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Obituraries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 17, 2006

Amelia Lee

NEW SCOTLAND – Amelia Lee, a homemaker, who enjoyed cooking, crocheting, and spending time with her family, died Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2006. She was 76.

Mrs. Lee was born on Nov. 25, 1929, to the late John N.P. and Ada Byder Collen. She graduated in 1947 from the Philip Schuyler High School in Albany.

Mrs. Lee’s father came to the United States from Holland in 1917, and she was very proud of her Dutch heritage, said her daughter, Charlene Breedon, of Feura Bush.

She met her late husband, Raymond B. Lee Sr., on a blind date, and they were married in 1949. They had six children.

"Mom always opened the door to everyone," said Mrs. Breedon. She would invite nieces and nephews to come spend time at her New Scotland home during the summer and enjoy the country.

For over 52 years, Mrs. Lee acted as a caregiver for her daughter, Catherine, who is mentally disabled. Catherine Lee moved to the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Delmar about two years ago, said Mrs. Breedon.

Mrs. Lee loved her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. "She had a heart of gold, and would do anything for anyone," said Mrs. Breedon.

Mrs. Lee is survived by her children, Catherine A. Lee of Delmar; Charlene Breedon, and her husband, Robert, of Feura Bush; Marilynn Orr, and her husband, Christopher, of Selkirk; Raymond Lee Jr., and his wife, Alina, of Delmar; Michael Lee, and his wife, Cathy, of Delmar; and Mary Lee of Feura Bush.

She is also survived by her grandchildren, Jeff Breedon, and his wife, Tracy, of Waterford; Christine Mullen, and her husband, Christopher, of Delmar; Connor, Jenna, Michelle, Gregory, Samantha and Nicole Lee, all of Delmar; and her great-grandchildren, Nathan and Hunter Breedon, and Logan Mullen.

She is also survived by her brothers, Ralph Collen, of Feura Bush, and Louis Collen, of Menands.

Mrs. Lee’s husband, Raymond B. Lee Sr., died in 1988.

Also, her brothers – Edgar, Arthur, Jacob, John, and Henry Collen – and her sister, Fredericka Smith, all died before her.

A funeral service was held at the Applebee Funeral Home in Delmar on Monday with burial in Memory’s Garden in Colonie.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Onesquethaw Volunteer Fire Company, Clarksville, NY 12041 or to the New York State Association for Retarded Citizens, 393 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY 12054.

— Rachel Dutil

Nicholas S. Praga

VOORHEESVILLE — Nicholas Salvatore Praga was a man who loved his work and loved his family.

The 29-year-old electrician died on Saturday, Aug. 12, 2006, at the Inn of Community Hospice at St. Peter’s Hospital, surrounded by his family and friends.

His family described him as "a very gifted and talented electrician," most recently employed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 236 in Albany.

Mr. Praga was born on April 27, 1977. He graduated from Clayton A. Bouton High School in Voorheesville.

He had studied to be an electrician in a vo-tech program in high school and, after graduation, he worked for his father, Salvatore Praga, in his painting business.

"They were more than son and father; they were like best friends," said Marilyn Praga, Nicholas Praga’s stepmother.

"I miss you so much already!" his father wrote on the funeral-home website. "Please be at peace and someday I will see your smiling face again. Not in my dreams, but face to face. Until then, I will always be thinking of you. I love you."

Nicholas Praga went on to work as an electrician and loved his work, she said. He also liked to cook and was good at it. His favorite was fettuccini Alfredo, and he also enjoyed preparing seafood dishes.

Mr. Praga doted on his nieces and nephews and visited them every weekend.

He was fond not only of his brother but also of his brother’s dog, Kya.

Mr. Praga enjoyed music and the family played a compact disc by the Steve Miller Band for him while he was in the hospital.

He is survived by his parents, Carole and Salvatore Praga, and by his stepparents, Marilyn Praga and Bob Griffin.

He is also survived by his siblings — Chevi Reittinger, Gina Gifford, Angelina Downey, Tony Praga, Kathy Powers, Dione Quinn, Salvatore Praga Jr., and Paula Cook — and by the spouses of his siblings, Jimmy Reittinger, Christopher Downey, Seth Powers, Len Niski, Chad Quinn, and Diana Flansburg.

He is also survived by his nieces and nephews, Katie and Lilie Reittinger, Matthew Downey, Caleb Quinn, Kaitlin Cook, and Anthony Praga. His niece, Olivia Jayne Reittinger, died before him.

He is survived by his grandmother, Catherine Pierce, and his friend Sue Flansburg as well as by several aunts, uncles, and cousins, and many dear friends.

Funeral services will be held today (Thursday) at 9 a.m. at the NewComer-Cannon Family Funeral Home at 343 New Karner Road in Colonie. Then a mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. Francis deSales Church on Maria Drive in Loudonville. Interment will be in Memory’s Garden.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 6 Greenwood Drive, East Greenbush, NY 12061; to the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York, 3 Washington Square, Albany, NY 12205; or to Community Hospice of Albany, 445 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205.

