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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 9, 2010

Anna Mae (Cross) Garrett

A performer her whole life, Anna Mae Garrett raised her children, and worked as a billing clerk and a nurse.

“She was a person who was always happy, always busy, always wanting to be that performer,” said her brother, Gerald M. Cross. “She just had that air about her. She had that dream of being on stage. Life was a stage for her.”

She died on Aug. 25, 2010 due to injuries sustained in a car accident, driving to work in Ashland, Tenn. where she lived. She was 68.

Mrs. Garrett was born in Berne on Oct. 23, 1941, the daughter of the late Arthur and Evelyn Porter Cross. She grew up in Berne, graduating from Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School in 1959.

She was the youngest of four children. “She was truly the baby…Everybody spoiled her,” said her brother. “Nobody resented it. She was a cute thing. Everybody fussed over her.”

He also said, “She liked to sing and perform in high-school plays. She was a very popular girl in school with her classmates.”

This rhyme accompanies her high-school yearbook picture: “Active in dramatics, / Active in debates, / Anna Mae’s friendship / Years can’t abate.”

Her high school activities included singing in the glee club and choir, performing in the school operetta and dramatics, and being in 4-H and the Girls’ Athletic Association as well as being the cheerleading manager and class vice president.

“We all grew up with music,” said her brother. “My dad used to call square dances.”

After high school, Mrs. Garrett attended comptometer school, where she learned to use the high-speed mechanical calculator, and went to work for the A & P Tea Company as a billing clerk. When she was in her 50s, she went back to school to become a licensed practical nurse.

“She had done some home care and liked that,” said Mr. Cross, “so she took the required courses and passed the test to become an LPN.”

Her husband, Paul Garrett, had been paralyzed in an industrial accident, said Mr. Cross. “That prompted her to work more at her age,” he said. Mr. Garrett died a year ago.

Mrs. Garrett loved her work as a nurse and liked to brag about tending to music celebrities in the hospital where she worked near Nashville, said Mr. Cross; her patients included the late Chet Atkins and Minnie Pearl.

“She loved everybody, but most of all her family and her pets,” said her brother.

Mrs. Garrett was devoted to her three dogs and three cats, her brother said. When the Nashville area flooded this past spring, he said, the water rose to the floor of her trailer. “Her grandson came with a boat for her and said, ‘C’mon, Gram.’ She would not leave her animals,” said Mr. Cross. “She stayed…Fortunately, the water receded.”

Mrs. Garrett was also devoted to her children and grandchildren. “She was poor as a church mouse. But, whenever they needed something,” said Mr. Cross, “she’d make sure they got it.”


Anna Mae (Cross) Garrett is survived by her daughter, Virginia Rockwell, and her husband, Kent; her sons, Robert K. Atkins and his wife, Laura, and Gregory Atkins; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by her sister, Lois M. Dittmar, and her brother, Gerald M. Cross, and his wife, Barbara.

Her husband, Paul Garrett, died before her as did her brother, Garland M. Cross.

A memorial service was held in Ashland City, Tenn., at the Cheatem County Funeral Home on Aug. 27.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer 

J. Robert Lansing

By Saranac Hale Spencer

RENSSELAEVILLE — Bob Lansing was a man who centered on his family and extended it to include the town that raised him.

His mother died when he was 11, his children said, and the community took care of him. He had an allegiance to it.

Mr. Lansing expressed his loyalty by serving for decades in almost every civic organization in Rensselaerville. He died on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany. He was 84.

“The whole community was his family,” his son, Douglas Lansing, said.

“He watched out for the town,” said Myra Dorman, a close political ally of his when they served on a bitterly divided town board. “His goal was fairness for everybody [and] honesty in politics,” she said.

Regardless of what he did in town government, Mrs. Dorman concluded, “Family came first. That was it.” She added, “His children learned a lot from him and kind of followed in his shoe steps.”

