News of Otsego County


Harry G. Brannigan, 73 August 3, 1948 – October 7, 2021

In Memoriam

Harry G. Brannigan, 73

August 3, 1948 – October 7, 2021

Harry G. Brannigan

MILFORD – Harry George Brannigan, age 73, passed away early Thursday morning, October 7, 2021, at his son’s home in Mount Vision following a valiant battle with cancer.

He was born August 3, 1948, in College Point, Queens, a son of the late Harry and Margaret Brannigan.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Harry enlisted with the United States Army on January 8, 1968, and served in Vietnam with Company B, 9th Engineer Battalion. On January 2, 1971, he received his Honorable Discharge from the military and returned home to Queens.

He met Carol Ann Spunt of Long Island while on a blind date arranged by mutual friends. The two hit it off, and were married May 5, 1973, in her hometown of Huntington on Long Island.

For many years, Harry was employed as a sheet metal worker and machinist for the Stella Corporation in Plainview.

In 1988, Harry and Carol Ann moved upstate to the Town of Milford and Harry became an organic farmer. He truly enjoyed growing vegetables, and sold them for a time at his farm stand, Mountain Top Farm, in Emmons. In his leisure, he enjoyed watching movies, especially National Lampoon’s Vacation and, no matter the time of year, Christmas Vacation.

Kevin B. Clark Sr., 64 May 26, 1957 – August 30, 2021

In Memoriam

Kevin B. Clark Sr., 64

May 26, 1957 – August 30, 2021

Kevin B. Clark Sr.

EDMESTON – Kevin B. Clark Sr., 64, of Edmeston passed away Monday August 30, 2021 at his home.

Kevin was born on May 26, 1957 in Hamilton, NY the son of the late Archie and Faith Dungey Clark. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister Katrina and a granddaughter Reese.

Kevin was a graduate of Sherburne Central School, and a U.S. Army Veteran. He and his family owned and operated K.N.K. Poultry in Edmeston for many years until his retirement. He was an avid deer hunter, enjoyed any type of fishing, and was the first Chenango County Streaker. He will be remembered as a man who loved his family and will be greatly missed.

Fred G. Hickein, 94 July 27,1927 – August 25, 2021

In Memoriam

Fred G. Hickein, 94

July 27, 1927 – August 25, 2021

Fred G. Hickein

ONEONTA – Fred G. Hickein passed away on August 25, 2021 at A. O. Fox Memorial Hospital, Oneonta.

Born on July 27, 1927 in Owego, NY, Fred Hickein was the son of Beulah Barnett Hickein and Fred Walter Hickein.  When he was about 2, moved to Oneonta, residing with mother, sisters, uncle, great grandfather and grandparents.  He graduated from Oneonta High School in June 1944.  Joined the United States Navy in April 1945, released as a reservist in June 1946.  Recalled to active United States Navy Reserve in November 1950 and released to inactive duty in May 1952. After graduating from Hartwick College in 1953, he joined the Howard E. Brown Insurance Agency, purchasing the agency and operating it until 1983.  Fred also worked with AAA.  Over 37 years he coordinated and accompanied over 25,000 6th grade safety-patrol students to Washington, DC and Gettysburg, PA.  He served as Executive Vice President and Manager of the Tri County Motor Club (AAA) from October 1981 until his retirement in 1992.

Fred married Eleanor (Ellie) Brown on June 4, 1954 and they recently celebrated 67 years of happy life together as proud parents of four children.

Russell L. Hotaling, 96 February 16, 1925 – February 23, 2021

In Memoriam

Russell L. Hotaling, 96

February 16, 1925 – February 23, 2021

Russell Hotaling

ONEONTA – A graveside service with military honors will be held for Russell Hotaling, as well as his sister, Clara Waring, at 11 a.m. Friday, August 27, 2021 at the Milford Cemetery, with the Rev. Joel Shue, officiating.  Russell is survived by his nieces and nephews.

Donations may be sent to the American Legion, VFW, or to the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are with Oneonta’s only family-owned funeral home, Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono at 51 Dietz Street.

Joseph A. Sapienza, Sr, 94 April 18, 1927 – August 7, 2021

In Memoriam

Joseph A. Sapienza, Sr, 94

April 18, 1927 – August 7, 2021

Joseph A. Sapienza, Sr.

