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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, June 25, 2009

Thomas J. Hayden

SLINGERLANDS — Thomas J. Hayden, a Navy veteran and highway worker, died on June 18, 2009, at St. Peter’s Hospital. He was 84.

He was a beloved husband, cherished father, and loving grandfather, his family wrote in a tribute.

Born in Albany on April 18, 1925, he was the son of the late Thomas J. and Rose (Bray) Hayden.

Mr. Hayden served in the United States Navy during World War II on the USS Amsterdam.

After arriving home from the war, Mr. Hayden worked for the Albany County Highway Department in Voorheesville until he retired in 1992.

Mr. Hayden was “an avid fan of gaming, horse racing, and a good card game,” his family wrote.

He spent his winters in North Carolina, but looked forward to returning home to Saratoga for the summer, his family wrote.

Mr. Hayden is survived by his wife, Nancy (Sherwin) Hayden, and his children: Michael T. Hayden and his wife, Kim, of Endicott; Geoffrey G. Hayden and his wife, Christine, of Knox; and Gretchen H. Cunningham and her husband, Gerard, of Slingerlands. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Lindsey and Nicole Hayden; Faith, Emma, and Thomas Cunningham; and Zoe and Maya Hayden.

He is also survived by his brother, William D. Hayden and his wife, Margaret, of East Berne, and by his cousins, Jack Magrew and Brook Bissell and by his good friend, Jerry Quenneville.

His son, Thomas W. Hayden, died before him, as did his sister, Mary Rissacher.

Calling hours will be held on Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Applebee Funeral Home, 403 Kenwood Ave., Delmar.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at St. Matthew’s Church, 25 Mountainview St., Voorheesville. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne.

Mildred Ether

Mildred Ether, a loving wife and mother, known to family and friends as “Mickey,” died on June 19, 2009 at St. Peter’s Hospice. She was 85.

Mrs. Ether was an artist and an art teacher. She loved the ocean, and always felt most at home on her favorite beach, Great Hollow, in North Truro, Mass., according to her daughter, Margot Ether-Reyes.

Mildred Ether is survived by three daughters — Candice Hoover and her husband, Gary, Diana Dayton and her husband, Jim, and Margot Ether-Reyes and her husband, German; six grandchildren, Shawn and Jay Noel, Michael, Jennifer, and Jusitn Schinnerer, and Teddy Ether-Velazquez; a great-grandson, Brenton J. Noel; an aunt, Helen Adrian; and loving friend Katey Houck.

A private service will be held at the convenience of the family. Arrangments were made by the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105, or St. Peter’s Hospice Inn, 315 South Manning Boulevard, Albany, NY, 12208. 

Elizabeth “Betty” Smith

VOORHEESVILLE — Elizabeth Rachel Travis Smith, who was at once a pioneer and a traditionalist, died on June 9, 2009. She was 100 years old.

Born in Ashtabula Harbor, Ohio, on Sept. 4, 1909, Mrs. Smith was the daughter of a preacher and a homemaker, the late Lee Travis and Ella May Stearns.

Mrs. Smith learned to knit at the age of 5, when she began making wrist warmers for the soldiers of World War I, said her son, Peter Smith. The Army issue uniforms left a gap between the end of the jacket sleeve and the top of the gloves, he said, so women on the home front knit woolen warmers, “like an open ended sock,” Mr. Smith said.

Mrs. Smith had a sister until she was 9, when her only sibling succumbed to the flu epidemic in 1918. Mrs. Smith, too, got sick, but survived. She lived like nobody does today, her son said, recalling that she talked about making her own fried doughnuts on the stove. She didn’t have her cholesterol tested until she was in her 80s, he said.

Mrs. Smith graduated from Lake Erie College, in Painesville, Ohio with a double major in math and art, said her son; she also attended Syracuse University for teaching credentials.

Her first job was teaching math in the Binghamton area, said Mr. Smith, not far from her father’s parish in Cortland. It was there that she met her husband, the late Harold “Shorty” Smith, who was working as a salesman at the time.

The couple moved to the Capital Region when he began working for Crowley Milk, Mr. Smith said, and his mother taught math at the Albany Academy for Girls. Mrs. Smith loved teaching and was very fond of the school, he said, remembering that his mother had a reputation for being strict, but was highly regarded by her students.

“She always had an active mind,” Mr. Smith said, and a sense of humor. “She was just kind of a fun lady to be around,” he concluded.

Mrs. Smith spent her retirement busy in the Voorheesville Methodist Church, helping with craft groups and the circulation of “The Church Mouse.”

She made many artful quilts with the Nimble Fingers group at the Voorheesville Public Library and the Voorheesville Evening Quilt Group. And she enjoyed “knit-ins” at The Spinning Room.

“She seemed to like all the wild, outlandish colors,” said Mr. Smith, adding that she also liked black and white. Her background in math was predominant in many of her geometric quilts.

His mother lived through 18 presidents and always ate dessert first, said Mr. Smith. “She seemed to see humor in everything,” he said.


Mrs. Smith is survived by her son, Peter Smith, and his wife, Lynda Jo, of Voorheesville, and her four grandchildren: Linda Lee Crannell of Voorheesville; Carol Ann Liebowitz and her husband, David, of Wesley Hills, N.Y.; Christine Crannell and her partner, Keith Mayton, of Worthington, Ohio; and Brian David Smith and his wife, JoAnna, of Naples, Fla. She is also survived by five great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Her husband, Harold Smith, died before her as did her daughter, Sandra L. Crannell.

All services will be private for the family.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Endowment Fund of the Voorheesville United Methodist Church, 68 Maple Ave., Voorheesville, NY 12186 or to the Community Hospice of Albany, 445 New Karner Rd., Albany, NY 12205.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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