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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 20, 2009

Waldo “Wally” Greene

VOORHEESVILLE — Waldo Greene, a scientist and proprietor of music, built his professions around his family. He died on July 24, 2009 at the age of 74.

Born in Albany, Mr. Greene grew up playing baseball and maintained a general good nature. “He was a devil when he was a kid,” said his younger sister, Emily Laraway.

The pair were the children of the late Waldo S. and Florence H. Greene, a district personnel manager for the New York telephone company and a homemaker who worked with the Red Cross.

Both Mr. Greene and his mother played the piano, Mrs. Laraway said, and, along with their uncle who played the violin, the family would have concerts.

As a young man, Mr. Greene fell in love with a musician and would have celebrated 51 years of marriage to Shirley Greene this year.

It was love at first sight when the couple met at a welcome-home party for a neighborhood soldier, said Mrs. Greene. They were married six months after they met.

Mr. Greene served for several years in the Navy, where he worked as an oral surgeon. After having studied chemistry at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., he was equipped for the job, which often involved being flown by helicopter to boats and submarines where he would help soldiers. He was also a member of the United States Navy Drill Team that appeared on the Perry Como television show, his family wrote in a tribute.

He worked for many years as a quality-control chemist for Agway in Bordentown, N.J., said his wife, but in order to be close to extended family when they had their two young daughters, Mr. Greene took a job with Jared Holt Co. in Albany. “He went from chicken feed to shoes,” she said.

The company was a division of the PCI Group and, while working there, in 1983, he got a U.S. patent for a mold release compound, his family wrote — after the company became JUC Industries, Mr. Greene served as its president. “Anything that was chemically needed for shoes, they made it,” Mrs. Greene said, adding that the company also produced cleaning products.

For 13 years, the couple ran VanCurler Music Co. in Albany and Mr. Greene maintained ties with the local schools.

“He was just a very smart… self-taught guy,” said Mrs. Greene, explaining that her husband helped her father build the family’s cabin on Lake St. Catherine in Vermont and built the furniture inside of it. He’d spend a week reading about plumbing and electricity and then go to the cabin and work on it, she said.

Mr. Greene also loved to fish and taught everyone in his family how to do it. Most of the time he’d toss back his catches, but sometimes he’d cook them up, said his wife. He was an excellent cook.

Each year the parents of her piano students anticipated the punch Mr. Greene would make for his wife’s recitals.

“Everything he did, he did well,” she said.

Some things he could do without trying. Recently, Mr. Greene got a degree qualifying him to do voiceovers, she said. “He was excellent; he had a great voice,” said his wife.

“He loved life, he loved people, he loved to talk,” she said. “He smiled till his last breath.”

Mr. Greene was also on the town of New Scotland’s recreation planning board of the town park as well as being active with village committees. He was also a long-time member of the Bassmasters Club in Berne and he kept a garden, bred dogs, went bird watching, and built boats with his father-in-law.

He “always had a smile,” said his sister. “He was a friend to everybody.”

Mrs. Greene noted her husband’s constant smile and frequent whistle; he would often whistle The Flight of the Bumble Bee.

“Everybody that knew him, loved him,” she said.


Mr. Greene is survived by his wife, Shirley M. Greene, of Voorheesville, and his two daughters, Cindy M. Curley and her husband, Glen, of Summit, N.J., and Sherrie L. West of Columbia, Md. He is also survived by his sister, Emily Laraway, and her husband, Andrew, of Altamont and his brother-in-law, Ronald Vanderburgh. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Brian, Jason, and Allison Curley, of Summit, N.J., and by six nieces, two grandnieces, six grandnephews, and his dog, Rags.

A funeral was held on July 27 at the New Comer Cannon Funeral Home in Colonie; interment will be private at the convenience of the family.

Memorial donations may be made to the Voorheesville Volunteer Ambulance Squad and messages for the family may be left on the funeral home website, www.NewcomerAlbany.com.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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