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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 29, 2008

Frank E.Chesebrough Jr.

GUILDERLAND — Frank E. Chesebrough Jr., a decorated World War II veteran and dedicated family man, died on Sunday, May 25, 2008. He was 86.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 61 years, Roberta, and their children Ed Chesebrough and his wife, Peggy, of Duanesburg and Linda Modica and her husband, Harold, of Townsend, Mass. and four grandchildren, Kristie and Tracy Chesebrough and Eric and Steven Modica. His sister, Marion Pitcher, and her husband, Clayton, died before him.

Mr. Chesebrough was born and raised in Altamont. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, and later was inducted into the Army on Nov. 4, 1942. After months of training, on Feb. 27, 1944, he was shipped out to Europe with Company B’s 4th Armored Division, 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

He landed on Utah Beach, traveled over 1,800 miles in Normandy, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. He fought in the Battle of the Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and other major battles in Rhineland, Northern France, and Central Europe. He was discharged from the Army on Oct. 19, 1945.

He received the Distinguished Unit Citation, France’s Croix de Guerre, INC, and Fouragerre, with olive cluster. His uniform jacket hangs in a museum in the Diekirch Historical Museum.

After serving his country, he came home and worked at the D & H Railroad and later worked as a metal lather. In April 1947, he married Roberta (Bertie) Ward. They built a home together and raised their family.

He was Assistant Scout Master for the Boy Scouts for many years, treasurer to the board of commissioners of the Guilderland Fire Department for 31 years, and a long-term active member of the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church, serving on the property committee.

“Frank, in his loving support of his wife’s volunteer work with the Meals on Wheels program and the Guilderland Food Pantry, hauled tons of food and drove many miles to help others put food on their tables,” his family wrote in a tribute.

“Frank enjoyed boating, car races, spending many summer weekends at Kamp Kan I Kome in Stony Creek, hunting, and making maple syrup at the 30 Acre Wood with his dear friends, and woodworking, making many things for his children and grandchildren,” his family wrote. “He and his wife enjoyed league bowling and square dancing. In their retirement years, they traveled to many regions of the United States, brought their entire family to Disney World, and twice toured places in Europe where he fought in the war.”


A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland. Burial will be at the Prospect Hill Cemetery followed by a reception at Hamilton Union’s Doug and Pattie Gray Education Building.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Meals on Wheels of Albany, Senior Services of Albany Foundation, 25 Delaware Ave., Albany, NY 12210, or the Guilderland Food Pantry, Post Office Box 7, Guilderland, NY 12084. Arrangements were handled by the Fredendall Funeral Home, of Altamont.

Shirley Kiltz Johnson

Shirley Kiltz Johnson, a mother and wife of the late Calvin C. Johnson, of Coburg Village, Rexford, formerly of Rotterdam, died Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at the Kingsway Arms Nursing Center in Schenectady. She was 82.

Mrs. Johnson was born on Nov. 18, 1925, the daughter of the late A. LeRoy Kiltz and Florence Lake Kiltz.

She is survived by a daughter, Louise Weiler and her husband, Kevin, and two grandsons, Brian and Eric Weiler, all of Ballston Lake, N.Y.

Her sister, Catherine Gibson, died in 1968 and her brother, L. Robert Kiltz, died in 1994.

Other survivors include three cousins and several nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

A memorial service will be held at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 103 South Reynolds Street in Scotia on Saturday, Mary 31, at 11 a.m. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are by Fredendall Funeral Home of Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church or to the Community Hospice of Schenectady, 1411 Union St. Schenectady, NY 12308.

Peter A. Rucinski

ALTAMONT — Peter Rucinski Jr., a good-hearted man who kept rhythm in his soul, died on Wednesday, May 7, 2008.  He was 77.

Growing up near the border of Schenectady and Albany counties, Mr. Rucinski was the son of a General Electric worker and a homemaker — the late Peter and Helen Stankiewicz Rucinski.  He worked on a neighbor’s farm, doing chores and tending the garden, said his wife, Beatrice Rucinski.

“He liked anything with his hands in the dirt,” she said of her husband, who kept a garden at their home.

As a boy, Mr. Rucinski had a job delivering papers, she said, and he’d use the money to go see movies, always keeping a tune as he walked home again.  “They’d hear him singing up the road,” Mrs. Rucinski said of her husband’s family.

“His brother used to call up in Wells,” she said of music in the family and how Mr. Rucinski got started square dancing.  She, too, did quite a bit of dancing in her youth, at kitchen hops during World War II, and the couple spent many a night dancing to country music, she said.

The pair met when friends of theirs set them up on a blind date and were married less than a year later, she said.  Before he wed, Mr. Rucinski served in the Navy, which sent him to Casablanca during the Korean War, his wife said.  He was a life member of American Legion Post 977 in Altamont and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5294 in Guilderland.

After they were married, the couple lived in Connecticut for a couple of years and then moved to the Capital Region, where Mr. Rucinski worked as an operating engineer.  “We moved wherever the job was,” Mrs. Rucinski said.  Mr. Rucinski was a 50-year member of Local 106 Operating Engineers.

“He was good to me,” said Mrs. Rucinski.  He was a “very good husband.”

In February of 1977, they moved the family to Altamont so their hearing-impaired daughter could get the education she needed, Mrs. Rucinski said.