Expressions of sympathy may be made to Newcomerfamily.com.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Marion A. Strever

GUILDERLAND — Marion A. Strever, a long-time Guilderland bus driver and a truck driver who loved to go camping, died on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, at St. Clare’s Hospital in Schenectady. She was 84.

Born in Amsterdam, Mrs. Strever was the daughter of the late Alfred and Grace Panton Strum. She drove school buses for the Guilderland School District for nearly 20 years before retiring in 1981.

Mrs. Strever loved being a school bus driver, according to her daughter, Betty Strever.

"She really enjoyed kids," said Strever. "One of her great-grandsons lived with her."

Mrs. Strever also ran a truck-driving business with her husband, Eugene.

"They had a truck-driving business together," Strever said. "She drove trucks, bulldozers, and tractors with bucket-loaders. That’s why driving the bus was no problem for her."

She was an active member of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Fort Hunter Fire Department.

Mrs. Strever’s daughter also said that her mother would snowplow during the winter and that she loved their family’s camp.

"We have a camp up in Lake Luzerne, right on the Hudson River. She loved to camp," said Strever.

Mrs. Strever is survived by her husband of 64 years, Eugene L. Strever; four children, Shirley Van Alstine and her husband, Bill, of Georgia, Eugene Strever Jr., of Rotterdam, Donald Strever of Rotterdam Junction, and Betty Strever and her companion, James Passenger, of Guilderland; four grandchildren, Shelley Oporati and her husband, Mark, Sharyn Eckert and her husband, Michael, Tammy Strever, and Richard Van Alstine and his wife, Kim.

She is also survived by eight great-grandchildren, Anthony Strever, Austin Onorati, Alex Onorati, Alex Onorati, Derek Strever, Aurora Van Alstine, J. P. Whiting, Crystal Whiting, and Dakota Rose Eckert.

Her two brothers, Alfred Strum and Louis Strum, died before her as did a grandson, Thomas Jubrey, and a great-grandson, Dylan Strever.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday at the DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home in Schenectady, and the private burial was held in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Guilderland.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Western Turnpike Rescue Squad, Station Two, 3686 Carman Rd., Schenectady, NY 12303.

— Jarrett Carroll

Frank Smtih dies:
V’ville’s pizza man remembered

By Tyler Schuling

Frank L. Smith, Jr., who ran a popular Voorheesville tavern that bore his name and centered a village, died on Monday, Aug. 14, 2006 at his home in Boynton Beach, Fla. after a short illness.

Mr. Smith celebrated his 77th birthday just 10 days before, on Aug. 4.

For 35 years Mr. Smith and his wife, Gertrude, owned and operated Smith’s Tavern, known for its award-winning pizza.

"He was the greatest person I ever met in all my life"in all my life," Mrs. Smith said. "I loved him. He created the greatest pizza."

This year, the Smiths celebrated the 50th anniversary of their June 17 wedding.

Mr. Smith was a respected businessman, a faithful friend, and a generous employer, say his former workers, who call themselves Mr. Smith’s friends. They remember Mr. Smith as a great man who enjoyed life.

Each year, Mr. Smith and his wife hosted Christmas parties and summer picnics for employees at his home on Saratoga Lake; in the summer guests went boating.

"I was always treated like family. It was a real pleasure working for them," Tony Gies, a former employee, said. "Frank and Gert were the nicest, most generous people. And anyone would tell you the same thing."

Barbara Vink, who also worked at Smith’s Tavern, remembers Mr. Smith’s mother, Lillian, who, with her husband, Frank Sr., owned the tavern before Frank Jr. Lillian corresponded with hometown soldiers fighting in World War II and donated her collection of letters to the Voorheesville Public Library.

"The letters are available to the public," said Ms. Vink, who works at the library.

John McClelland, who now, with John Mellon, owns and operates Smith’s Tavern, described Mr. Smith as a hard-working, selfless individual who was loved by everybody. Mr. McClelland also said Mr. Smith introduced the best pizza, was well-known in the Albany area, loved his job, and loved people.

"We left Frank and Gert specials on the menu".I loved the guy," Mr. McClelland said.

As well as the menu, Mr. Smith left his mark on the restaurant’s décor. A model-train enthusiast, he put a track and two trains inside Smith’s Tavern to run around the perimeter of the dining room, near the ceiling. He maintained the trains for the current owners after his retirement, and decorated the track for holidays and special occasions.

"Mr. Smith was a long-standing, well-respected member of the community and his tavern was renowned," said Ed Clark, long-time Voorheesville mayor and current New Scotland Supervisor.


Mr. Smith is survived by his wife, Gertrude (Gert) Sprenzel Smith; one sister, Dottie Wright of New Bern, N.C.; three neices, Sherry Flansburg, Rhonda Flansburg and Jessica Smith; and one nephew, James Smith, Jr. His brother, James Smith, died before him.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Friends may call on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. The burial will be in Memory’s Garden, in Colonie.

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