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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 26, 2008

Albert F. Almy

GUILDERLAND — Albert F. Almy’s happiest years were those he spent as a young man in the Navy and his ashes are being returned to the sea, said his close friend Dorie Vojnar.

He died on Thursday, May 29, 2008, at the Samuel S. Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany. He was 58.

Born in Albany, he was the son of Theresa Tougaw Almy of Guilderland and the late Albert A. Almy, who died on Oct. 4, 2007. He was educated in the Voorheesville schools and was employed in the mailroom at the state campus in Albany. He was a veteran of the United States Navy.

“He had a good heart,” said Ms. Vojnar. Both he and his parents lived on the Vojnars’ stock farm on Posson Road in Guilderland. Mr. Almy helped with barn work and feeding the animals, she said. The farm’s owner, William Vojnar, Dorie’s father, is 86, and, in the last decade or more, as he has needed more help, Dorie Vojnar said, Mr. Almy provided it.

“He was there for us,” she said.

“He was like a family member,” Ms. Vojnar went on. “He spent the holidays with us. He’d always help my father and mother. They were like his second family. If they needed something, he’d be right there for them. He’d uplift them both.”

Mr. Almy liked to cook. “He did a nice bowl of chili,” said Ms. Vojnar, and he cared for those in need.

He was particularly fond of two Chihuahuas that were given to him.

“They were like his children,” said Ms. Vojnar.

Mr. Almy was hit hard by his father’s death last October, she said. “He stopped doing everything,” she said.

He used to like to fish, she said. “He liked the ocean. He couldn’t get there much. He was a homeboy. His wish was to get back there. That’s where his ashes are.”


Mr. Almy is survived by his mother, Theresa Tougaw Almy; his sister, Donna Derico and her husband, John, of Glenmont; his brothers, James Almy and Michael Tougaw; his dear friend, Leona M. Cooper and her family; his good friends, Bill, Dotti, and Dorie Vojnar; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

His brother, William, died in 2004; his father, Albert, died last year.

A graveside service was held in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Guilderland on June 21. Arrangements were by Fitzgerald Funeral Home in Cohoes.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Sheila A. Guay

Sheila McGann Guay sang with a rich alto voice and bowled like a champion.

But, said her sister, Mary Lynn McGann, “Her proudest achievement is her two daughters.”

Mrs. Guay died on Saturday, June 21, 2008, in her Schenectady home with her family at her side. She was 61.

She was born on Nov. 6, 1946 in Voorheesville. She grew up in Altamont, with two sisters and a brother. Their mother, Mary Kathryn (Walsh) McGann was a teacher of special-needs students and their father, Elwood McGann, owned Altamont’s bowling alley in an era when bowling was a popular pastime.

“My mother thought Sheila didn’t have a great opinion of herself...so she took voice lessons in Albany,” said Ms. McGann. “When she was 12, she was on Teenage Barn. She sang, ‘Hello, Young Lovers.’”

Closing her eyes, Ms. McGann broke softly into song at the memory, gently waving her left hand in time with the melody: “Hello, young lovers, wherever you are, be kind and faithful and true,” she sang.

She opened her eyes, and continued in her speaking voice, “My father had the bowling alley here in Altamont. Sheila was a good bowler. She won the Schenectady Women’s Classic Tournament,” an accomplishment Mrs. Guay spoke of just a few days before her death.

A student at Draper High School, Mrs. Guay was in the Draper Follies and sang a solo every year. “They called her the Melody Girl,” said her sister. One of her parents’ favorite songs was “Sentimental Journey,” which Sheila would sing for them.

After Draper, she went on to graduate from the Spencer Business College.

She met David Guay when she worked at the Guilderland Center Nursing Home along with Mr. Guay’s two sisters. They were married for 34 years.

They lived in Schenectady where they raised two daughters — Carrie, who is now a second-grade teacher, and Doreen, a physician’s assistant.

“When they were in school,“ said Ms. McGann of the Guays’ children, “Sheila started working a couple of days a week at lunch and recess.” She went on to become a teaching assistant full-time for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, a job she held for 20 years. She enjoyed her work with developmentally disabled children. “She really loved the kids,” said Ms. McGann.

