[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Community Links] [Contact Us]

Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 15, 2010

Rachel Rodino

GUILDERLAND — Rachel Rodino, a child who touched many hearts during her short life, died on Wednesday, April 7, 2010, at the St. Peter’s Hospice Inn. She was 8.

Rachel suffered from Huntington’s disease, a genetic, degenerative brain disease, for the past two years, but her family said in a tribute that her courage and strength “helped her live with this disease with grace and tenacity every day.”

In December, Rachel’s mother, Lori Rodino, said her daughter’s “personality and spirit, throughout this horrible disease, have been extraordinary.” Doctors did not expect Rachel to live through Christmas, but she made it through the winter holidays, her eighth birthday, and Easter.

“Anyone who knows Rachel knows that she is a fighter,” said family friend JoAnne Fitzgerald, earlier, as she helped organize widespread community support for the Rodinos since Rachel’s father, Rick, also has Huntington’s.

Neighbor and friend Jen Cornell described Rachel as a sweet, affectionate child, full of smiles.

“When you see Rachel around town and you speak to her, her face lights up with a beautiful smile,” said Fitzgerald.

According to Mrs. Rodino, Rachel was like any other child before she began to exhibit symptoms of her disease. She liked to play outside, swing on the swing, play in the sandbox, and chase butterflies, and she had a spunky personality. In the beginning stages of Huntington’s, Rachel still laughed and smiled every day, said Mrs. Rodino.

As time went on, though, Rachel could no longer walk or see. She could still hear, and loved having her surroundings described to her, listening to stories, and being told how much she was loved. Even when she could not see, her eyes would always tell a story, her mother said.

Mrs. Rodino said Rachel was the center of her siblings lives, and Rachel loved them more than anything; they never put her down, she said.

“How lucky we are that she was a part of our family; that is never a regret, but a gift that we were so fortunate to have for this small amount of time,” said Mrs. Rodino.

The Rodinos would like to thank JeanAnn and Jen Cornell. Mrs. Rodino said she could not have gotten through this without them. The family would also like to thank Gail, and the St. Peter’s Hospice Inn, for taking great care of Rachel, as well as her doctors, Dr. Leary, Dr. Foster, Dr. Nichter, and the staff.

They thank Kathy Burbank, from the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce, and all of the commerce members, for organizing fund-raisers for the family; Nancy, from Christ the King, and all of the parishioners; and all the many neighbors, friends, and the community, who embraced Rachel.

“We miss our sassy girl who snorts when she laughs, but we also know, in our hearts, that she left us a long time ago, and is ready for that next journey, to be set free — to fly like a butterfly and soar like an eagle, because that is who Rachel really is,” Mrs. Rodino said.


Rachel Rodino is survived by her mother and father, Rick and Lori Rodino; her siblings, Anthony, Gianna, Giulia, and Ricky; her grandfather, Richard C. Bernard; her grandmother, Ann Rodino; her aunts, Renee, and Lisa, and her husband, Mark; her uncles, Rick, and his wife, Rose, Joe, and Sam; and several cousins.

Her maternal grandmother, Laura Bernard, died before her, as did her grandfather, Al Rodino.

A funeral was held on Saturday at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, with interment at the Prospect Hill Cemetery, both in Guilderland. Arrangements were by Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Trustees of Columbia University. The memorandum on the check must read “Huntington’s Research” and it should be mailed to Karen Marder, MD — at 630 West 168 St., P and S Box, New York, NY 10032.

— Anne Hayden 

Victoria H. Sample

EAST BERNE — A happy person who loved her work in the Berne-Knox-Westerlo school, Victoria H. Sample was a devoted mother and grandmother.

She died in her Joslyn School Road home on Monday, April 12, 2010. She was 65.

Mrs. Sample was raised in Albany, the daughter of the late Helen Blendell and Michael F. Powers. After she married Marvin R. Sample, the couple moved to the Hilltowns where they raised three daughters. She had lived in East Berne since 1973.

“We all live within a mile of each other,” said her daughter, Tracy Bassler. “Mom loved the holidays. We’d all get together at her house for dinner. She was an awesome cook. She always cooked a turkey and a ham, and everything that went with it. She did it every single year.”

As her daughters were growing up, Mrs. Sample particularly enjoyed taking them on family vacations to Brennan Beach on Lake Ontario. “She’d rent a place every year. We’d have a trailer right on the bluff so we could walk to the beach,” said her daughter.

Mrs. Bassler went on, “She was a really good mom. She did everything for her kids and grandkids, never for herself.”

Mrs. Sample started working at Berne-Knox-Westerlo as a volunteer and then became a teacher’s aid. “She worked for years in the elementary cafeteria,” said Mrs. Bassler. Mrs. Sample retired in 1999 after 22 years at BKW. “She loved it there,” said her daughter. “She liked the camaraderie.”

She concluded of her mother, “She liked to joke a lot. She was a happy person.”


Victoria H. Sample is survived by her husband of 47 years, Marvin R. Sample; and by their three daughters, Tracy Bassler and her husband, Paul, of East Berne, Wendy Sample and her companion, Justin Arnold, of East Berne, and Robin Weidman and her husband, Edward, of Westerlo.

She is also survived by her grandchildren, Kenny Pappalau and his companion, Dhyana Rodgers, Matthew Steadman, Tyler Weidman, and Edward Weidman Jr.; and by her dear friend, Deena Collins.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 17, at the Reilly & Son Funeral Home, at 9 Voorheesville Ave. in Voorheesville.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 260 Osborne Rd., Loudonville, NY 12211.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer 

Rosemary Smith

ALTAMONT — Rosemary Smith, a cherished woman known for her singing voice, died on April 12, 2010, at St. Peter’s Hospital. She was 56.

