News of Otsego County

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



Richard Arthur Breuninger, 74 Sept. 29, 1946-June 13, 2020


Richard Arthur Breuninger, 74

Sept. 29, 1946-June 13, 2020

Richard A. Breuninger

ONEONTA – Richard Arthur Breuninger, 74, left this world Saturday June 13, 2020, in Cooperstown, as the result of a stroke.

Known as Dick, he was born Sept. 29, 1946, in Springfield, Mass., the son of Arthur K.E. Breuninger and Marama E. L’Esperance Breuninger.

Dick lived in Feeding Hills/Agawam, Mass., before going to Hartwick College in 1964. During high school, Dick had a keen interest in language and tutored Puerto Rican migrant workers and enjoyed studying Latin.  At Hartwick College he majored in German and minored in history and biology. He first met his future wife, Mary Walter, during freshman week.

Nancy M. Nichols, 96; Teacher, WAVE During World War II

IN MEMORIAM: Nancy M. Nichols, 96;

Teacher, WAVE During World War II

ONEONTA – Nancy M. Nichols, 96, a teacher, and during World War II a WAVE and a “Rosie the Riveter” in California,  passed away Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019 at Fox Hospital.

She was born on Dec. 29, 1923, in Cooperstown, daughter of the late Arthur A. and Lillian (Newport) MacEwan.
Nancy graduated from Oneonta Normal School in 1941, and SUNY Oneonta, Class of 1952.

Geri Asp Scheele, 86; Teacher, Artist, Loved Gardens, Nature

IN MEMORIAM: Geri Asp Scheele, 86;

Teacher, Artist, Loved Gardens, Nature

Geri Asp Schelle

ONEONTA — Geri Mae Asp Scheele, 86, passed away Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, during convalescence at Fox Nursing Home &d Rehabilitation Center from a late October fall.

She was a resident for the past 10 years at The Plains at Parish Homestead, and had lived for 45 years before on Irving Place. Gerri was born on Sept. 19, 1933, in Holdrege, Neb., to Esther Marilla Jenkins Asp and Everett Eugene Asp, the third of four children.

She graduated from high school in Holdrege in 1951. Gerri was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to attend Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. She had worked part-time as a shoe salesperson while in high school and found a similar position to assist with her finances while a college student in Lincoln.

Joe Campbell ‘Changed A Lot Of Hearts,’ Many Recall At Today’s Rites


Joe Campbell ‘Changed

A Lot Of Hearts,’ Many

Recall At Today’s Rites

Oz Smith, a pal of Joe Campbell and former WDOS announcer who also sang on Broadway, sings his original composition, “By The Time Tomorrow Comes,” for his old friend, ending with the standard, “Without a Song,” concluding, “I know there ain’t no love at all without a song.”   At right is Joe’s portrait from his radio days..  (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

“Big Chuck” D’Imperio remembers his radio colleague’s hearty handshake, infectious laugh and “pure joy for the art of broadcasting.”

ONEONTA – Take heart.

Joe Campbell Jr.

The 100 friends and admirers at “Voice of Oneonta” Joseph Campbell’s memorial service this morning certainly did, wife Judith reminded them of one of her husband’s favorite exhortations in good times and bad: “Life is just a bowl of cherries.  Everything will be OK.”

That wasn’t always the case for Campbell, you might think, but you’d be wrong, judging from the testimony at the hour-long service at the Elks Club.

In failing health, he spent the last few years before he passed away at Hampshire House, but he loved life to the end, said son Joe:  When one of his granddaughters reminded him he was almost “91 and a half,” Campbell was delighted.  He passed away on March 6, 2019, at “91 and a half,” after hearing “The Campbells Are Coming,” performed on bagpipes.



Shirley Fisher, 96, Teacher Who Ran B&B, Dies In St. Augustine


Shirley Fisher, 96, Teacher Who

Ran B&B, Dies In St. Augustine

Shirley Davidson Fisher

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – When Hillary didn’t get elected, it was time for me, Shirley Davidson Fisher, to go, and I did just that on July 17, 2019, at 96 years of age.

Sadly, I was predeceased by beloved daughter, Donna Schick, grandson Joel Carson and husband, Jack Fisher. I am survived by daughter, Suzanne (Robert) Davis and younger sister Blanche Fletcher, nieces, nephews and other relatives. Some will be mentioned.

My parents, Don and Mary Davidson raised me correctly, and I have tried to pass on the most important lessons. Come to the table when called and clean your plate, including all vegetables.

Joseph Paul Campbell, 91½ ;Teacher, Coach, Broadcaster


Joseph Paul Campbell, 91½ ;

Teacher, Coach, Broadcaster

Joseph Paul Campbell

ONEONTA – Joseph Paul Campbell, age 91½, passed away on March 6, 2019, at 4:05 p.m. after hearing “The Campbells are Coming” on the bagpipes while surrounded by family.

A few days earlier, Pastor Eda Dorosky led a family prayer circle around Joe, welcoming him with grace to God’s table. A memorial service will be scheduled at a teacher-friendly time, with so many family members following in Joe’s footsteps.

Joe, Oneonta High School Class of 1945, was one of Oneonta’s most dedicated life-long community members. He was recognized through honors and awards throughout his life. Joe’s dedication to teaching, coaching, broadcasting, and community service were among his greatest contributions, which were woven through his life as a father, athlete, philosopher, educator, radio personality, music aficionado, and coach.