COOPERSTOWN – Joseph A. Sapienza, Sr passed away peacefully at age 94 on August 7, 2021 in Holy Spirit Hospital, Camp Hill, PA.  He was born in Cooperstown, NY on April 18, 1927. Joe was preceded in death by his parents; Santo and Santa Sapienza, brothers; Sam (Mary) and Jack (Rosie) Sapienza, sister; Jenny (Sam) Curcio and nephews and nieces Butch, Joey, Gloria, and Barbara. He is survived by his children Gail A. (John) Killeen and Joseph A. Sapienza, Jr, grandchildren; Keri (Kevin) Sapp, John T. (Heather) Killeen V, Marissa (Steven) Moeck and Christopher Sapienza, great-grandchildren; John T Killeen VI, Connor Killeen, Avery & Anna Sapp, Emma Rose & Stevie Moeck, nieces; Santa Morris, Gracie Barker, Sandy Fritch, Lucy Robertson, Mary Mullins, Sharon Curcio and many grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.

Robert W. Bibik, 78 Born in Richfield Springs, served in U.S. Navy

In Memoriam

Robert W. Bibik, 78

Born in Richfield Springs, served in U.S. Navy

Robert W. Bibik

Robert W. Bibik, 78, of Fernandina Beach passed away Friday, July 16, 2021, at the Warner Center for Caring.

Born in Richfield Springs, NY, he was a son of the late Edward and Agnes Zilega Bibik.

He served in the U. S. Navy and soon after his discharge he and his wife, Cheryl, moved to Florida.

For 27 years he worked as an engineer for Florida Power and Light. He also worked for Duke Power and Progressive Energy before complete retirement. He and his wife moved to Fernandina Beach from Vero Beach six years ago. He was active member of the Civitan Club for many years.

John Lampman Smith Jr. April 08, 1927-July 15, 2021

In Memoriam

John Lampman Smith Jr.

April 08, 1927-July 15, 2021

ONEONTA – John Lampman Smith, Jr. 94, passed away, July 15, 2021 at St. James Manor in Oneonta.

He was born April 8, 1927 in Hudson, the son of John Lampman Smith Sr. and Arvesta (Pectal) Smith. John married Polly Ann Blass in 1950 and they moved to Davenport.   Polly passed away on September 8, 2015.

John graduated from Roeliff Jensen School in Hillsdale, NY. He attended Cortland State University before entering in the United States Marines Corp in 1945. John received a Master’s degree in education.  He was a science teacher and a school administrator at Charlotte Valley Central School in Davenport from 1950, retiring in 1983. John enjoyed playing golf, fishing and the NY Yankees.

Walter (Walt) Rasmussen, 87 Feb. 25, 1934 – Jun. 14, 2021

In Memoriam

Walter (Walt) Rasmussen, 87

Feb. 25, 1934 – Jun. 14, 2021

Walter Rasmussen

On Monday, June 14, 2021, Walter (Walt) Rasmussen at age 87, left this earth for a much better place.

He was born February 25, 1934, in Queens, New York to Jack and Anna Rasmussen. Walter attended Milford Central School.

In his early working career, he assisted his father in the plumbing trades. Walter was always interested in electronics and for a short period of time had his own TV repair shop in Portlandville, NY.

Walter became a projectionist for local theaters including the Palace Theater in Oneonta, the Oneonta Theater, and the Del-Sego Drive-In Theater in Emmons, New York.

He was drafted by the United States Army in 1953 and spent time on the Korean Peninsula, being honorably discharged in 1955.

John F Lernihan, 77 Oneonta pharmacist, active in Mountain Club, Catholic Charities

In Memoriam

John F Lernihan, 77
Oneonta pharmacist, active in
Mountain Club, Catholic Charities

NEW LISBON – John F Lernihan, father, pharmacist and Oneonta businessman, died on April 29 at home with family, following a long hospitalization.

Born in 1944, to Cmdr. John J. and mother, Margaret Maureen Lernihan, John was raised in Sunnyside and Plainview, graduating from St. Dominic’s High School in Oyster Bay. College summers,
he worked on military transport ships, traveling to England and Germany. During the N.Y. World’s Fair, he drove a Greyhound tram. He went on to graduate from St. John’s University School of
Pharmacy, a member of Delta Sigma Theta fraternity and became a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service, serving in Philadelphia with the Food and Drug Administration as an inspector for two years. During this time, he married Carol Kiszkiel, whom he had met in Chemistry class at St. John’s. They were married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in So. Ozone Park.

William L. Ross, Sr., 80 Veteran, Tinkerer, Owned B&S Inn

In Memoriam

William L. Ross, Sr., 80
Veteran, Tinkerer, Owned B&S Inn

William L. Ross, Sr.