In their retirement, the couple traveled the globe, from Australia to Alaska, and Newfoundland to Ireland, and also followed the music closer to home.

“We followed different bands,” Mrs. Rucinski said.  In fact, she said, they once followed a band for three days — from West Laurens, to Cobleskill, to Auburn.  “We danced every week, if there was a dance,” she said.  “He was a terrific dancer.”


Mr. Rucinski is survived by his beloved wife of 55 years, Beatrice Bennett Rucinski; his son Daniel Rucinski and his wife, Kathy, of Altamont; and his daughter, Sandra VanAuker, of Rochester.  He is also survived by his siblings, Bernard Rucinski and his wife, Virginia, of Clifton Park, and Frances Adams, and by his sister-in-law, Doris Rucinski, of Colonie.  His grandchildren, Aaron, Joseph, Keri, David, and Michael VanAuker of Rochester, and Kara and Katrina Rucinski of Altamont, also survive him, as well as several nieces and nephews. 

His brother, John Rucinski Sr., died before him.

A funeral was held on Monday, May 12, at New Comer Cannon Funeral Home in Colonie.  A Mass of Christian burial was then held at St. Lucy’s Church in Altamont with interment in Memory’s Garden.  Memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of Mercy Life Center, 2 Mercycare Lane, Guilderland, NY  12084.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

Vivian N. Olson

Vivian N. Olson, a mother with many interests and activities, died on Thursday, May 22, 2008, at her home in Parkland Gardens in Schenectady. She was 94.

She graduated from Bryant High School in New York City and attended City College of New York. She worked as a secretary for Metropolitan Life Insurance and Palatine Dyeing Co. and then for the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown from 1956 to 1976 as an assistant in education.

During her life, she was active in many organizations such as the PTA and board of elections in New York City, the Deland, Fla. couples club, travel club, and the Eagles, Moose and Elks clubs, also in Deland. She was an avid card player, especially of canasta and pinochle.

“Vivian was a racing fan and enjoyed going to casinos; she also loved to eat out and play bingo,” her family wrote in a tribute. “ She was a stamp and coin collector and she quilted, crocheted and hooked rugs. Vivian enjoyed traveling, especially cruises and trips to the Western United States and Hawaii.

“She lived in Parkland Gardens at the Kingsway Community since 2005.

“Her family would like to give a special thanks to Nancy, Vicki, and all the other staff members at Parkland Gardens and are especially thankful for the many new friends she made there,” they wrote. “Also a special thanks to Dr. Brian Navarro of Captial Care, the Joan Nicole Prince Home in Scotia including Sue, Barb, Marie, Bonnie, Melissa and all the wonderful volunteers and her new best friend, Ethel. Many thanks to Community Hospice of Schenectady including Francine, Sue K., Heidi, Christine, Louise and all the others who tenderly and compassionately cared for Vivian. And lastly, a special thanks to her caregivers, Nicki-Ann, Jeanne, Vivian, and especially Polly.”

Vivian N. Olson is survived by two daughters, Carol Lennebacker and her husband, Wayne, of Altamont and Joan Marcin of Ensenada, Mexico; a step-daughter, Shirley Winquist and her husband, Robert, of Plymouth, Ind.; five grandchildren, Karen Brunner, Karl Brunner and his wife, Valarie, Larisa Sheehan, and her husband, Sean, Jennifer Shanahan and her husband, Brendan, and Erika Valtin; 11 great-grandchildren Rebecca Brunner, Britney, Karl, and Nicholas Brunner, Bridget, Julia, Ryan, Lauren, and Molly Shanahan, and Garrett and Drew Sheehan.

She is also survived by a niece, Anita Gentile, her brother-in-law, Ed Gach, and her good friend, Joe Nicholson.

Her husband, Clyde Olson, died in 1992; her beloved sister, Ruth Gach, and one nephew, Richard Gach, also died before her.

It was Mrs. Olson’s wish that there be no public services. A graveside service will be held at the Fly Creek Valley Cemetery near Cooperstown at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home of Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Joan Nicole Prince Home, 22 Glenview  Dr., Scotia, NY 12302 or to Community Hospice of Schenectady, 1411 Union St. Schenectady, NY 12308.

Margaret (Peg) Griessel Quay

EAST BERNE — Margaret Griessel Quay, known to her friends and family as Peg, was a nurse and mother who helped her husband run a local garage. She died on May 27, 2008, in her 89th year.

“The city girl found the country boy, Ted Quay, and celebrated 50 years of marriage before Ted passed in 1989,” her family wrote in a tribute. “Together they ran Ted Quay’s Garage, where she pumped gas, tended her beautiful flower beds, and had that service station spic and span.

“Before marriage, she was a child-care nurse, a skill she used in later life to tenderly care for many elderly friends. She was a remarkable woman.”

She is survived by her three faith-filled children: Barbara Q. Hoerning, and her husband, George, of East Berne, Theodore R. (Teddy/TR) and his wife, Ginny, of Maryland, and NancyQuay Milner and her husband, Jack, of Westerlo.

She leaves seven grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, brother Richard Griessel, and special niece Shirley Schottin.

A memorial service will be conducted at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Berne on June 14, at 11 a.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice at St. Peter’s Hospital, 315 South Manning Boulevard, Albany, NY 12208 or St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1732 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023. Arrangements are by Fredendall Funeral Home of Altamont.

An anatomical gift of her body has been made to Albany Medical Center.

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