After graduating from Greenville Central High School in 1942 at the age of 16, Mr. Lansing wanted to join the Army and went north with a friend to Canada, where the military took young recruits. He was turned around and told to wait, Douglas Lansing said. For the next two years, he worked at Hale’s Garage until, in 1944, he could join the United States Army Air Corps, where he hoped to be a pilot.

The Army had too many pilots and the closest he could get was to be a tail-gunner on a 13-29, which was one of the most dangerous posts, said his daughter Sharon Marillo. “He was willing to do anything,” she said, so he took the assignment and was stationed in Italy in the midst of World War II.

When he came home, he and his brother-in-law bought a farm out near Canajoharie. “The story goes that my mother came with the farm,” said their daughter Donna Kropp.

The couple went on their first date to the Fonda Fair in September of 1948 and they were married in March of 1949.

For the first 10 years of their marriage, they moved several times, ending up back in Rensselaerville. Mr. Lansing was always busy with commitments to various organizations and Republican politics, but he never missed his children’s school events.

Donna Kropp remembered her constant nerves backstage during the 4-H dress reviews, and said, “He was the first person I saw when I walked out.”

“He was firm, but he was always supportive,” said Douglas Lansing. “Family always did come first.”

The most intense moments are often the most revealing, said former town supervisor Jost Nickelsberg, who worked with Mr. Lansing on reforming town government in the midst of turbulent politics. “There were certain points of pressure, that you got to see what he was about,” Mr. Nickelsberg said. “He always came up very strong inside.”

During heated emotional displays from political opponents, “Bob just stood his ground,” Mr. Nickelsberg said. “He was just steady.”

Mr. Lansing was not just a political ally, but was also indispensable for his experience with accounting and budgets, Mr. Nickelsberg said. “He helped me. He taught me… He’s a really good teacher,” he said.

For 22 years, Mr. Lansing was the business manager for the Greenville Central School District. The question he would invariably ask when faced with changes, Sharon Marillo said, was, “Is it best for the kids?”

After he retired from the school district, he and his wife, Edith Lansing, who had run the Village Market early in their marriage, bought Bell’s Hotel in the heart of the Rensselaerville hamlet. Each Thanksgiving, they hosted 35 to 50 family members for a sit-down dinner — they’ve done it for the last 30 years, since Mr. Lansing’s sister, Helen, died. It is an annual testament to the importance of family.

“The most important part was my mother,” said Mrs. Marillo. They were “always together. Always each other’s support.”

Each night when he got home from work, Mrs. Marillo said, her father’s first words were, “‘Where’s your mother?’ Cause he wanted to kiss her.” His last words were the same.


J. Robert Lansing is survived by his wife of 61 years, Edith (Saltsman) Lansing, and his children: Diane Lukonis and her husband, William, of Meriden, Conn.; Donna Kropp and her husband, Thomas, of Rensselaerville; Sharon Marillo and her husband, James, of Buffalo; and Douglas Lansing and his wife, Veronika, of Rensselaerville. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Neil, Wayne, Tyler Lukonis; Jeremey, Jaclyn Kropp; Nicholas Lansing, James Jr, Gary Marillo; and Judith Russell, as well as several nieces, nephews, and great grandchildren.

His grandson, Thomas Marillo, died before him.

Mr. Lansing is also survived by the community organizations that were like his extended family. He spent 52 years with the fire department, 25 years on the ambulance squad, 59 years with the American Legion Clark White Post, 50 years with the Hiawatha Grange, and served on the board of directors for the Cornell Cooperative Extension, as the president of the Rensselaerville Historical Society, and as a trustee of the Rensselaerville library.

He also served the town as a judge for five years, its supervisor for 10 years, and a councilman for four years, and was the driving force behind the creation of the Rensselaerville Volunteer Ambulance Company and the construction of the Rensselaerville town building.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m. at the A. J. Cunningham Funeral Home at 4898 Route 81 in Greenville. Calling hours will be on Sept. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will be in the Rensselaerville cemetery.

Ruth M. Lorette

KNOX — Ruth M. Lorette was a caring mother who kept her family together, and she loved casinos.

