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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, March 26, 2009

Marjorie Perlee Hoose

GUILDERLAND — Marjorie Perlee Hoose, a vivacious and selfless McKownville resident, died on Monday, March 23, 2009. She was 89.

Mrs. Hoose was born in 1919, in Albany, to Gordon and Marion Bradt Perlee; she moved to McKownville with her family when she was 9 years old, and lived there for the rest of her life, said her nephew, Jeff Perlee.

After graduating from Altamont High School in 1936, Mrs. Hoose started work as a secretary at the Albany Coca-Cola Bottling Company, where she met her future husband, Arthur R. Hoose. Mr. Hoose worked as a bottle sorter on the line when they met, and worked his way up to director of the Albany branch before he retired, said Perlee.

Mr. and Mrs. Hoose were engaged in 1941, but waited four years to marry, while Mr. Hoose served in the Army Artillery Corps in the Pacific Theater. Mrs. Hoose went to meet her fiancé at Grand Central Station when he returned to the United States; they had not seen each other in four years. The couple married just weeks later, said Mr. Perlee.

After the marriage in October 1945, the Hooses built a house right next to Mrs. Hoose’s childhood home, on Parkwood Street in McKownville. Mrs. Hoose was a homemaker from the time she was married, and the couple raised one daughter, Marilyn, said her nephew.
Mr. Perlee described Mrs. Hoose as a selfless, loving woman, for whom family always came first. “It wasn’t just her immediate family,” he said. “She embraced cousins, nieces, and nephews.” Mr. Perlee grew up down the street from the Hoose family, and said Mrs. Hoose treated the six Perlee children as if they were her own.

An active member of the McKownville United Methodist Church, Mrs. Hoose served as the church treasurer for over 30 years. In addition to that, she was involved with the women’s group and altar guild, Mr. Perlee said.

Mrs. Hoose was an avid gardener, and always had beautiful, well-kept gardens, said her nephew. She was active and athletic, playing golf two times a week and bowling in a league. She and Mr. Hoose loved to travel, and often went to Atlanta, Ga. on business trips, and to the beach for vacations. “They were the generation that worked hard and enjoyed the good life,” said Mr. Perlee.

When Marion Bradt Perlee moved into the Hoose home, Mrs. Hoose became a “constant caretaker” for her mother, her nephew said. Despite the fact that it slowed down her active, fun-loving lifestyle, she would not have had it any other way, he said.

Shortly after her mother’s death, Mr. Hoose fell ill, and Mrs. Hoose continued in her caretaking role. “They had a devoted, happy marriage,” said Mr. Perlee. “It showed right up until the end.”

After Mr. Hoose’s death on June 28, 2000, Mrs. Hoose moved to the Guilderland Center Nursing Home. Even there, said Mr. Perlee, she “retained her sunny, friendly disposition.”

“My aunt was a touchstone, a foundation,” said Mr. Perlee. “In a rapidly changing world, she was a constant.”


Marjorie Hoose is survived by her daughter, Marion Kreizl,, and her husband, Terry, of St. Petersburg, Florida; her sister, Marion Camp, and her husband, John; her brother, Gordon Perlee Jr., and his wife, Marcia; her nephew, Jeff Perlee; three grandchildren, Heather Danks, Kellie Deitrick, and Robert Arthur Quinn; and five great-grandchildren.

Calling hours will take place on Saturday, March 28, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. A funeral service, with Reverend Stephen Butler presiding, will follow at 11 a.m. Internment will follow at Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands.

Memorial contributions may be made to the McKownville United Methodist Church, 1565 Western Avenue, Albany, NY, 12203.

— Anne Hayden 

George K. Martin

KNOX — George K. Martin, a lifetime resident of Knox, a compassionate family man, and an avid sports fan, died on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 after a short illness. He was 67.

Mr. Martin was born in Albany on July 6, 1941, and attended Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School, where he was a standout athlete, said his son, Scott Martin. He played on the baseball, basketball, and soccer teams, and at one point was a member of the varsity team at the same time as his brothers, Ralph and Gordon.

