Ukraine live briefing: More than 170 freed in prisoner swap; new U.S.-made bombs will double Ukraine’s reach     Beyond the hopeful pope bubble in South Sudan, scenes of despair     Attacking Vuhledar, Russia previews new push to seize southeast Ukraine      Ukraine live briefing: More than 170 freed in prisoner swap; new U.S.-made bombs will double Ukraine’s reach     Beyond the hopeful pope bubble in South Sudan, scenes of despair     Attacking Vuhledar, Russia previews new push to seize southeast Ukraine      In a world of drones and satellites, why use a spy balloon?     What to know about the suspected Chinese spy balloon     She lost her partner in the protests. Then her twins. She’s still at it.     Ukraine live briefing: More than 170 freed in prisoner swap; new U.S.-made bombs will double Ukraine’s reach     Beyond the hopeful pope bubble in South Sudan, scenes of despair     Attacking Vuhledar, Russia previews new push to seize southeast Ukraine      Ukraine live briefing: More than 170 freed in prisoner swap; new U.S.-made bombs will double Ukraine’s reach     Beyond the hopeful pope bubble in South Sudan, scenes of despair     Attacking Vuhledar, Russia previews new push to seize southeast Ukraine      In a world of drones and satellites, why use a spy balloon?     What to know about the suspected Chinese spy balloon     She lost her partner in the protests. Then her twins. She’s still at it.     
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News of Otsego County

veteran

In Memoriam Paul Mullins, 73 April 17, 1949 – January 28, 2023
In Memoriam

Paul Mullins, 73

April 17, 1949 – January 28, 2023

Paul Patrick “Moon” Mullins

HARTWICK—Paul Patrick “Moon” Mullins, 73, of Hartwick, entered into eternal rest surrounded by his loving family Saturday evening, January 28, 2023, at his home. 

A native of Canada, Paul was born April 17, 1949 in St. John’s, Newfoundland, one of nine children of Patrick Joseph Mullins and Bridget “Betty” (O’Brien) Mullins.

After graduating from high school, Paul enlisted in the United States Air Force on March 25, 1968 and proudly served his country during the Vietnam War. While he was stationed in Japan at the USAF Hospital at Tachikawa Air Base he met Cooperstown native Mary Giovanna Curcio, and the two were married September 21, 1971 in Tokyo. Paul earned the rank of Sergeant, was transferred to the USAF Reserves in 1972, and received his honorable discharge in 1974.

In Memoriam Alexander J. Shields, 86 1936-2023
In Memoriam

Alexander J. Shields, 86

1936-2023

ALEXANDER J. SHIELDS

RICHFIELD SPRINGS—Alexander J. Shields, 86, passed away on January 9, 2023 at home with his loving wife by his side.
He was born in Oneonta on October 2, 1936.

Alex is survived by his loving wife of 45 years, Barbara A. Shields; a daughter, Ursula (Ralph) Thompson of Canandaigua, and their three children and four great-grandchildren; sons Gregory of Albany and Christopher of Washington, D.C.; stepchildren Harvey (Evonne) Elliott of Oak Hall, Virginia and their three children, and Charles (Mary Lou) Elliott of Binghamton, their nine children and six grandchildren.

In Memoriam Alan James Curran, 73 August 21, 1949 – January 8, 2023
In Memoriam

Alan J. Curran, 73

August 21, 1949 – January 8, 2023

Alan James Curran

AFTON—Alan James Curran, 73, passed away on January 8, 2023, in Afton, New York, with his family and loving dog, Max, by his side.

Born on August 21, 1949 in Youngstown, Ohio, Alan was the son of James Leroy and Marilouise (Hill) Curran. He joined the United States Air Force in 1969, where he worked as a jet aircraft mechanic. He served with honor and distinction until 1973, at which time he was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.

In Memoriam Sharon W. Sprague, 90 March 25, 1932 – December 17, 2022
In Memoriam

Sharon W. Sprague, 90

March 25, 1932 – December 17, 2022

Sharon W. Sprague

WEST WINFIELD – Sharon W. Sprague, 90, of West Winfield, NY passed away at home on Saturday December 17, 2022.

Sharon was born on March 25, 1932 in Walton, NY the son of the late Walter A. and Maude E Borden Sprague. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife Nellie in 2015, sisters Lu Anne Benjamin and Ellen Stephens, a son Joseph Sprague, and a son in law Ronald DenHaese.

In Memoriam Patrick F. “Tex” Gorden, Jr., 74December 2, 1948 – December 13, 2022
In Memoriam

Patrick F. “Tex” Gorden, Jr., 74

December 2, 1948 – December 13, 2022

MARYLAND – Patrick F. “Tex” Gorden, Jr., who served for many years as a locomotive engineer for The Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad, passed away early Tuesday morning, December 13, 2022, at Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, following a valiant battle with cancer. He was 74.

