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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, December 10, 2009

Martha Blum

GUILDERLAND — Martha (Birch) Blum, a wife and mother, a nurse and school monitor, died on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009. She was 91.

Mrs. Blum was born in Ushers, N.Y. raised in Alplaus, N.Y. and graduated from Nott Terrace High School in Schenectady and St. Margaret’s Hospital Childs’ Nursing Program in Albany.

She was employed as a pediatric nurse for several years, in the Finger Lakes region of New York. After her marriage to Leo Blum in 1942, she was employed at Lila Montgomery Hospital in Battle Creek, Mich.

During World War II, while her husband was serving overseas in the United States Army, she returned to Schenectady and was employed by the General Electric Company and later at the Army Depot in Rotterdam.

From 1966 to 1986, she was employed as a monitor at Lynnwood Elementary School in Guilderland.

During World War II, she was a member of the Octavo Singers. She also was a member of the Crooked Cane Hikers Club for several years. She was a member of the Gold Star Wives of America and a life member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary.

She has been a member of the Lynnwood Reformed Church since 1961.

She is survived by her sons, Ronald C. Blum and his partner Steve Rosen, of Philadelphia, Pa. and John Birch Blum and his wife, Cindy; grandson, Zachary, and his wife, Casey, and grandson, Zebulon — all of Middletown, Del. as well as several nieces and nephews.

There will be no calling hours. A memorial service will take place on Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. at Lynnwood Reformed Church. Arrangements are by DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home of Guilderland.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lynnwood Reformed Church, 3714 Carman Rd. Schenectady, NY 12303 or the DAV Chapter 88 Auxiliary, care of Josephine Minard, 341 Dolan Drive, Schenectady NY 12306. 

Thelma Dearstyne

BERNE — Thelma Dearstyne was a wife and mother first and foremost. She died on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009 at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut.

Born on June 12, 1935, in Schenectady, N.Y., to the late Jarvie and Florence Jansen, Mrs. Dearstyne grew up in Berne, N.Y., graduating from Berne-Knox Central School in 1953. She and her husband, Robert Dearstyne, still have a summer home in Berne.

“She was always there for all of us,” said her son, David Dearstyne. “Even when life’s circumstances caused us to drift apart, she was always waiting for us with open arms.”

David said his mother’s life was one of love, commitment, and faithfulness.

“One amazing thing about my mom was her gift of forgiveness,” her son said. “And she didn’t need to have her way; she didn’t push her will on anyone.”

Mrs. Dearstyne liked being outside, her son said, and particularly enjoyed gardening.

“She liked all the things that went along with homemaking,” Mr. Dearstyne said. “Taking care of her family was her purpose and goal.”

She also loved to do crossword puzzles, her son went on.

“She was a very intelligent, sharp person,” he said. “Most recently, we got her on the Internet; she enjoyed e-mailing her kids.”

Mrs. Dearstyne moved to Connecticut in the 1980s with her husband when he got a job with O & G Industries Inc., a construction company there.

“She was a harbor for her family,” her son said. “She was the one who kept things going.”


Thelma Dearstyne is survived by her husband of 54 years, Robert Dearstyne, and her sons: David Dearstyne and his wife, Cheryl; Mark Dearstyne; and James Dearstyne.

She is survived, too, by her sister, Norma Wilson, along with eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009, at 1 p.m. at Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Friends may call at the funeral home from 9 to 11 a.m. that day.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, Post Office Box 22718, Oklahoma City, Ok. 73123-1718.

— Zach Simeone

Margaret A. (Riley) Martin

VOORHEESVILLE — Margaret Martin, who kept an even keel as a wife and mother, died on Dec. 3, 2009, at Samaritan Hospital in Troy. She was 89.

Born in Albany, Mrs. Martin was a 1938 graduate of the Vincentian Institute. Her husband, the late Edward J. Martin, graduated from the Christian Brothers’ Academy. He played football, said their daughter, Linda DeHaas, and Mrs. Martin went to all of his games.

