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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 6, 2010

Everett George Hallenbeck

THOMPSONS LAKE — Everett George Hallenbeck was a gentle giant. He loved his family, and was proud to be a country boy.

He died on Tuesday, April 27, 2010, after a car accident in Dighton, Mass. He was 23.

“He was very warm and caring,” said Sara Hallenbeck, almost in tears at the memory of her big brother. “He’s somebody you could rely on, and count on to just be there for you. He always made you feel like you were cared for, and like everything was going to be fine.”

A Thompsons Lake native who attended school at Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Mr. Hallenbeck moved to Taunton, Mass. with his fiancée, Danielle Restagno, about two years ago. They wanted to be closer to her family.

His fiancée remembers him as a fun loving, and giving man.

“He was just a happy person,” Ms. Restagno said, “and if you weren’t happy, he’d make you happy.”

The two had met over the Internet late in 2004; her friend was dating his friend. She eventually came to live with him in Berne, and they moved around between his hometown and the city of Albany.

His new job at Einstein Landscaping in Massachusetts was helping him pay for an engagement ring that they had picked out.

“That Monday, they had just made him a foreman and given him his own equipment,” said Ms. Restagno. But his promotion would only last a day.

In addition to being a landscaper, Mr. Hallenbeck was a hunter and a fisherman, his family said.

“We used to go to the Hudson River and go striper fishing,” said his sister. His fiancée has similar memories.

“We used to go to Newport, Rhode Island a lot,” said Ms. Restagno. “There’s a park we used to go to, and you can walk on the rocks; he would fish, and I’d just kind of watch him fish,” she said with a laugh. They would also walk along the beach together.

Mr. Hallenbeck was a former member of the East Berne Fire Department, too, and participated in the department’s demolition derby at the Altamont Fair.

He was also a man who loved to build things.

“Everett built us a zip-line he made out of this cable in my grandfather’s garage,” said his sister. “He took the handlebars and front tire of a bike, and a half-inch wire, and hooked it up to two trees, about 20 feet in the air.”

She recalls another invention of his, this one aquatic in nature.

“When we were little, there was this flood, so he put us on these 50-gallon drums and made it into a little boat ride for us,” his sister said. “It was phenomenal. He did everything a big brother should.”

He once fashioned a rope swing out of an old set of bunk beds, she went on, and he helped his brothers build a dirt bike track. He also enjoyed working on cars, as well as drawing.

“He had this chuckle that could make anybody laugh right after it, even if the joke wasn’t funny,” his sister said. “He had the best smile, and the best laugh.” And, she said, he always answered the phone with, “Hey bud.”

Above all, Ms. Restagno said, she will remember “what a great person he was.”

“He was one of the best people I’ve ever met,” she said, “and I feel so lucky to have known him.”


Everett Hallenbeck is survived by his fiancée, Danielle Restagno; his mother, Georgia Hallenbeck; his father, Everett Hallenbeck; his brothers, Benjamin and Zachary; his sisters, twins Elizabeth and Sara; and his beloved cousin, Geoff Richardson.

A funeral service will be held this morning, Thursday, May 6, at Thompsons Lake Cemetery in East Berne.

Friends called at Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont yesterday.

— Zach Simeone

Gustav W. “Bill” Haller

GREENVILLE — Gustav W. Haller, a World War II veteran who worked as a painter and carpenter, died on May 2, 2010. He was 89.

A resident of Greenville, Mr. Haller, known to his friends and family as Bill, died at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, N.Y.

He was born in Huntington, N.Y. on Mar. 8, 1921, the son of the late Julius and Mary (Hellscher) Haller.

He served his country in the United States Navy with the Seabees during World War II.

Mr. Haller was a member of the Greenville American Legion Post 291, the Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company and the Mellville Volunteer Fire Company.

He is survived by his wife, Adelaide (Rasmussen) Haller of Greenville; his daughter, Nancy Snow and her husband, Ron, his son, William Haller and his wife, Christine; six grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

His brother and his four sisters died before him.

As to his wishes, his body was cremated and a memorial service will be held on Friday, May 7 at 3 p.m. at the South Westerlo Congregational Christian Church in South Westerlo, to which all are invited. He will be interred in the Saratoga National Cemetery in Schuylerville, N.Y. on July 14, 2010. Arrangement are by the Cunningham Funeral Home of Greenville.

Memorial contributions may be made to either the Columbia-Greene Community Hospice, 47 Liberty St., Catskill, NY 12414 or to the Westerlo Volunteer Fire Company, Westerlo, NY 12193. 

Rita Marie Kizis Mueller

Rita Marie Kizis Mueller, a World War II veteran, and avid volunteer, died on April 27, 2010, at Fox Hospital in Oneonta, with her family by her side.

Mrs. Mueller, daughter of the late Peter and Mary Masonis Kizis, grew up in Pittston, Pa. She attended the St. Mary of the Assumption School, and graduated from Pittston High School in 1936. She graduated from a commercial course at Swoyersville High School in 1937.