She described her sister as “a little flamboyant.” People would often come up to her or their sister, Janet, and say, “How’s Sheila?” she recalled. “She had a good sense of humor,” Ms. McGann concluded. “She had a lovely smile; she shared her smile with people.”


She is survived by her husband, David M. Guay; her two daughters, Carrie Listar and her husband, Greg, of Cape Coral, Fla., and Doreen Guay of Maine; her two sisters Mary Lynn McGann and Janet Farrand and her husband, John; and several nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews.

Her brother, Robert McGann, died before her.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday morning at the DeLegge Funeral Home in Schenectady, followed by a mass of Christian burial at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, of which Mrs. Guay had been a member. Burial will be in Memory’s Garden.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Hospice of Schenectady, 1411 Union St., Schenectady, NY 12308.

Melissa Hale-Spencer

Edward D. Orsini

ALTAMONT — Edward D. Orsini, a wholly good-natured man who was the last of a legacy, died on Wednesday, June 18, 2008. He was 81.

The second youngest of the 15 Orsini children, Edward was “the last to go,” said his daughter, Linda Beloncik.

As one of the youngest members of the notably patriotic Orsini clan, Edward lied about his age so that he could join the Navy during World War II, Mrs. Beloncik said. “My father couldn’t swim,” she said. “He was afraid of the water.”

At the tender age of 16, Mr. Orsini boarded the USS Buckley and, whilst at sea, it was attacked by a German submarine. Her father wouldn’t talk much about it, Mrs. Beloncik said, but she read from a yellowed three-cent newspaper that the vessel was boarded by Nazi soldiers and the sailors fought them off with coffee cups and fists in hand-to-hand combat. “Two Germans were bowled over with heavy coffee mugs,” she read from the article.

A soft-spoken man, Mr. Orsini only once raised his voice to his daughter, said Mrs. Beloncik. “I asked what the name of his boat was,” she said, and he answered sharply, “It was not a boat, Linda. It was a ship.”

“He was so proud to be a vet,” said Mrs. Beloncik. Along with his brothers, he was responsible for building the Boyd Hilton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Altamont. “His birthday was Veterans’ Day. 11-11. That was his pride,” Mrs. Beloncik said of her father’s regard for his status.

When he came home from the war, he worked in the family business, running the backhoe and doing manual labor for their excavation work, his daughter said. Mr. Orsini was also set up on blind date with Beatrice Loveday and “totally fell in love with her,” Mrs. Beloncik said. “It was like nobody else existed. My father looked at her with such love,” she said.

“He died the day after their 57th wedding anniversary,” said Mrs. Beloncik. “I think he held on for her.”

The couple had three children and Mr. Orsini worked hard to support his family, but, his daughter said, “I never heard him complain.” When he was working two jobs and his children were young and sleeping by the time he came home, Mr. Orsini once “came in and put a quarter on my dresser and told me, ‘Don’t tell your brother or sister,’” Mrs. Beloncik remembered. “I’m wondering if he said the same to them,” she mused.

Growing up with a strict father himself, Mr. Orsini became a kind parent, like his brothers also, said Mrs. Beloncik. “They did a lot of, ‘Don’t tell your mothers,’” she recalled of the nefarious, although good-natured, deeds of her father and uncles. “Every one of the Orsini brothers were easygoing,” she said.

They grew up working hard, though. Her father started working at the age of 7 or 8, she said, when his father would put him in the field. Mr. Orsini became a man who was proud of his gardening. “His pride and joy were his tomato plants,” Mrs. Beloncik said, and everyone knew him for his plump red plants.

“He liked everyone he met and vice versa,” she said of her father’s bottom line. “The sweetness was always there.”


Mr. Orsini is survived by his wife, Beatrice Loveday Orsini; two daughters, Kathleen Lambing of California, and Linda Beloncik of Rotterdam. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Brianne and James Nyahay of Rotterdam, and Dina Furnari and Joseph Vause of Colonie; and by his great-grandchild, Jimmy Nyahay, and many nieces and nephews. His son, David Orsini, died before him, as did many brothers and sisters.

Calling hours were held on Sunday at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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