COOPERSTOWN – George W. McCrea, age 86, of Cooperstown, passed away peacefully early Thursday morning, June 16, 2022.
George was born February 11, 1936, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a son of James M. and Alice (Reilly) McCrea.
When he was a youngster his family moved to Laurens, where he graduated from Laurens Central School with the Class of 1955. During his high school years, he was a three-sport all-star in football, basketball and baseball. On January 18, 1956, he enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served his country as a Third Class Petty Officer for four years following the Korean War. He often recalled when his ship, the USS Leyte, hit a whale, noting, “It stopped the ship dead in the water.” His aircraft carrier was responsible for patrolling the northeast coast of the United States. Following his honorable discharge on December 17, 1959, he apprenticed to and became a stone mason and a bricklayer. He also owned and operated a farm on the Middlefield Center Road.
COOPERSTOWN – Gerald Douglas “Jerry” “Jiggs” Monroe, 76, of Cooperstown, passed away Sunday morning, May 8, 2022, at the Samuel S. Stratton V.A. Medical Center in Albany following a valiant battle with cancer.
Jerry, or Jiggs, as many people knew him, was born September 13, 1945, in Cooperstown, a son of Walter J. and Ernestine (Tabor) Monroe. He was raised in Hartwick and attended Hartwick High School.
On November 22, 1965, Jerry was inducted into the United States Army. He proudly served his country during the Vietnam War as part of Company E, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, and received a Purple Heart for injuries received in the line of duty. On November 12, 1967, he received his honorable discharge from the military.
Following his military service he was employed for 37 years as a gunsmith for Remington Arms in Ilion.
We have a gem amongst us in Otsego County: meet Chile native Nelson Modaca, a 20-year Marine vet and rising culinary star.
Spoiler alert: he plans on opening a French-infused restaurant in our area in 2023!
Mr. Modaca is making a name for himself in the Hospitality and Culinary school at SUNY Delhi. He’s taking an honors class every semester in addition to his current academic schedule. He’s pushing himself to be the best; he will have a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management in May 2023.
“My ultimate goal is to open a restaurant when I graduate in May of 2023,” Mr. Modaca said. “We are looking in the Cherry Valley area. I’m looking for something that isn’t huge, that has a good space that I’d like to work in. And it will most likely be a classical French Bistro.”
FLY CREEK – Lee Carlton Winnie died peacefully on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at his home in Fly Creek, surrounded by his loving wife of nearly 40 years and his two sons. He was 75 years old.
Lee was born October 25, 1946 in Cooperstown, the son of Ernest and Gerda (Christiansen) Winnie. He graduated from Cooperstown Central School in the Class of 1965.
After graduating high school, Lee attended Hudson Valley Community College and studied as a mechanical draftsman. Shortly after college in 1967, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War. As a mortarman, Lee received several commendation medals for his heroic actions in Dak Seang in 1968.
After being honorably discharged in 1969, Lee returned to work at his father and uncle’s farm machinery implement business. As a life-long resident of Fly Creek, he is most well-known for working for MOSA and Otsego County at the Cooperstown dump for many years, where he helped people with their recycling and local gossip.
Cooperstown High Alum Tom Murphy, left, and Iraq War vet Rick Yarosh, right, flank CCS Junior / Senior High Assistant Principal Amy Malcuria after a March 7 interactive anti-bullying assembly.
The lights went out in Cooperstown High School’s Sterling Auditorium on the afternoon of March 7, not long after sophomores, juniors, and seniors had filed in for an afternoon assembly. The video screen went live with a high-energy montage of career highlights for Mixed Martial Arts fighter Tom Murphy, routinely battling his opponents to the mat and raising his arms in victory.
“I hate fighting,” Mr. Murphy said as the video ended and the lights came up. “There’s nothing I find more despicable than fighting to solve a problem.”
MMA, he said, was a competition: “20 years of preparation fighting men who had prepared and trained as hard and long as I did to compete in a sport, to win or to do better than others.”
Mr. Murphy – a 1994 graduate of Cooperstown High School – wasn’t there to talk about his years in the ring (he stopped in 2008) but to lead students through an uptempo lesson on how to defeat bullies. “Sweethearts & Heroes,” the program he co-founded with Iraq War vet Rick Yarosh – a retired sergeant with the United States Army – has challenged some two million students across the country to, as Mr. Murphy said, “own the moment” to jump in and help when they witness bullying.
