ONEONTA — Richard “Dick” Pindar, 90, of Oneonta, owner of Cross Supply Co. who, on retiring, started Dick’s Golf Shop, offering custom clubs and professional repairs, passed away on Jan. 22, 2020, at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing.
He had been residing at Heritage at The Plains at Parish Homestead for the past two years.
CHERRY VALLEY – Ruth Ellis, 87, a CNA at Otsego County’s Meadows nursing home for many years, passed away peacefully on Jan. 22, 2020.
She was born on Aug. 26, 1932, in Paterson, N.J., to Phillip and Ruth (Nee DeYoung) Meye. She married the love of her life, Maurice Ellis, on July 11, 1953.
HUNDREDS PACK BASSETT HALL
Everyone who was anyone in the world of Otsego County EMTs – hundreds of them, past and present – gathered at Bassett Hall in Cooperstown for four hours this afternoon and evening to celebrate Fred Lemister, primer inter pares in the local EMS world, who recently stepped down after 48 years of service to Cooperstown’s emergency squad, where he responded to 9,600 ambulance calls. Even more significant, a top-notch instructor, he trained nearly every EMT serving in Otsego County over many years. In top photo, Brinton Muller, Bassett Healthcare’s network director for emergency preparedness, announces the EMS Room in the ambulance bay at the Cooperstown hospital’s emergency room will be renamed in Lemister’s honor. As Muller congratulates Fred, wife Karen examines a souvenir aerial photo of the hospital presented to the honoree. At the podium is Cooperstown EMS Captain Eric Pierce, who helped organize today’s testimonial and emceed the event. Inset right, David Butler, former Hartwick town supervisor and EMS mainstay there, pours 100 M&Ms into bowl that, by evening’s end, contained one M&M for every call Fred made over a half-century of service. In concluding remarks, Lemister, inset left, praised his EMS colleagues, comparing them to the Biblical Good Samaritan. “Life is a gift, people,” he said. “And we need to give back for that gift. You people here have given back for that gift.” (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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THIS WEEK’S FREEMAN’S, HOMETOWN
Friends, family, colleagues and students filled the Belden Auditorium at Oneonta High School this afternoon where a service was held celebrating the life of William “Bud” Pirone, a beloved teacher, OHS principal and coach, who passed away on Jan. 13 at age 80. Retired Methodist minister Dick Breuninger gave the sermon, remarking, “If Dick saw paradise as a walk in the woods on a golden afternoon, the best way to honor his memory would be to go for a walk on a lovely day. If it’s too cold to walk, sit down with a good book.” Pirone’s son and daughter, Michael Pirone and Kim Pirone Baskin, seen at left, remarked on memories of their father. “My father had a reputation as a harsh grader, and once told me he gave himself a B+ as a father and husband,” said Michael. “But I gave him an A+.” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Keynoter Graduated From Hartwick In ’90
ONEONTA – Beth LeTendre ’90, chief executive officer of GroupM Performance U.S., has been chosen as the speaker for Hartwick College’s 2020 commencement at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at Elmore Field.
LeTendre, a 1990 graduate of Hartwick College, was the first choice among nominated speakers considered by the Student Commencement Committee and reviewed by President Margaret L. Drugovich.
She’s First Republican To Run
For Village Board In A Decade
By JIM KEVLIN • Special To www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Mary Margaret Robbins Sohns, whose years-long battle against Lyme Disease, culminating in a heart transplant last summer, inspired the community, was nominated this morning by village Republicans to run for the Village Board in the March 18 elections.
The party’s sole nominee for the three open vacancies represents the first time in almost a decade, since Jeff Katz’s election as mayor in 2012 swept the Village Board for the Democrats, that local elections will be contested in Cooperstown.
“It’s time to give back to the community that’s given me so much in terms of support,” said Robbins, accompanied by husband, Matt, a Morgan Stanley senior vice president and financial adviser with a local office at 21 Railroad Ave., and their daughter, Maggie, 9.
MORRIS – Carol Lee Wheeler, 78, who found her dream job as a Mary Kay beauty consultant, where she was mentored by founder Mary Kay Ash herself and prospered for 45 years, died Saturday, Jan. 18.
Carol Lee discovered her dream career in 1977. She became a Mary Kay beauty consultant; moving up the career path quickly. She became a sales director, then a senior sales director.
During her 45-year career she earned many prizes, trips, diamonds, and 13 career cars. Being mentored the company’s founder, she visited Mary Kay’s home, and established lifelong friendships.
NEW BERLIN – Patricia A. Tasior, 71, of New Berlin, who served in the Marines and Air National Guard and, later, as Pittsfield town clerk, passed away peacefully on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at her home.
Pat was born on on Aug. 24, 1948 in Utica, the daughter of the late Joseph and Phyllis Kostyczak Tasior. Pat grew up in Edmeston, where her family lived on the second floor of the Edmeston Hotel, which her father sold in 1987. The site is now occupied by NBT Bank and the post office.
BURLINGTON FLATS – Kenneth A. Vibbard Sr, 88, a 40-year dairy farmer, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Cooperstown, surrounded by his loving family.
Kenneth was born on Jan. 18, 1932 in Oneonta, the son of the late Wesley P. and Martha Drake Vibbard. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his loving wife of 66 years Velma B. Vibbard, and a son-in-law, Wayne Bennett.
A lifetime resident of the area, Ken graduated in 1950 from Cooperstown Central School, where he excelled in athletics.
Gabriel Truitt Trial
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special To ALLOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Video evidence, District Attorney John Muehl said, placed accused arsonist Gabriel Truitt inside his Tru Cuts Barber Shop at 4:30 a.m. the night of the fire that killed John Heller.
“He walks in the back door, turns to the right and squats in front of a cabinet,” Muehl said in his opening remarks. “He lights a lighter, takes out two bottles, puts them in his pocket and walks out.”
Those bottles, Muehl told the jury, were isopropyl alcohol.
Gabriel Truitt Trial
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special To ALLOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Just before the noon break, District Attorney John Muehl brought Bill Haynes, an origin and cause investigator with Sotera Investigative Group, to the witness stand in the case against Gabriel Truitt, the Oneonta man accused of setting the fire that killed John Heller at his 5 Walling Avenue apartment in December 2018.
“The way the burn and char pattern on the inside of the door,” – of Apartment C on the second floor of the building – “indicated a liquid was splashed there,” he said.
“What kind of liquid?” Muehl asked.
“An accelerant,” Haynes replied.
ONEONTA — Beatrice “Bea” Gage Merzig, 97, mother of City Attorney David Merzig, who managed her husband’s Oneonta medical practice for 30 years, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020, following a brief illness.
Born Feb. 3, 1922, she was the daughter of Scott and Florence Gage of Morris.
She attended Morris Central School and graduated with honors from Houghton Academy in 1940, and graduated from Wheaton College in 1944 with a degree in Christian education.