News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


IN MEMORIAM: Eugene Lissandrello, 95; Artist Retired To Oneonta

IN MEMORIAM: Eugene Lissandrello, 95;

World War II Vet, Artist Retired To Oneonta

Eugene Lissandrello

ONEONTA – Eugene Lissandrello, 95, an artist whose work was shown at CANO, peacefully died of old age on Sept. 30, 2019, at Fox Nursing Home.

Eugene was born to Italian immigrant parents, Giorgio and Marietta Lissandrello, of Ragusa, Sicily, in Brooklyn, in 1924.

Artist, teacher, and World War II veteran, Gene’s first opportunity to discover his love for art was through free classes offered by the WPA near his home in Bensonhurst. Though accepted at the Cooper Union School of Art, with free admission, he was drafted into the US Army at 19 years of age. His ordnance unit supported the Normandy invasion in 1944. Following the war, he graduated from the Pratt Institute of Art on the G.I. Bill in ’49. He met his true love, Mary Colleen Moore, of Villisca, Iowa, in their painting class while pursuing his MFA at Columbia University, in 1951. Their love would abide for 69 years to this day.

IN MEMORIAM: Val Frank Oliver, 67; Veteran, Devoted Family Man

IN MEMORIAM: Val Oliver, 67;

Vietnam Veteran, Family Man

Val Frank Oliver

WATERVILLE – Val Frank Oliver, 67, a Vietnam veteranpassed away peacefully after an extended illness on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 in Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown.   He had the support and comfort of his loving family at his side.

He was one of 22 children. Hwas born on Feb. 14, 1952 in Ilion, son of the late Frank E. and Ruth McCumber Oliver.  He was raised and educated in Brookfield.  He first worked on his family’s farm.

Walter W. Clapper, Jr., 48; Cooperstown Native


Walter W. Clapper, Jr., 48;

Cooperstown Native Fixed Cars

Walter W. Clapper Jr.

COOPERSTOWN – Walter W. Clapper, Jr., 48, an auto mechanic and car race enthusiast, passed away Aug. 28, 2019, at Wilson Medical Center, Johnson City, after an extended illness.

He was born July 19, 1971, in Cooperstown, the son of Walter W. Clapper, Sr. and Thelma (Brannen) Clapper.

Walter was an auto mechanic, working at Value Auto in Oneonta.  He could fix just about anything.  He enjoyed car races, hunting and spending time with his children.

Marilyn W. Gerowe, 67; ICU Nurse At Bassett


Marilyn W. Gerowe, 67;

ICU Nurse At Bassett

Marilyn W. Gerowe

ONEONTA – Marilyn W. Gerowe, 67, a former ICU nurse at Bassett Hospital, passed away at home with her family and friends at her side on August 1, 2019.

She was born Jan. 1, 1952 in Oneonta, the daughter of John H. Wells Sr. and Adelaide Cora (Escher) Wells.

Marilyn graduated from Oneonta High School, Class of 1970 and also SUNY Morrisville, earning an Associate’s degree in Nursing.

Steven Doyle, 58, Oneonta; Hairdresser For Three Decades


Steven Doyle, 58, Oneonta;

Hairdresser For Three Decades

Steven Doyle

ONEONTA – Steven Doyle, 58, a locally-renown hairdresser, passed away suddenly on July 30, 2019.

He was born February 24, 1961 in Brooklyn, the son of Edward John Doyle and Annette A. (Sudano) Rao.

Steven grew up in Lindenhurst, moving to Oneonta when he was 15 years old and never left. He cut hair for over 35 years, most notably at Measure for Measure, which was originally his father, Ed Doyle’s business.  He then changed the salon to Hot Hair by Steven, which he owned and operated from his home.

IN MEMORIAM: FULL OBITUARY Al Read, 93; Physics Professor Active In Community Life

Albert J. Read, 93;

Physics Professor Active

With SUNY, Community

Albert Reid

ONEONTA – Albert J. Read, 93, a SUNY Oneonta physics professor who founded the Science Discovery Center, died peacefully at home Saturday, June 29, 2019.

He was the founding Director of the Science Discovery Center of Oneonta, renamed in his honor in 2015.

Albert was born in Albany to Dr. Albert J. Read and Dana Weitzel Read. He was married to Hazel Roberts Read from 1953 until her death in 2006. They received the College at Oneonta Foundation Distinguished Service Award in 2000 for their community service. In 2010 he married Dr. Frances Gailey, who survives him.

IN MEMORIAM: Albert J. Reid, 93; SUNY Professor Founded Science Discovery Center

Albert J. Reid, 93; SUNY Professor

Founded Science Discovery Center

Albert Reid

ONEONTA – Albert J. Read, 93, the SUNY Oneonta physics professor who founded the Science Discovery Center at the college, died Saturday, June 29.

Read taught at SUNY Oneonta from 1957 until his retirement in 1985, serving as chair of the physics department from 1983-84. He founded the Science Discovery Center in 1985, serving as director until 2005.

IN MEMORIAM: Doren Slade, 74, Avid Traveler, Writer

Doren Slade, 74,

Avid Traveler, Writer

UNADILLA – Doren L. Slade, 74, who authored the book “Making The World Safe For Existence,”  died on June 11, 2019.