The couple married in 1943 and moved to Voorheesville several years later to get out of the city and “have a house in the country,” Mrs. DeHaas said.

Her mother kept a garden, she said, concluding that Mrs. Martin was “the ultimate housekeeper.”

Mrs. Martin was a communicant at St. Matthew’s Church in Voorheesville and was active in the altar rosary society, participating in craft fairs and spaghetti dinners. She was also a member of Linda O’Connor’s Village Quilters, Mrs. DeHaas said.

At the age of 81, Mrs. Martin traveled to Europe with the Happy Wanderers group, her daughter said. She enjoyed traveling near and far.

Mrs. Martin “enjoyed family gatherings, traveling, quilting, and the companionship of her collie, Jessie,” wrote her family in a tribute.

She maintained the household and kept everybody where they needed to be, Mrs. DeHaas said, concluding of her mother, “She was in control.”


Mrs. Martin is survived by her children, Sandra O’Neil, Linda DeHaas, Edward Martin Jr., and Richard Martin. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Mark Boyden, Jocelyne DeHaas, and Andrew DeHaas, and by two great-grandchildren.

Her husband, Edward Martin, died in 1993.

A Christian burial Mass was held on Dec. 9 at St. Matthew’s Church in Voorheesville with burial in Memory’s Garden in Colonie. Arrangements were by the Reilly & Son Funeral Home in Voorheesville.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Employee Assistance Fund care of Eddy Alzheimer’s Center, 32 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY 12061. 

Frederick Mastrianni

GUILDERLAND — Frederick Mastrianni, a World War II veteran and long-time nursery owner, died recently after a brief illness. He was 88.

“He entered into eternal life in God’s hands at his home in the care of his loving family,” his family wrote in a tribute.

Born and educated in Schenectady, he is the son of the late Vincenzo (Mastriano) and Maria (Morelli) Mastroianni.

A World War II Army veteran with the military police, Mr. Mastrianni was co-owner with his wife, Jeannette, of the Dutch Mill Nursery and Garden Center on Carman Road in Guilderland for over 30 years.

“Dedicated to the nursery business, he was very proud of the many homes and businesses in the area that he meticulously landscaped and maintained and are still thriving today,” his family wrote.

Later, the Mastriannis established the Dutch Mill Antique and Flea Market at their property and donated their landmark Dutch Windmill in 1992 to the town of Rotterdam, which can be seen at its new location at the nature trail entrance off Campbell Road.

Mr. Mastrianni also worked for the University at Albany as Supervisor of Grounds, Roads and Motor Pool for many years. “He took much pride in his work and always achieved a higher success in every project he encountered,” his family wrote.

He was a member of St. Madeline Sophie Church, a former volunteer and founding member of the Fort Hunter Volunteer Fire Department, member of the New York State Nurseryman’s Association, the Home Builders Association of Albany and the American Bell Association.

A lover of music, Mr. Mastianni established the Purple Serenaders in his early years and contributed his talent of drums and trumpet. Animals were also his passion and he adored the many animals he shared his home with, most recently his poodle, Pixie, and cat, Kitty.

Fred was an exceptional, a wonderful, sensitive, caring man who loved his family dearly,” his family concluded.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Jeannette (Filar) Mastrianni; his children, Vincent J. Mastrianni Sr., and his wife, Gaye, of Guilderland, Janet M. MacCollam, and her husband, Kevin, of Wilton and Sharon M. Mastrianni-Kumiszcza, and her husband, Joseph, of Cumberland, Maine. Also surviving are four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

“Fred is greatly loved and missed by his family and will remain forever in their hearts.”

A funeral service was held private at Bond Funeral Home in Schenectady. 

Bernard C. Nagengast

BERNE — Bernard Nagengast, who spread flowers like cheer, died on Dec. 4, 2009. He was 84.

He grew up as one of several sons of a florist and, said his daughter, Anne Marie Nagengast-Place, “The business just drew them all in.”