“My mom had a pretty positive personality,” said Mrs. Lorette’s youngest daughter, Karen Germain. “Not a lot riled her. You spill milk; you wipe it up. She’d rather have spent her money having fun, because you can’t take anything with you.”

She died on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, at the Guilderland Center Nursing Home with her daughters by her side. She was 85.

Mrs. Lorette was born on March 23, 1925, in Sangate, Vt., the daughter of the late Harvey and Margaret Wheeler.

One of Mrs. Lorette’s favorite things to do was to be with her grandchildren.

“I’m the baby of five, by a lot of years,” her daughter said. “So, my three kids were her youngest grandkids. She loved to come see them play baseball, basketball, football; as long as her grandkids were playing, she was there.”

Mrs. Lorette also loved reading, and watching golf on TV.

Her daughter, Mrs. Germain, now lives with her family in the house in which Mrs. Lorette raised her and her siblings.

“My house was her home,” said Mrs. Germain. “She moved home to help me with my first kid, and she ended up staying for 10 years…I never moved; I’ve lived there for 42 years.”

Mrs. Lorette also liked feeling useful, her daughter went on.

“She didn’t want to sit there and waste away,” her daughter said. “She wanted somebody to need her.”

She was proud of her Native American heritage, her daughter said. She was also a member of ladies’ auxiliaries of the Altamont Veterans of Foreign Wars post and the American Legion.

“She’s the last of her generation in our family,” her daughter concluded. “So, it’s tough.”


Mrs. Lorette is survived by her five children: Carolyn Stone and her husband, Eugene Sr.; James G. Lorette and his wife, Barbara; Donna M. Lorette; Cheryl R. Daguillo; Karen A. Germain and her husband, Kevin Sr.

She is also survived by many loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Her husband, James G. Lorette Sr., and her son-in-law, Jerry Daguillo Sr., died before her.

A Graveside service was held on Monday, Sept. 6, 2010, in Knox Cemetery.

Friends called on Sunday, Sept. 5, at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

— Zach Simeone

Memorial contributions may be made to the Rensselaerville Volunteer Fire Department or the Rensselaerville Ambulance. Memorial messages may be left at www.ajcunninghamfh.com. 

Richard H. Rue

KNOX — Richard H. Rue, a former county highway worker, loved camping and fishing.

He died on Monday, Sept. 6, 2010, after an accident at his family’s camp in Roseboom, N.Y. He was 51.

His wife of 29 years, Connie Rue, remembers him as being very “laid back,” she said.

In addition to camping and fishing, Rue enjoyed traveling.

“We took a couple cruises to the Caribbean,” his wife said. “We’ve been to Cancun, and we liked Virginia.”

Sometimes they went with family; other times, just the two of them went. And they went to their camp in Roseboom every weekend for the past four years, Mrs. Rue said.

Mr. Rue was born on Oct. 11, 1958, in Schenectady, the son of Shirley Pendergast and the late Jack Rue.

A lifelong Hilltown resident, Mr. Rue graduated from Berne-Knox-Westerlo High School in 1976.

He later worked for the Albany County Department of Public Works in Knox.

“He was an equipment operator,” said Mrs. Rue. “He plowed the snow, did all kinds of road maintenance the rest of the year.”

Mr. Rue met his wife in 1978, when they were both working at the now-closed Grand Union in Stuyvesant Plaza, Mrs. Rue said. They were married on Aug. 1, 1981.

“He was very proud to see both his children starting out on their independent lives,” said Mrs. Rue of her husband. “They moved out, and he’s very proud of how well they’re doing on their own.”


In addition to his wife, Mr. Rue is survived by his son, Jeremy Rue, and his fiancée Leigha Hillmann; and his daughter, Kathy Rue.

He is also survived by his four brothers, Russell, Robert, Roger, and Ronald Rue, and their families.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept.10, at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont, followed by an interment in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Guilderland.

Friends may call today, Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to any charity.

— Zach Simeone 

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