FLY CREEK –  William L. Ross, Sr., (80) of Willow Avenue in Fly Creek died Saturday June 5, 2021 at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown.

Born March 30, 1941 in Ilion, NY  Bill was the only child of William E. and Elizabeth (Houck) Ross. He graduated from Cooperstown High School in the Class of 1959 and following graduation enlisted in the US Air Force serving his country until 1963 as an aircraft mechanic. In 1966 Bill married Sheila Skubitz of Fly Creek.

Following his military service Bill worked  driving trucks for Frank Trinkas of Fly Creek, then worked in manufacturing at Chicago Pneumatics in Utica, thereafter for a number of years, he was employed at Suburban Propane as a service technician and finally, he and his wife Sheila, owned and operated the B&S Inn in Oaksville  for nearly 15 years.

Stephen A. Rudloff, 76 February 19, 1945 – May 31, 2021

In Memoriam

Stephen A. Rudloff, 76
Feb. 19, 1945 – May 31, 2021

COOPERSTOWN – Stephen Anthony Rudloff, Commander, United States Navy (Retired) who survived 323 days in captivity as a POW during the Vietnam War, passed away peacefully following a long illness the evening of Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, at his home on Nelson Avenue surrounded by family. He was 76.

Born February 19, 1945, in Brooklyn, he was a son of Ernest and Mary (Camarro) Rudloff. After graduating from Lafayette High School in 1962, he attended St. John’s University.

On September 20, 1964, he entered the United States Navy School of PreFlight at NAS Pensacola, Florida, completed Basic Naval Aviation Officers School in August 1965, and completed Radar Intercept Officer (RIO) School at NAS Glynco, Georgia in October 1965. He was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy on August 15, 1965, received his wings and designated a RIO on October 28, 1965. His first assignment was to VF-121 at NAS Miramar, California, for F-4 Phantom II Replacement Air Group training from December 1965 to June 1966, followed by service as an F-4 RIO with VF-154 at NAS Moffett Field, California, from June 1966 to June 1968. During this time, LT Rudloff deployed with his unit to Southeast Asia from September 1966 to January 1967, and from December 1967 to April 1968. Following that tour of duty, he reported to the Naval Plant Representative Office with McDonnell Douglas Corporation, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he remained for two years as a Public Affairs Officer. Following refresher training in the F-4, he reported to Fighter Squadron Ninety-Two in July 1971, and deployed to Vietnam aboard the USS Constellation in October.

Claud D. Folds, 71 Awarded Silver Star for gallantry

In Memoriam

Claud D. Folds, 71

Awarded Silver Star for gallantry

Claud D. Folds

HARTWICK – Claud D. Folds, better known to his family and friends as Flip, joined Our father in Heaven in the early morning hours of Tuesday May 11th, 2021.

Born in Oneonta on April 2, 1950, Flip was the only child of John and Doris Folds. Because of his father’s service in the US Air Force, Flip had the unique opportunity to grow up in a variety of locations, including Texas, Alaska (moving there just two days before The Great Earthquake,) Izmir, Turkey, and Northern Africa, just to name a few. This life afforded Flip a perspective on the world that few people have the chance at.

Flip enlisted in the US Army in 1968 to serve his country during The Vietnam Conflict. He received sniper certification at Fort Benning, Georgia in November of 1968 as one of the first members of the hand-picked group of volunteers from each battalion to be a part of the class.

Flip served in many capacities, including the 23rd Infantry Division (formerly known as The Americal Division; the very same as his father during World War 2.) Flip was part of the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol- a team of 6 well-armed men that performed patrols and missions deep in enemy territory- holding the rank of Sergeant. LRRPs would eventually become today’s Army Rangers.

Flip finished his time in the Army as part of the 198th Infantry Brigade until an injury sent him home.

Robert F. Sklenarik, 91; Twice Teacher Of Year At Unatego School

IN MEMORIAM: Robert F. Sklenarik, 91;

Twice Teacher Of Year At Unatego School

Robert F. Sklenarik

UNADILLA – Robert F. Sklenarik, 91, twice Teacher of the Year at Unatego Central School and a community leader, passed away peacefully on Aug. 7, 2019 at the Oxford Veterans’ Home.

He was born in Garfield, NJ, and in the early 1940s moved with his family to Deposit, where he graduated from high school in 1945. After high school Bob served for 13 months in the military.

Under the GI Bill he attended Hartwick College, and later the National Science Foundation grants enabled him to earn his doctorate from Penn State.

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