Doren was born on Jan. 17, 1945 . She was a woman of great scholarship receiving her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1973 and becoming a certified psychoanalyst in 1986. She wrote the book Making the World Safe for Existence…, and has been published in psychanalytic journals.

Doren was an avid traveler and had a passion for Mexican culture and cuisine. She was always an understanding, insightful, and empathic person and helped many people who are now living enriched lives.

IN MEMORIAM: Clifford Roger Silliman, 97; Oneonta Native, WWII Officer

Clifford Roger Silliman, 97;

Oneonta Native, Air Force Officer

Roger Silliman

ONEONTA – Word has been received of Oneonta native and career Air Force officer Clifford Roger Silliman, recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and survivor of a harrowing air crash at sea during World War II, has died at his home on the Pacific Coast, two and a half weeks shy of his 98th birthday.

The news of his passing was delayed due to the remoteness of his location from Oneonta, his advancing age and infirmity, and the passing of most of his contemporaries. Roger, as he was known to his childhood friends and immediate family, passed away on Jan. 28, 2018, in the beachside community of Lompoc, Calif.

IN MEMORIAM: Anne Cromartie Reynolds, 98, Built Home On Otsego Lake

Anne Cromartie Reynolds, 98;

Built Home On Otsego Lake

SPRINGFIELD CENTER – Anne Cromartie Reynolds, 98, who built a house on Otsego Lake with her husband, the late John M. Reynolds, passed away on June 5, 2019.

She was born in Garland, N.C. on Aug. 29, 1921 to Dr. Robert Samuel Cromartie and Mary Blanche Jester. She went to Queens College in Charlotte, N.C. for 2 years and then went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1942. Anne worked as a teacher until she was old enough to join the Red Cross, which sent her to Simmons College in Boston for a Masters in Social Work.

IN MEMORIAM: Tammy L. (Utter) Williams, 41; Worked With Elderly For 20 Years


Tammy L. (Utter) Williams, 41;

Worked With Elderly For 20 Years

CHERRY VALLEY – Tammy L. (Utter) Williams, 41, who worked at Cooperstown Centers for more than two decades, passed away June 6, 2019, at her home in Cherry Valley.

She was born Nov. 10, 1977, in Stamford, the daughter of Frederick and Bonnie (O’Donnell) Utter Parslow.

Tammy worked serving those in need as a certified nursing assistant at the Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing for more than 20 years.

IN MEMORIAM: Roberta L. Wood, 90; Retired To Cooperstown


Roberta L. Wood, 90;

Retired To Cooperstown

COOPERSTOWN – Roberta L. Wood, 90, who settled in Cooperstown after living in Long Island, died Sunday evening, June 9, 2019, surrounded by family at her home in the Town of Middlefield.

She was born July 27, 1928, in Brooklyn, a daughter of Walter F. and Laura (Wilson) Acker.

On January 13, 1951, Roberta married Richard Corbett Wood, also from Brooklyn, in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Brooklyn. The two shared 55 years of marriage until Dick’s passing on September 3, 2006.

IN MEMORIAM: Sheila J (Blanchard) Martin, 87; Ran Star Restaurant


Sheila J. Martin, 87; 

Ran Star Restaurant 

ONEONTA — Sheila J (Blanchard) Martin, 87, the former owner of the Star Restaurant and a manager at the Woolworth’s Health Bar, passed away on June 9, 2019 at AO Fox Hospital surrounded by her loving family.

She was born August 8, 1931 to Adrian and Wilhemina (Bushnell) Blanchard in Oneonta, NY. Sheila met William L. Martin, the love of her life, at a local soda shop at the age of 15. Sheila graduated from Oneonta High School in 1950. She married Bill on December 9, 1950. They welcomed their only child, Linda, just a year later.

Barbara Meeks, 87; Honored For Work With Poor, Migrants


Barbara Meeks, 87; Honored

For Work With Poor, Migrants

Barbara Meeks

ONEONTA – Barbara Meeks, 87, who worked on behalf of migrant workers and the rural poor, died Monday May 27, 2019, with her children at her side.

Born in Syracuse, May 19, 1932, she was the eldest child of John and Edna (Suarez) Horrocks.

During her childhood the family moved from Syracuse to South Buffalo and she received her Registered Nurse degree from Buffalo’s Millard Fillmore School of Nursing in 1953. She worked as an RN at the Millard Fillmore Hospital and at Lockport Memorial Hospital.

IN MEMORIAM: Bonnie Farmer, 86; Wife of Pastor Mel Farmer


Bonnie Jo Farmer, 86;

Pastor Mel Farmer’s Wife

Bonnie Farmer

WEST DAVENPORT – Bonnie Jo Farmer, 86, the wife of Pastor Mel Farmer and the former Sunday school superintendent at River Street Baptist Church,  passed away peacefully while surrounded by her loving family on Saturday, May 25, 2019, at  Fox Nursing Home.

Bonnie was born on February 10, 1933 in Evansville, Indiana, a daughter of the late Genevieve Runau. It was there that she met the love of her life, Melvin Farmer. They were married in Evansville and have celebrated 64 years together.

In the early 1960s, the Farmers moved to Upstate New York. After living in several local communities through the years, they settled in West Davenport.

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