After graduating from high school in 1960, Mr. Martin tried out as a pitcher for the Yankees. He then began work as a metal lather, but was soon drafted into the United States Army and spent two years in Thailand during the Vietnam War. He played on a softball team with the Army there, said his son.

After returning from Thailand, Mr. Martin returned to work as a carpenter and was a member of Local 370 for over 40 years.

“He loved carpentry,” his son said. “He built the house that we grew up in, and was always working on home projects — adding a deck, a pool, a hot tub. He was a real handyman.”

Mr. Martin met his future wife, Elaine, in a local bar, the Wayside Tavern, on Oct. 6, 1966. The couple was engaged in December 1966, proving the old adage “When you know, you know,” their son said. Mr. and Mrs. Martin were married in April of 1968, and enjoyed what their son called a “fantastic marriage.”

The couple raised three sons, George Jr., Chad, and Scott. Mr. Martin coached his children in baseball as they progressed through the different leagues. “He was very much a family man,” said his son. “He was a calm and patient coach, too.”

In addition to coaching, Mr. Martin and his wife belonged to a bowling league, the Jolly Mixed League, in Altamont, for 40 years. Mr. Martin also enjoyed country music, hunting, fishing, and watching birds. “He built a five- or six-foot tall bird feeder in front of our house,” said his son. “He loved to just sit there and feed them and watch.”

Birds weren’t the only creatures to hold a spot in Mr. Martin’s heart. His dog, Kasey, a Lab mix, was his best buddy, his son said. “The dog followed him everywhere. He adored that dog.” Casey’s favorite thing to do was ride with her master during his weekly trips to the dump.

Described by his son as a “generous, thoughtful, devoted family man,” Mr. Martin will be missed by those whose lives he touched, said his son.


George K. Martin is survived by his wife, Elaine Martin; three sons, George Jr. and his wife, Jen, Chad and his wife, Stacy, and Scott and his wife, Mary; seven grandchildren, Noah, Hailey, Alea, Zachery, Tyler, Brian, and Zachery Lonergan; a brother-in-law, Chuck Pollock and his wife, Vicki; his mother-in-law, Barbara Pollock; special friends

Barb Henderson, and Noel Hetley; and many nieces and nephews.

His sister, Barbara Santo, died before him as did his brothers, Ralph and Gordon Martin.

Calling hours will be held on Friday, March 27, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 28, at 1:30 p.m. at Fredendall’s. Interment will follow at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Guilderland.

— Anne Hayden

Donald Ruthford Otterness

GUILDERLAND — A farmer and a teacher, Donald Ruthford Otterness linked generations of local kids to farm life.

“He was a patient person,” said Clare Mertz of Voorheesville, whose children were in the Country Tigers 4-H Club led by Mr. Otterness. “He loved the children and gave 100 percent up till the very end....His life was one of devout service.”

“His teaching was very intuitive, very experiential,” said his son, Dr. Richard Otterness, the oldest of his four children. “That’s how he was as a father, too. He was not much for reading and concepts and theories. He had you get out and do it.”

Mr. Otterness died on Friday, March 20, 2009, at his farmhouse off of Dunnsville Road, on the outskirts of Altamont, surrounded by people he loved. He was 77.

“He was really, truly an idea man,” said his wife, Sonja Otterness. “He was a Gemini, two people…He was always starting something then working out how to do it.”

She gave as an example the United States-Russian Farm Exchange that Mr. Otterness initiated. Mr. Otterness wrote directly to General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

“Lo and behold,” said his wife, “he got a call from an agency in Russia.” Mr. Otterness had bacon on the stove in the farmhouse kitchen when he answered the phone and was talking through a translator when he saw the bacon was burning. He picked up the flaming pan, said his wife, and swiftly threw it out the door as the translator continued.

“He got back on the phone and they never knew what happened,” she concluded.