Born December 2, 1948, at home on South Delaware Street in the Village of Stamford, Tex – as he was known by so many – was the son of Patrick F. and Anna (Kardokas) Gorden.

A graduate of St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Brooklyn, Tex later attended Texas Tech University and earned a bachelor’s degree in metallurgy and aeronautics.

Life Sketches: The Ritz Crossing
Life Sketches by Terry Berkson

The Ritz Crossing

USS Darby (DE-218) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort in service with the United States Navy from 1943 to 1947 and from 1950 to 1968. She was sunk as a target in 1970.

In late November of 1965 my dad, in his yellow taxi cab, ferried me and my duffle bag down to the Brooklyn Army Terminal where I would board the USS Darby bound for Bremerhaven, Germany. Several other soldiers who had also gone to Preventive Medicine School were among the 1,400 troops that were about to cross the Atlantic. The water was calm for the first few days but, in spite of the smooth going, this guy, Harris, had already turned green. In fact, he looked seasick as soon as we set sail.

In Memoriam Frank M . Van Auken, 102 May 9, 1920 – November 10, 2022
In Memoriam

Frank M . Van Auken, 102

May 9, 1920 – November 10, 2022

Frank M . Van Auken

Frank M. Van Auken, 102, passed away peacefully at Woodside Hall in Cooperstown, NY, on November 10, 2022, where he had lived since February 2018. Frank was born May 9, 1920, at his family home on Fassett Rd. in East Springfield, NY. He was the son of Olen Van Auken and Jennie Marks Van Auken. After graduating from East Springfield School, Frank enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, where he was stationed both stateside and in the European theater. Frank was the oldest living WWII veteran in Otsego County.

Frank married the love of his life, Laura Leadley, in Oswego, NY. Together they enjoyed traveling, playing cards, eating out, and hosting dinner parties. Frank served his community well. He was a volunteer fireman, a member of the local church, and a frequent flyer to K.C.’s Diner.

New York State Recognizes Otsego County Volunteerism

New York State Recognizes
Otsego County Volunteerism

By TED MEBUST

Otsego County residents Sheila Serbay and Neil Riddell were recognized by New York State’s Office for the Aging at a celebration of Older New Yorkers’ Day on November 4. The pair, along with 92 others from around the state, received honors for their volunteerism and service to older adults in their communities.

“These are two individuals who unselfishly give up their time, resources, and skills in order to make someone else’s life a little better, and we are proud to have such genuine volunteers representing Otsego County in this statewide recognition,” stated Tamie Reed, director at the Otsego County Office for the Aging.

In Memoriam Philip L. Washburn, Esq., 81 November 14, 1940 – October 22, 2022
In Memoriam

Philip L. Washburn, Esq., 81

November 14, 1940 – October 22, 2022

COOPERSTOWN – Philip L. Washburn, Esq., a long-time resident of Cooperstown and well-respected attorney, passed away peacefully Saturday afternoon, October 22, 2022, at HarborChase of Prince William Commons in Woodbridge, Virginia, with family at his side. He was 81.

Born November 14, 1940, in Gouverneur, Phil was a son of Leonard Bacon Washburn and Marguerite (Halpin) Washburn. After graduating from Gouverneur High School in 1958, Phil attended Harpur College, now known as Binghamton University. In 1960 he left college to enlist in the United States Army, and honorably served his country while stationed at a base in Sinop, Turkey. Upon receiving his honorable discharge from the military in 1963, he returned to college life and attended Tulane University Law School. It was there that he met Pamela Waits, and they were married August 20, 1966, in a ceremony at Lake Vista United Methodist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.

In Memoriam Vincent J. Cronin Jr., 87 Veteran, Coach & Gentleman Farmer
In Memoriam

Vincent J. Cronin Jr., 87

Veteran, Coach & Gentleman Farmer

Vincent Joseph Cronin, Jr

HARTWICK, NY – Vincent Joseph Cronin, Jr., 87, formerly of South Salem, NY, passed at home on October 16, 2022, surrounded by his loving family and faithful four-legged companion, Lila.

Born January 19, 1935 and raised in Yonkers NY to Vincent J. Cronin Sr. and Alice Alleman Cronin, he graduated from Roosevelt High School where his love of all NY sports teams was cemented beginning with the Brooklyn Dodgers. After high school he enlisted in the armed forces; becoming a navigator with the US Air Force and then attended Syracuse University, where he was a member of both the baseball and football teams, as well as Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.

As a skilled Electrical Contractor, he owned and operated Seven Arrows Electric Company for forty years, realizing a dream to raise his children on lake Waccabuc where he vacationed as a child. He dedicated many years to the community by coaching several youth sports teams, and was a devoted congregant with St. Mary’s (Katonah).