“They were born upstairs, over the flower shop,” she said, and her father worked in the store and the greenhouses that filled it all his life.

He brought fresh flowers to all the bars in the Hilltowns, where he lived, and bouquets to every doctor or dentist appointment he had.

When he began courting Matilda Nicklas after meeting her while ice-skating in Washington Park, Mr. Nagengast would bring her a single carnation when he went to see her. His daughters agreed that it was probably his favorite flower.

“My mother was the love of his life,” his daughter, Mary Jean Nagengast, said of the couple, who were wed at the Blessed Sacrament Church in 1947.

“That was his life,” Ms. Nagengast said of the shop. “He worked very hard.”

His father, Emil J. Nagengast, opened the flower shop in 1910 and the family’s third generation operates the business now.

“He’s an artiste,” Mrs. Nagengast-Place said of her father’s propensity for drawing. He’d draw so beautifully on boxes and wrapping paper that his children have been known to frame the packaging that held gifts. Mr. Nagengast drew on everything. As a young man, his daughters said, he wanted to be a cartoonist.

The art that he made with flower arrangements he shared with dozens of people. Every year at Christmas time, during Advent, Mr. Nagengast, a devout Catholic, taught groups of people to make Advent wreaths with greens and four candles — one to be lit each Sunday until Christmas.

Mr. Nagengast was generous, Mrs. Nagengast-Place said, and he never complained.

“He loved to tell jokes,” said Ms. Nagengast, and people warmed to him. When she and her siblings were small, he would spontaneously unveil his restored 1922 Overland and scoop up as many neighborhood kids as would fit and take them to the Tasty Freeze for ice-cream cones. “He would just have a whim,” she said.

“He was a very giving person,” she added. “He was not a complainer.”

After Mr. Nagengast retired in 1986, he took up woodworking and mastered the art, often making birdhouses. “He always likes to tinker. He would see something and he’d just duplicate it,” Ms. Nagengast said.

Mr. Nagengast was a member of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church; an honorary life member of the Knights of Columbus; a member of the Warners Lake Improvement Association, Moose International, the Packard Club, the Willy’s Overland Knights, and the Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley; and a retired member of the FTD Association.

Ms. Nagengast, thinking of her father’s Advent wreaths, said that a friend had recently told her, “‘During the Advent, they take all the good souls.’ It’s true,” she said.


Mr. Nagengast is survived by his wife of 62 years, Matilda Nicklas Nagengast and his children: Bernard A. Nagengast and his wife, Carol; Richard J. Nagengast; Joanne M. Nagengast and Jody; Mary Jean Nagengast; Mark S. Nagengast; Kathryn M. Willsie and her husband, Ross; Anne Marie Nagengast-Place and her husband, Tim; Thomas G. Nagengast and his wife, Mary Ellen; Rosemary R. Hoffman and her husband, Jim; and Brian C. Nagengast; and his daughter-in-law, Peggy Vogel-Nagengast.

His son, Michael R. Nagengast died before him.

He is also survived by his grandchildren: Tatyana, Anne, and Therese Nagengast; Tyler Vogel; Katie and Jenny Vogel-Nagengast; Carly and Ethan Willsie; and Nicklas and Marianna Nagengast, as well as many nieces and nephews.

His siblings — Josephine, George, Margaret McGarithy, Emil J. Jr., his twin brother Joe, Raymond, and Dorothy Tobin — died before him.

A funeral will be held tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. at St. Bernadette’s Church in Berne where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated. Calling hours are today, Thursday, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the McVeigh Funeral Home. Interment in Our Lady of Angels Cemetery will follow the Mass.

To leave a message for the family, visit www.McveighFuneralHome.com.

— Saranac Hale Spencer 

Elmer T. Ogaard

KNOX — Elmer Ogaard was a gentleman and a jack-of-all-trades, who loved classical music, camping, and family.

He died at home on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009. He was 69.

“He was someone who cared about others more than himself,” said his wife of 36 years, Lydia Ogaard. “Even in his last days, he was asking people how they were doing.”