The program moved forward. “That summer, we had eight Russians and an interpreter come to the farm,” said Mrs. Otterness. It was the summer of 1991. “They were here when the coup happened in Russia,” she recalled. Mikhail Gorbachev spent three days under house arrest that August before being restored to power as support swung to Boris Yeltsin.

“The following year, we went to Russia,” said Mrs. Otterness. And more Russians then came to visit Altamont. “We met a wonderful young man who stayed with us and is now an American citizen,” said Mrs. Otterness.

Dr. Otterness said that the exchange with Russia was motivated by his father’s desire to honor the memory of his older brother, William, who was active in an international peacemaking network.

At a time when the Soviet Union was an oppressive force, “it was about relationships between average citizens,” said Dr. Otterness.

Farming was central to Mr. Otterness his whole life. He was born in Leon Township, Minnesota, the son of the late Benjamin and Randie (Ramstad) Otterness. He grew up on a farm, one of nine children — two boys and seven girls.

He kept in touch with his Norwegian roots as a member of the Sons of Norway, Freehold — a fraternal benefit society, based in Minneapolis, that promotes and preserves Norwegian culture and heritage.

Drafted at the age of 21, Mr. Otterness served for two years in the United States Army. He received his basic training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, and then fought in the Korean War, stationed for 13 months in a bunker just below the 38th parallel, close to Puson.

Mr. Otterness graduated from South Dakota State with a degree in animal husbandry, his son said. “His first job was working as a herdsman for one of Carnation Dairy’s two show herds,” he said. “There’s a picture of him leading a cow into the lobby of the Hilton Hotel in Chicago.”

Mr. Otterness came east to work as a herdsman of a large dairy farm downstate. “The owner’s wife said, ‘You’re really good with children. You should go into education.’ So he left to become a teacher,” said his son.

He taught fifth grade at Voorheesville Elementary School for many years and later became the school’s science coordinator, a position created for him, said his son.

He took his students on field trips to his farm, and built a covered bridge over the Vly Creek, creatively connecting the parking lot to the school.

He also taught at the Helderberg Workshop in the summers where the hands-on approach to learning fit with his teaching style.

In Dr. Otterness’s boyhood, his father raised cattle. “He took great pride in his farm,” he said. “He gave us the freedom to buy and sell and develop our own herds to make money for college.”

Richard Otterness went on to earn a doctorate degree in theology and is a minister with the Reformed Church in America, serving now in Hungary. “My wife and I are ecumenical mission partners, working with the Roma people, commonly called gypsies,” he said, describing them as the most oppressed ethnic group in Europe.

His current work, Dr. Otterness said, is a legacy of his father. He explained, “His philosophy was: If a door opens, take it.”

In his later years, Mr. Otterness focused on raising sheep and was active in the Eastern Wool Growers Association, the Shepherds Association, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and 4-H. He was superintendent of livestock at the Altamont Fair for many years.

He also kept border collies, trained to herd his sheep, and gave demonstrations of their herding capabilities.

Mr. Otterness was a member of the Albany Men’s Garden Club and the National Men’s Garden Club.

“He loved flowers,” said his wife. “He was in charge of the Guilderland Cemetery for years. He would take bouquets that were left there and make arrangements out of them for nursing homes.”

Mr. Otterness met his wife, Sonja, when he brought hay for her horses on Meadowdale Road, she said. “We met in a hayloft,” she quipped. “We were two black sheep….I’m hard to harness but I’m worse to drive.”

Throughout their marriage, the pair loved to dance, she said. “He was a wonderful dancer,” she said. Recalling a vacation they took to Jamaica, she went on, “He was a reggae king in Jamaica.” And, she said, the couple won a dance contest doing the twist on a boat on Lake George. “We usually had an audience,” she said.

Her husband loved children, Mrs. Otterness said. “We would take our miniature horse to St. Peter’s to cheer up patients there,” she said.

“His specialty was taking children who didn’t live on farms and giving them farm opportunities,” said Ms. Mertz.