Tailored for each age group across the district’s K-12 student population, the Sweethearts presentation to the high schoolers began in earnest with a jolting discussion about teen suicide. The
WEST ONEONTA – Joseph A. Vagliardo, 74, of West Oneonta, NY, passed away on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, at Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown.
He was born October 2, 1947, in Oneonta, NY, the son of James and Dominica (Vaccaro) Vagliardo.
Joseph proudly served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1970, with three tours in Vietnam. He received the Nation Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
He worked for the NYS Department of Transportation until his retirement. He had a passion for model trains and fish aquariums. He took great pride in maintaining his lawns, and was a long-time member of the Elks Club of Oneonta. He enjoyed annual vacations in Florida with his wife Debra, until her passing.
ONEONTA – David W. Brenner, 90, passed away March 4, 2022 at Cooperstown Center Rehabilitation and Nursing Home.
David was born December 20, 1931 in Blooming Grove, NY, the son of Lee D. and Henrietta (Maxwell) Brenner. He was the oldest of 10 children. The family lived in various towns in and around Newburgh NY.
David Graduated from Washingtonville High School in 1949. In 1950 he enlisted in the United States Army, achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant. His assignments included Germany and several posts in the United States. He was honorably discharged in 1954 at the completion of his service.
David married Lois I. Erickson on September 5, 1954 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn NY.
Following their marriage, they moved to Oneonta so that David could attend SUNY Oneonta on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1957 and achieving a master’s degree in 1959. After graduating college, he taught at Schenevus Central School and at Clarkstown Central School in New City, NY. He then returned to SUNY Oneonta as Student Teacher Supervisor, before becoming Director of Registration and Records, and eventually Associate Dean of Students, retiring after 35 plus years. During his time at SUCO, David was very proud to have received his Ph.D. from SUNY Albany School of Public Affairs.
ONEONTA – Thomas M. Hughson, 88, died peacefully in his sleep at the Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing on February 26, 2022. He is survived by his beloved spouse of almost 30 years, Susan M. Hughson.
Tom was born in Oneonta, New York on November 17, 1933. The son of Thomas P. and Doris M. Hughson, Tom went to Bugbee School – across the street from his childhood home – and Oneonta High School. He then attended Dartmouth College, where he majored in psychology. Following his graduation in 1955, Tom worked at the Glens Falls Insurance Company and was soon drafted to serve in the army. Before leaving for Germany, he married Susan Rosenheim, also of Oneonta.
Tom was honorably discharged in 1958 and returned to Oneonta to join his father’s insurance business, renaming their joint venture T.P & T.M. Hughson, Inc. During the 1970s, Tom was quick to recognize and embrace the potential of computer technology to revolutionize the insurance business. At the same time, he remained steadfast in his commitment to providing honest, personalized advice to all his customers, be they individuals, businesses, or school districts. As a result, T.P. & T.M. Hughson (now Hughson & Benson Associates) grew to become one of the area’s leading independent insurance agencies.
COOPERSTOWN – David Sprague Wilshere, a long-time resident of Cooperstown who served as caretaker of Doubleday Field for many years, passed away late Friday night, February 4, 2022, at his home on Curry Road in Hartwick with his wife, Meme, by his side. He was 78.
Born August 28, 1943, in Iowa City, Iowa, David was a son of Vernon S. “Whitey” Wilshere, a left-handed pitcher who played for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics in the 1930s, and Betty Jean Munden Wilshere, a painter and Emergency Room RN at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown.
When he was four-years-old, David and his family moved from the mid-west to his father’s hometown of Skaneateles, where David attended a one-room schoolhouse. In 1953, they moved to Cooperstown and settled into their home on Chestnut Street.
A graduate of Cooperstown High School, Class of 1961, David excelled in sports and was a letterman in baseball, football, wrestling and track.
In September of 1961, David enlisted in the United States Navy, and proudly served his country during a tour of duty at the NATO base in Naples, Italy. During this time his wife and daughter joined him. He received his honorable discharge from active duty in the military on August 10, 1964, and was released from the reserves in August 1967.
WEST EDMESTON – Carl F. Hecker, 86, of West Edmeston, passed away on Tuesday January 25, 2022 at his home, with his Godson and nurses at his side.
Carl was born on April 22, 1935 in Queens, NY the son of the late Curt and Wilma Germann Hecker, and predeceased by his brother Kurt A.Hecker. He is survived by many nephews and nieces throughout the Hecker family.