He was born on Aug. 27, 1940, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to the late Elmer and Adeline Ogaard.

In 1961, Mr. Ogaard joined the Air Force, where he spent the next four years.

“When he was in the Air Force, he had been stationed in England during the Vietnam era,” his wife said. “While he was there, he was able to visit relatives in Denmark that he had never met. He was always glad he got to go there and see his aunt especially, because, the next year, his aunt died.”

Mr. Ogaard then moved to upstate New York, living first in Schenectady, and then in East Greenbush, which is where he lived when he met his wife.

A registered nurse, she had recently begun working at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, and a friend told her about a local youth group called Protestant Young Adults, of which Mr. Ogaard and his sister were members.

“One of my roommates told me he was a nice guy, and that you could trust him, and we just kind of hit it off right away,” Mrs. Ogaard said. “We’d meet each other there every Sunday night. He used to tell me I followed him around like a little puppy dog,” she laughed.

They were married on June 9, 1973.

The couple shared a trailer in East Schodack until Mrs. Ogaard became pregnant with their first child, at which point they decided to build their home in Knox.

Mr. Ogaard recently retired from his 35-year career at the United States Postal Service.

“He loved his post office,” his wife said. “He and his retired post-office buddies would hang out every so often. They’d get together at the Western Diner or the Home Front Café.”

Mr. Ogaard also enjoyed listening to classical music in his free time, as well as camping.

“We went camping every year to different places,” Mrs. Ogaard said. “We finally got a little RV; we had gone down to Texas with it in 2007.”

The two also did a bit of gardening.

“He made me raised beds for our garden so it wouldn’t flood out, because we’re next to a creek and, sometimes, it gets too wet,” said Mrs. Ogaard. “He tinkered on the cars, built our front shed, built our back garden. He was kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” she said.

Mr. Ogaard was passionate about World War II movies. But his interest in film didn’t stop there.

“He got into penguins the past couple years,” Mrs. Ogaard said with a laugh. “We saw March of the Penguins, and, of course, then we had to see Happy Feet.”

He also loved trains, due in part to his father driving a subway in New York City.

“We always had to find a steam engine to go on any time we went on a trip,” his wife said.

“He loved our dog Lycos,” Mrs. Ogaard went on. “He’s the one who went outside and fed him, took care of him, gave him lots of love and attention.”

He was also devoted to the Knox Reformed Church.

“More than once, he was on the consistory as a deacon,” his wife said. “He sang in the church choir, and he sang in the Hilltown Gospel Group.”

Mrs. Ogaard recalls their summer trips to Lake George for their June 9 anniversary. They enjoyed viewing the many motorcycles that came into town for Americade, an annual touring rally.

But above all, Mrs. Ogaard will remember her husband as being loving and gentle.


Elmer Ogaard is survived by his wife of 36 years, Lydia Ogaard.

He is also survived by his children: Stephen Ogaard; Michael Ogaard and his wife, Mandi; Erica Ogaard and Scott Kirsch; and Diana Ogaard and Bear Campo.

He is survived, too, by his grandson, Alexander; his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Shedina; his sister, Marilyn Burt, her husband, Bill, their daughter, Tiffany, and her four daughters; and his cousins: Stephanie Warnesky and her husband, Dennis; and Denise Mahon and her husband, Matthew.

A funeral service was held on Monday, Dec. 7, 2009, at the Knox Reformed Church, and was followed by interment at Knox Cemetery. Friends called at the church that morning. Arrangements were made by Fredendall Funeral Home of Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Knox Reformed Church, Post Office Box 86, Knox, NY 12107, or to Helderberg Ambulance, Post Office Box 54, East Berne, NY 12059.

— Zach Simeone 

Poul Turin

Poul Turin, an interior architect with a passion for music, dancing, and the sea, died on Nov. 26, 2009. He was 91.

Mr. Turin was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 27, 1918. He graduated in 1940 with a degree in interior architecture, with a concentration in furniture design. His son, Lars Turin, of Altamont, said his father’s whole family was artistically inclined, and art became part of the way his father looked at life.