She also said, “He was a fixture at the sheep barn at the fair. Everybody coming through knew him. He would chat from sunrise to sunset...He was a champion showman and won a lot of ribbons, which was a source of tremendous pride for him. The farm was his life. He loved it….

“Don was a born teacher, had a wonderful sense of humor, possessed the gift of gab, and true love for children and animals,” Ms. Mertz concluded. “Husband, grandfather, teacher, and friend, the world has lost one of the most kind-hearted and generous people we were all fortunate to know.”


Donald Ruthford Otterness is survived by his loving wife of 15 years, Sonja Otterness; by his children, Richard, Paul, and Randi Otterness, and Lisa Coons; by several grandchildren; by many nieces and nephews; and by his first wife, Helen.

His two sisters, Myrtle and Edith, also survive him. His brother and five sisters died before him.

A memorial service was held on Tuesday, March 24, at the Altamont Reformed Church. Arrangements were by New Comer-Cannon Funeral Home of Colonie.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

George Saddlemire

ALTAMONT — George Saddlemire, a World War II veteran and a colonel in the National Guard, died at Albany Memorial Hospital on March 23, 2009. He was 89.

He was born on Oct. 10, 1919, in Berne, the son of Claude and Myrtle (Tousan) Saddlemire.

Mr. Saddlemire served in the United States Army during World War II in the Philippines. He retired from the New York State National Guard as a colonel. Following the war, he built his home on Lincoln Avenue in the village and resided there for 55 years. He was well known in the community.

His wife of 60 years, Ina P. Saddlemire, died in 2003.

He is survived by his son, Thomas P. Saddlemire, and his daughter-in-law, Constance H. of Steamboat Springs, Colo.; his grandson Craig O. Saddlemire of Lewiston, Maine, his brothers, Ogden and John Saddlemire; and his sisters, Edna Saddlemire, Nellie Agosta, and Martha Vass.

Calling hours will be held on Sunday, March 29, at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont from 3 to 6 p.m. Immediately following, there will be a catered reception nearby for his family and friends to celebrate his life. A private graveside service will be conducted on Monday, March 30, at 10:30 a.m. at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Good Samaritan Fund, care of the Altamont Reformed Church, Post Office Box 671, Altamont, NY 12009.

Carol M. Wassel

ALTAMONT —Carol Wassel, a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher, died on March 19, 2009. She was 62.

Mrs. Wassel was born in Huntington, Long Island, in 1946, and met her husband, Clifford Wassel, in college. As a young woman, Mrs. Wassel loved to cook, decorate, and take vacations, said her husband. She loved kids, and spent a good deal of time helping out her parents, said Mr. Wassel.

The Wassels moved to Altamont in 1976, built a house, and started their family, said Mr. Wassel. They had three children — Elizabeth, Terrence, and Kathryn — and Mrs. Wassel stayed home to raise them.

After the youngest child entered elementary school, Mrs. Wassel went back to school to get her teaching degree, and was a reading teacher at School 18 in Albany. Mrs. Wassel decided to pursue teaching because she loved children so much, said her husband.

In addition to her job and other hobbies, Mrs. Wassel was an active member of St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church in Altamont. Each year, St. Lucy’s served food at the Altamont fair, and Mrs. Wassel did much of the cooking for that, her husband said.

“Carol liked to entertain,” said Mr. Wassel. “But she didn’t like to just throw things together. She did things tastefully, she made things look appetizing and well-presented.”


Carol Wassel is survived by her husband, Clifford Wassel; three children, Elizabeth Cross, and her husband,Tom,, Terrence Wassel, and his wife, Kim, and Kathryn Ostie, and her husband, Dan; three grandchildren, Addison, Olivia, and Evan; and a brother, Gary Michelson.

A memorial Mass was celebrated on Saturday, March 21, at St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church in Altamont. Arrangements were made by Fredendall Funeral Home of Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made in Carol’s memory to St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church, Post Office Box 678, Altamont, NY 12009, or St. Peter’s Hospice Inn, 315 South Manning Blvd., Albany, NY 12208.

— Anne Hayden

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