Carl was employed in the construction trade for many years with the Grumman Corporation on Long Island. He was a U.S. Navy Veteran serving from 1953 to 1957. He was a life member of the VFW and a 38 year member of the American Legion.
EDMESTON – Alan B Sheldon, 78, of Edmeston, passed away Monday January 17, 2022 in New Berlin.
Alan was born on October 14, 1943 in Oneonta the son of the late Howard and Evelene Field Sheldon. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife of 53 years Kathleen in June 2021.
He is survived by his daughters Caprice (Paul) Eckert of Edmeston, Monica (Brandon) Clark of Edmeston, sisters Connie Gallagher of Johnson City TN, Rebecca Flannery of Harpursville, NY, grandchildren Mallory, Rachel, Tatum, Braymon, great grandchild Lacie-Ann, and many nieces and nephews.
ONEONTA – Mary M. Antonucci of Country Club Road, Oneonta NY died peacefully at Fox Nursing Home after a brief illness.
Born on May 24, 1924, Mary was the second of seven children born to Konstanty and Julia Sroczyk Guszcza. She grew up in Auburn, NY. Her parents were Polish immigrants who taught her the importance of hard work and helping others.
In 1944, Mary joined the Women’s Army Corps. She was stationed in Tampa, Florida where she met and married Air Force Sergeant Frank R Antonucci in 1946. Mary and Frank were both excellent dancers and enjoyed going dancing at parties and family weddings.
Frank remained in the Air Force and the family lived in Cleveland Ohio, Auburn, NY, Munich and Wiesbaden, Germany before settling in Oneonta in 1955.
Mary was a parishioner at St. Mary’s Church where she was a member of the Rosary Society. She was active in the American Legion where she was Secretary/Treasurer.
Ronald R. Martin 80, of Edmeston, passed away at his home on December 18, 2021 surrounded by his loving family.
Ron was born in Utica, NY on December 17, 1941 the son of the late Kenneth and Betty Salisbury Martin.
A lifetime resident of the area, Ron married Jo-Ann Lewis on January 1, 1965 in the Leonardsville Methodist Church. He retired after 26 years as a heavy equipment operator with The Town of Edmeston Highway Department. He was a master heavy equipment operator, and had a knowledge of almost any type of machine. Ron was dedicated to the American Legion Baseball League for over 30 years in Edmeston. He served as the Otsego County Chairman, and was the 6th District Chairman for 14 years, covering 10 counties in New York State.
COOPERSTOWN – Douglas K. Walrath, beloved husband, father and grandfather, who served the Village of Cooperstown as Clerk, Treasurer and Administrator and who was active with the Rotary Club and Christ Church, left us suddenly and unexpectedly after a brief illness Friday afternoon, December 17, 2021, at Bassett Medical Center with his wife, Peg, and Fr. Nathan Ritter, his pastor by his side. He was 92.
Born December 11, 1929, at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, Douglas Kramer Walrath was one of two sons of Douglas O. and Bertha (Kramer) Walrath. Raised in the Village, he graduated from Cooperstown High School with the Class of 1947.
During the Korean War, Doug proudly served his country in the United States Army. He was badly wounded while on active duty and received the Purple Heart in April 1951.
Following his military service, Doug attended Ithaca College and earned a bachelor of science degree in radio and television graduating magna cum laude.
Beginning in February of 1965, Doug was employed by the Village of Cooperstown and served as Village Clerk and clerk of all the Village boards. As Village Treasurer, he was Administrator and Chief Budget Officer. He attended the training school sponsored by the New York State Conference of Mayors and in 1969 received their five-year award for training. He also helped organize the New York State Association of Municipal Purchasing Officials and served as Secretary.
COOPERSTOWN – Bruce E. Bachanas of Christian Hill, a life-long area resident who worked for many years as a baker, passed away Thursday afternoon, November 18, 2021, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. He was 63.
Born December 20, 1957, in Cooperstown, Bruce Edward Bachanas was one of three children of the late Norman Edmund Bachanas and Bernice G. (Roseboom) Bachanas. In his youth, he and his family enjoyed many camping trips, as well as the annual family vacation that took place just about every August which provided many great memories. His nickname became “Wish”, bestowed on him by his grandfather because he was always wishing for this and wishing for that. After graduating with the Class of 1976 from Cooperstown Central School, he joined the military, and proudly served his country in the United States Air Force.