverstraw High School.

After high school, she came to Oneonta on a train, arriving at what is now The Depot Restaurant. While attending Oneonta State Teachers College, she met her future husband, Arthur Torrey. They married in 1946, after he returned from the Air Force. Together they raised a family of five boys, Arthur Jr., Brian, Craig, Damon and Eric (ABCDE).

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