Retired Local Navy Pilot Makes Return Trip to Tailhook

Retired Local Navy Pilot
Makes Return Trip to Tailhook

By Tara Barnwell
The North American Aviation T-6 Texan two-place advanced trainer was the classroom for most of the Allied pilots who flew in World War II. (Photo by Dave Rees)

In 1991, the infamous Tailhook convention scandal took place.

“There was some harassment of female pilots at that convention in Las Vegas,” said Dave Rees, Milford resident, business owner and former Navy pilot. “The whole thing got turned upside down. A lot of people didn’t get promoted because of that convention. I was not in attendance at the time.”

Since then, things have changed for the better at the Tailhook Symposium, and Rees recently returned from Reno, NV, where he attended the convention that celebrated the 100th anniversary of aircraft carrier aviation and reunited former Marine and Navy fliers.

In Memoriam Kenneth C. Leslie, 86 August 29, 1936 – October 5, 2022
In Memoriam

Kenneth C. Leslie, 86

August 29, 1936 – October 5, 2022

Kenneth C. Leslie

ONEONTA – Kenneth C. Leslie, 86, of Oneonta passed away Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown.

He was born August 29, 1936 in Franklin the son of the late James and Caroline (Gesell) Leslie.  Growing up Ken worked on the family dairy farm.  He graduated from Franklin Central School the Class of 1954.  Following graduation, Ken joined the United States Navy and served on the USS Albany in the 6th Fleet.  He was honorably discharged when his father passed away so he could help take care of the family farm.

Ken worked several jobs including Oneonta Ford Sales, Neil Nelson Construction and finally the D&H Railroad retiring from C.P. Railroad in 1996.  In his retirement, Ken drove bus for OPT, and was a currier for Wilber Bank and later Community Bank.  He was also a volunteer fireman for the Oneonta Fire Department. 

In Memoriam John Poole Briggs, 85 August 9, 1937 – September 16, 2022
In Memoriam

John Poole Briggs, 85

August 9, 1937 – September 16, 2022

John Briggs

COOPERSTOWN – John Poole Briggs, 85, died peacefully at his home in Ormond Beach, Florida, on September 16, 2022, with his fiancé at his side. 

He was born on August 9, 1937, to Harold John Poole and Edna Martha (Fredericks) Briggs of Northport. As a young boy, he spent summers on his father’s boat, the “Silver Fox,” where he developed a love for the ocean. A businessman at heart, John would sell batteries and T.V. tubes to fishermen and boaters on the dock in Northport. At 15, he opened his first T.V. repair shop behind the Midway, a newspaper & soda shop. He then proceeded to help his lifelong friend, Elsa Posey, who was also 15, open her school of dance.

In 1954, he drove his 1934 wood-side Ford across the country to Alaska. After his funds were exhausted, he returned home. The young businessman continued his T.V. repair business as he rented a shop on Main Street in Northport. One lesson he would reflect on often was when his father borrowed $1,000.00 from him and used it as a down payment to purchase a building for the business. His father’s opinion was, in business, if you have to make payments, “it is better to own than rent.” 

In Memoriam Leon K. Beach, 73 December 8, 1948 – September 13, 2022
In Memoriam

Leon K. Beach, 73

December 8, 1948 – September 13, 2022

Leon K. Beach

ONEONTA – Leon K. Beach, 73 of Oneonta passed away Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at the NYS Veterans Home, Oxford.

He was born December 8, 1948 in Oneonta, the son of Kenneth and Margaret Beach.

In the summer of 1962 he worked on his grandparents farm while his grandfather was sick with lung cancer.

Leon attended Milford and Otego schools and graduated from Unatego Central School in 1967. He was an accomplished runner on the track team and ran under a 5-minute mile.

Boy Scouts were a big part of his life and he was proud to have attended the National Jam-boree in Valley Forge, Pa., in 1964.

In Memoriam Richard Elderkin, 79 August 7, 1943 – September 5, 2022
In Memoriam

Richard Elderkin, 79

August 7, 1943 – September 5, 2022

Richard Elderkin

ONEONTA – Rich was born on August 7, 1943 in Oneonta, NY to Leslie and Lucille (Mulford) Elderkin. He was raised on the family farm in West Laurens. It was there where he learned his strong work ethic and mechanical skills (“There were no holidays on our calendar”).

His father died when Rich was 16, which left him running the 100 head family farm together with the hired man, his mother and “little brother” John- not to mention attending school and playing football. Eventually they decided to sell and Rich joined the Air Force on May 21,1963. (“I went to see the army recruiter who wasn’t on duty that day. Lucky for me, the Air Force recruiter was there and I could not have made a better choice for my life’s work”).

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