Mrs. Mueller enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II, and was stationed in Philadelphia, Pa.; Hunter College, N.Y.; and Riverside and Corona, Calif. She met her husband, Gustave Edward Mueller, of Astoria, N.Y., during the war. They celebrated 59 years of marriage before Mr. Mueller died.

She worked for the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance until her retirement, and was active in the Catholic Church, and the communities of Altamont and Middleburgh. She volunteered at local hospitals, and donated more than 10 gallons of blood.

For the past 10 years, Mrs. Mueller lived in Cobleskill.

She is survived by her siblings, Anastasia Techky of Lake Winola, Pa., Mercedes Henning, of Springville, Pa., and John Kizis, of Orlando, Fla.; her children, Maryanna Mueller and Shafer Kronenburg, Jacqueline Mueller Osborne, and her husband, Stan, and Gustave Mueller, and his wife, Dorothy Cross Mueller; two grandchildren, Lauren and Rebecca Mueller; a great-grandson, Xavier; and many nieces and nephews.

Her husband, Gustave Edward Mueller, died before her, as did her brother, Peter Kizis, and her sister, Clementine Kizis Skurkis.

A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at a later date, with interment in the Gerald B.H. Solomon National Cemetery, in Schuylerville. Arrangements are by the Mereness-Putnam Funeral Home, in Cobleskill. On-line condolences may be sent to the family at www.merenessputnamfuneralhome.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Red Cross, Post Office Box 37295, Washington, D.C. 20013.

P. David Smith

BERNE — P. David Smith was a man of strong faith. He loved sports, the outdoors, and his family.

He died at his home on Sunday, May 2, 2010, after a long illness. He was 59.

“He was really my rock,” said his wife of 37 years, Peggy Smith. “He was always there for me, always supportive, always solid.”

Mr. Smith was born on Sept. 18, 1950, in North Hornell, N.Y., son of the late Paul and Beatrice Smith.

His wife remembers him as calm, fair, and loyal.

“He was a wonderful father, and a wonderful husband,” she said. “He was sick for eight years, never complained, never whined. I never heard anyone say anything unkind about him.”

Mr. Smith graduated from Canisteo Central School, and, in 1972, he graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in civil engineering. He was a lifelong Syracuse Orange fan thereafter.

“He loved Syracuse basketball and football,” Mrs. Smith said, “although that was often a source of frustration,” she laughed. He also loved to play tennis and golf.

The family used to go camping in Assateague Island in Maryland, Cape Cod, Cape Anne, and the Adirondacks. They also traveled to England and Scotland to visit his wife’s relatives.

“He enjoyed his years with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and his years with the Little League when our sons were little,” his wife said. Mr. Smith was a Boy Scout merit-badge counselor, and also a Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League coach.

Mr. Smith was also a member of Berne’s board of assessment review.

He worked for the New York State Department of Transportation from 1973 to 1976, after which he went to work for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, retiring in 2007 as director of the department’s Division of Environmental Remediation.

He was also a religious man, at one point serving on the finance committee at the Albany Synod Reformed Church, and he served as en elder in the Berne Reformed Church.

But, before he wore these many hats, he met the love of his life.

“We met at a high school basketball game, when I was a freshman and he was a senior,” his wife said. “We started dating in 1968, and we’ve been together ever since.”

The two were married on June 9, 1973. They had two sons, the first in 1984, and the second in 1988.

Ms. Smith concluded, “I think he’d like to be remembered as a good husband, a good father, and a good friend.”


Mr. Smith is survived by his wife of 37 years, Peggy Smith, and his sons, Colin D. Smith of Boston, and Ian R. Smith of Berne.

He is also survived by his sisters: Kristine Micglire and her husband, Michael, of Leesburg, Fla.; Diane DeWitte and her husband, Tony, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; and Susan Sanfilippo and her husband, James, of Gainesville, Ga.

He is survived, too, by several nieces and a nephew.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 7, at the Berne Reformed Church. Friends may call today, Thursday, May 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Interment will take place at a future date in Mr. Smith’s hometown of Canisteo, N.Y., in the Hillside Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Berne Reformed Church, 1664 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023, or to the Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate and Urological Cancer, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Post Office Box 27106, New York, NY 10087.

— Zach Simeone 

Burial Notice – Alberta B. Wright

BERNE — Alberta B. Wright, a math teacher and mother who was active in the Berne library and historical society and at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, died on March 13, 2010. She was 97.

A burial will be held on May 8, 2010 at Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne. 

Burial Notice — Mildred Motschmann

BERNE — Mildren Motschmann, a poet, a gardener, and a seamstress who knew local history and loved baseball, died on Jan. 20, 2010. She was 88.

A burial will be held on May 8, 2010 at 1 p.m. at Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne.

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