A lover of music, especially jazz, Mr. Turin frequented a certain record store, where met his wife of 68 years, Grete Gaarn. A soft-spoken man, Mr. Turin worked up the courage to ask Grete, an employee at the record store, to a Christmas ball.

“He described her as a cute blonde,” Mr. Turin’s son said. “She said she thought he was cute, too, so she agreed to go to the dance. He was the king of the dance floor,” Lars Turin said. Mr. Turin had taken dance lessons when he was a boy, and especially enjoyed ballroom and swing dancing.

“Dad literally swept Mom off her feet. They stayed out all night,” his son said. The two were married on Oct. 12, 1941.

He continued to dance; on his 90th birthday, he danced the Charleston at his party.

Mr. Turin served as a sergeant with Copenhagen’s engineering department during World War II. After the war, there were limited opportunities for employment in Denmark, so he, his wife, and their son, Boje, who was 2 at the time, came to America in 1946.

“They came with a couple of foot lockers, and a few suitcases, and that was all they had,” Lars Turin said. In America, Mr. Turin realized that people were interested in Danish design and artistic expression. He worked for retail companies until 1967, when he started his own company, called Bolane, Inc. He created the name of the company using the first two letters from each of his children’s names — Boje, Lars, and Neina — his son said.

“My father had high standards for his kids, and I think we all excelled because of that. He had a very ‘you can do it’ positive message,” said Lars Turin.

As business owners from 1967 to 1987, Mr. Turin and his wife imported furniture of Scandanavian design. Many of his customers became valued friends. They opened shops in Manchester, Vt., Yarmouth, Maine, and Clifton Park. Lars Turin called his father’s lifestyle nomadic.

“He opened stores, which had a very mom-and-pop feel to them, and then closed them,” said Mr. Turin’s son. He said his father was drawn to Maine because he loved the sea. Mr. Turin and his family were able to take weekend trips to the shore when they lived in Denmark, and his son said walking along the beach with his wife was one of his father’s favorite treats; they visited many different beaches along the shore of South Maine.

Mr. Turin’s love of water led him to rowing. He rowed in Denmark for the Students Rowing Club of Copenhagen. More recently, he rowed with the Saratoga Rowing Association at Fish Creek. He competed in a few races, and also used his two-person boat to get amateur rowers used to the water.

“He was very gentle about that,” his son said. “There was grace and style to the way he rowed.” The two-person boat will be donated to the Saratoga Rowing Association so amateurs can still use it, he said.

“He was a man who enjoyed the finer things in life,” said his son, “and that included humor and lighthearted conversation.”


Mr. Poul Turin is survived by his wife, Grete; and his children, Boje, and his wife, Carol; Lars, and his wife, Amber; and Neina, and her husband, Duane.

He is also survived by his nephews, Georg Turin Clemmensen, Poul Turin Clemmensen, and his wife, Gerd, and their families; He is survived, too, by his grandchildren, Daniel, Brian, and his wife, Heather; Marilyn, and her husband, Dale; Ali Rose, and her husband, Rick; Ethan, and his wife, Jenna; Kelsey, and her husband, Scott; Robyn, and her husband, Sean; Jennifer, and her husband, Francois; Kyle, and his wife, Danielle; and Abigail, and her husband, Dennis.

He is also survived by his great-grandchildren, Josh, Kier, Megan, Cade, Breanna, Brina, Abigail, Ashley Carmela, and Damian; and friends who became family, Nancy and Warren Severance, Eric Severance, and Suzanne, Joanne, Elizabeth, and Dan Wheeler.

His grandson, Dusty, died before him, as did family friends Ebba, Cutler, and Hope Severance, and Bunny and Art Ward.

A family gathering will commemorate Poul Turin’s life. Arrangements are made by William J. Burke and Sons/Bussing and Cunniff Funeral Homes, of Saratoga Springs.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Saratoga Rowing Association, Post Office Box 750, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com.

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