Lillian A. Timer, 99; Former Teacher Lived In Mount Vision

IN MEMORIAM: Lillian A. Timer, 99;

Former Teacher Lived In Mount Vision

Lillian Timer

MOUNT VISION – Lillian Timer, 99, passed away peacefully on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, at Chestnut Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center in Oneonta.

Lillian was born on Nov. 30, 1919, in Middlefield, the daughter of Earl and Pearl (Chase) Alpaugh.  She was a graduate of Cherry Valley Central School and of Oneonta State College, Class of 1940.

On May 09, 1943, she married Edward Timer in Cherry Valley.  They lived in Laurens and moved to Mount Vision in 1950.

Stephen Hammond. 83; Teacher, Principal, Downtown Merchant

IN MEMORIAM: Stephen Hammond, 83;

Teacher, Principal, Downtown Merchant

Stephen Hammond Jr.

COOPERSTOWN – Stephen Hammond, Jr., 83, of Cooperstown, a retired teacher, principal and downtown merchant, died Feb. 28, 2018, AT Bassett Hospital after a long bout with cancer.  

Known to all as Buddy, he was a familiar figure at local hotspots such as the Cooperstown Diner, and was known for his outgoing personality and wonderful story-telling. 

Mary S. Buck, 90; Teacher, Nurse Helped Raise Llamas

IN MEMORIAM: Mary S. Buck, 90;

Teacher, RN Helped Raise Llamas

Mary S. Buck

MILFORD – Mary S. Buck, 90, a teacher and nurse who operated a llama farm here for 22 years, passed away Feb. 3, 2018, at home after a long illness.

She was born Nov. 24, 1927, in Brooklyn, one of 12 children to Herbert and Winefred Selleck.

She married David L. Buck on August 18, 1963.

Mary was a school teacher for many years.  She also received a register nurse’s degree, which became very valuable in the raising and caring for the llamas at the farm she and her husband owned and operated for 22 years.

Freda ‘Fritz’ Beliles Shultis, 94; Taught At Valley View, SUNY

Freda ‘Fritz’ Beliles Shultis, 94;

Taught At Valley View, SUNY

Freda “Fritz” Shultis

ONEONTA – Freda “Fritz” Beliles Shultis, 94, who practiced her teaching vocation from Valley View Elementary to SUNY Oneonta, died peacefully at Fox Nursing Home Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017.

Freda was born on Sept. 27, 1923, in Jones Township, Pa., the daughter of Sarah Bidgood and Christos Beliles. After her father’s unexpected passing she and her siblings thrived at the Randolph Children’s Home, Cattaraugus County, where she enjoyed participating in band, swimming and cheerleading before graduating.

Known for her fierce determination to excell all her life, Freda used both her inner drive and encouragement from the Randolph Home’s staff to get accepted to and then attend Cobleskill College.  At college she met the love of her life, Edmund Shultis Jr. He was a native of Oneonta, and it was in Oneonta that they married on Sept. 3, 1942, shortly before he entered service in the Army during World War II.

 Richard L. Hanson, 73; Marine, Retired Teacher, Former Farmer

 Richard L. Hanson, 73; Marine,

Retired Teacher, Former Farmer

Richard L. Hanson

SPRINGFIELD – Richard Lee Hanson, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War,  retired school teacher and farmer, passed away following a valiant battle with cancer Wednesday night, Oct. 18, 2017, at his home in the Town of Springfield with his family by his side.  He was 73.

Born March 30, 1944, at Bassett Hospital, he was the son of Lester Hans and Ellamae Jessie (Myers) Hanson.  A gifted athlete, Dick attended Cooperstown Central School where he excelled in football, skiing, basketball and track.

Joan W. Atkins, 81; Teacher In Richfield, Schuyler Lake

IN MEMORIAM: Joan W. Atkins, 81;

Teacher In Richfield, Schuyler Lake

Joan W. Atkins

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Joan Willard Atkins, 81, a former teacher in Richfield Springs, passed away Monday July 17, 2017, in Cortland Regional Medical Center, with her family by her side.

She was born on Dec. 4, 1935, in Orchard Park, daughter of the late George E. and Florence Fisher Willard. Joan was raised in Orchard Park and was a graduate of Orchard Park High School. She received a bachelor’s in education at SUNY Cortland.


CCS High School Winter Concert


We still have 6 families in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program in need of a benefactor this holiday season. CLICK HERE to learn how you can help them.

HIGH SCHOOL WINTER CONCERT – 7:30-9 p.m.. Auditorium, Cooperstown Central School, 39 Linden Ave., Cooperstown. Info,

SANTA’S SECRETS – 2 p.m. Learn the Secres of Santa’s Cooperstown Cottage with Santa. Woodside Hall, 1 Main St., Cooperstown. Info, (607)547-0600.

LEGAL AID SOCIETY – 10 a.m. Board meeting of the Legal Aid Society of Mid-new York, Inc. 268 Genesee St., Utica. Info, or call (315)793-7057 or visit

Jim Huntington, 63; Longtime Soccer Coach, Much More

IN MEMORIAM: Jim Huntington, 63;

Longtime Soccer Coach, Much More

Jim Huntington
Jim Huntington

WESTFORD – Jim Huntington, longtime soccer coach at Schenevus Central School, passed away suddenly from a heart attack on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.

Born May 6, 1952, Jim worked as a teacher, postal worker and business owner but is perhaps best known as a coach whose career spanned four decades. He was also a proud member of the American Legion, VFW, Masons and St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Westford.

While it may be convenient to define his life by citing his careers and memberships it fails to account for who Jim was.

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