Mrs. Smith, the beloved wife of William R. Smith, was a long-time resident of Altamont, and an employee of the state’s retirement system for 34 years. She enjoyed fine cooking; Mr. Smith said she was famous for her macaroni and cheese, and her cakes and pies, which she regularly provided to the Altamont Rescue Squad, of which he is a member.

She also loved jazz and blues music, and had an “indescribable singing voice,” said her husband. She loved to sing with her family at family events.

Mrs. Smith was the glue that held her family together, Mr. Smith said. Whenever anyone in the family needed advice, they went directly to her.

“Her personality was out of this world. She never said a bad word about anybody. There was not a bad bone in her body,” her husband said. He said she had, many, many friends in the community, and will be missed by all.


She is survived by her husband, William R. Smith; her husband’s parents, William and Rosemary Smith, and their children, David Smith, and Jeanne Orenstein, and her husband, Steve; two brothers, Edmund F. Mack Jr., and Richard Mack, and his wife, Linda; two sisters, Mary Vedder Dzuba, and her husband, John, and Kathleen Mack; five nephews, Paul Mack, and his wife, Anne, Jeff Mack, and his wife, Laura, Jim Vedder, and his wife, Marisa, Alan Vedder, and his wife, Yvonne, and Edmund Mack III; and three great-nieces, Kathryn Vedder, Gracie Vedder, and Addison Mack.

Her parents, Edmund and Mary Mack, died before her, as did her brother, Carl Mack.

A funeral will be held on Saturday, April 17, at St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church, followed by interment in Prospect Hill Cemetery. Friends may call at Fredendall Funeral Home, in Altamont, from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 16.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Altamont Rescue Squad, 767 Route 146, Altamont, NY 12009. 

Lydia Tobler

By Saranac Hale Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — Lydia Tobler’s last note sounded on April 7. It was an uncharacteristically sad one for the ever-bright music teacher who died at the age of 60.

She composed music until the day she died; the last piece was performed at her memorial. She wrote her first compositions to accompany the poetry of Khalil Gibran as a teenager recovering from back surgery, said her twin sister, Sarita Winchell.

“We did everything together,” she said.

Brought up in a musical family, the pair learned to play the piano as children and each picked up the flute in the sixth grade — the earliest that lessons were offered at their Long Island school.

The only four years that they didn’t live near each other were during college, when Mrs. Tobler pursued piano at the State University of New York at Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

In 1971, she came to Voorheesville to teach and not long after, Frank McDermott asked Leonard Tobler to come to the school to look over the percussion equipment. “He brought me in under false pretences,” said Mr. Tobler, who played with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. Mr. McDermott walked into her class, pulled her out into the hall, and introduced the couple, who would later marry.

Teaching was in her nature, he said, and she was always looking for ways to incorporate the humanities into the school’s curriculum. Mrs. Tobler sewed a common thread through art, music, and literature, her husband said, since she saw them all as a celebration of life and people’s feelings.

Students could better understand those subjects, Mrs. Tobler believed, if they understood the history that they reflected, her sister said as an example of integrating the humanities with core disciplines.

“She loved teaching students,” Mrs. Winchell said. “She was an example of how music can affect the heart.”

Over the years, her sister gave several troubled students a purpose in school by catching their imaginations through music, Mrs. Winchell said. Sometimes it’s only through the arts that a teacher can catch a student who might otherwise fall through the cracks, she said.

“Lydia had an innate sense of what that meant,” Dr. Michael Tebbano said of her ability to teach kids according to their needs. Now the superintendent of the Bethlehem schools, he first met Mrs. Tobler at Voorheesville in the 1970s when he was fresh out of college. He credits her with showing him the subtleties of good teaching.

Beyond engraining the humanities in the school, Mr. Tebbano said, she also brought a global perspective to the music department by teaching the songs of distant cultures. Mrs. Tobler helped her students break down the barriers that separate people, he said, and “music was her medium to do that.”

She partnered with the Old Songs organization to bring varying types of folk music to the school, said director Andy Spence. An enthusiastic supporter of the annual music festival, Mrs. Tobler would often participate in the shape-note singing, which is a southern bred a cappella method sung in four parts, Mrs. Spence said. The cadence of its hymns is more driving than a church choir’s, she said.

The music that she wrote to accompany the poem “early morning blessing,” by local writer Dennis Sullivan, sounds like a hymn, Mr. Sullivan said. A year ago, she chose to compose music for it — her favorite of his poems, which is about harvesting silence. He was amazed at the way she could capture it, he said of hearing her sing it to him. Of her rendition, he said, “Someone could get inside silence and simplicity and sing about it.”

Her music was “creatively simple and emotionally inspiring,” Mr. Tebbano said.

Of what she loved about music, her husband said, “It was the expression from the soul — how it would bring out the humanity of a person.”


Mrs. Tobler is survived by her husband, Leonard J. Tobler, and her son, Gregory A. Tobler and his wife, Kristen, of Stamford, Conn. She is also survived by her mother, Katherine C. Crounse, of Voorheesville, and her sisters, Lynn C. Crounse of Hampton, Va. and Sarita Winchell and her husband, John, of Voorheesville. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Her father, Myndert Crounse, died before her.

A memorial was held on April 11 at St. Matthew’s Church in Voorheesville with arrangements by the Reilly and Son Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Voorheesville Friends of Music, c/o C.A. Bouton High School, Voorheesville, NY 12186 or to the First United Methodist Church of Voorheesville, 68 Maple Ave., Voorheesville, NY 12186.

Burial Notice — Thomas M. Tubbs

KNOX — Thomas M. Tubbs Sr., a former military policeman and town highway worker, died on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010. He was 60. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.

A spring burial will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, 2010 in the Knox Cemetery.

[Return to Home Page]