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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 3, 2011

John Adams

ALTAMONT — John Adams, a state worker and a Marine, died on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. He was 71.

He was born on Jan. 16, 1940 in New York, N.Y.

He served in the United State Marine Corps from 1960 to 1964. He was a life member of the Altamont Veterans of Foreign Wars Boyd Hilton Post 7062.

He worked for two New York State agencies — the Office of General Services and the Department of Transportation.

He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Shirley Adams; his stepson, Robert Waits, and his wife, Debra, and their children, Mark and Kyle.

Friends may call Saturday, Feb. 5, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society Post Office Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718. 

Raymond F. Britton

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

WESTERLO — Raymond F. Britton looked out for his family and his town.

As the supervisor of Westerlo in the 1960s, he was instrumental is establishing the town park.

“He was always trying to help,” said his daughter, Elaine Nevins.

Mr. Britton died on Monday, Jan. 31, 2011, at the age of 80.

He was born on Aug. 9, 1930, the son of the late Frank E. and Dorothy (Irish) Britton, and raised in Westerlo. “Our parents were married in 1929; those were bad times,” said Raymond Britton’s younger brother, Donald. Their father had a vegetable route and, when times got better, went back to farming.

Raymond went to a one-room schoolhouse in Dormansville, Donald Britton said, and then, in his middle-school years, moved on to the Greenville Central School, in the class of 1949. He liked studying agriculture, his brother said, and was a member of Future Farmers of America.

Their father was a Democratic committeeman in Westerlo, and Raymond Britton followed in his footsteps. He became town clerk and later supervisor for Westerlo.

His proudest accomplishment as supervisor was having the town purchase 65 acres from the Goodfellow family farm, land that would become the town park, his brother said.

“It’s always been a very popular park,” said his brother. “Ray went to a lot of social events there through the years.”

Family man

After graduating from high school, Mr. Britton worked as a dairy farmer. He met Jean F. Lasher, the woman who would become his wife, at a square dance at the ranch on the Letter S, his daughter said. “My mother said they went dancing every Saturday night until they got married,” said Mrs. Nevins.

The couple married in October of 1958, a union of 52 years that ended only with Mr. Britton’s death.

“My father was very loving, and always looked out for me,” said Mrs. Nevins.

One of his passions was camping. He was a member of the Helderberg Hilltoppers Camping Club, which was part of the National Campers and Hikers Association. His daughter remembers “camping all over” with the club, and has especially vivid memories of a national camp-out in Bloomsburg, Pa., where association members were asked to spend two-dollar bills so people in the community would be aware of how much money the campers had brought in.

In later years, Mr. Britton and his wife spent winters in their camper in Florida.

“My father was a big family person,” said Mrs. Nevins. “That’s why he liked camping. We could do it together. He liked getting away, with no phone, just family time. Anything we could do together, even peeling a potato, was fun.”

Mr. Britton also liked to fish. “We didn’t buy our night crawlers,” said Mrs. Nevins. She recalled fondly how she and her father would go out with a flashlight on rainy spring nights and pick up enough night crawlers to last all summer.

“Always energetic”

Mr. Britton was ill in the early 1960s — “the virus went into his heart,” said his daughter — so he had to give up farming. “He sold the farm,” she said.

Mr. Britton, who, as a farmer, had worked other jobs, such as part-time at the original Bryant’s Market in South Westerlo, continued with a variety of work over the years.

“He was constantly on the move, always energetic,” said his son-in-law, Thomas Nevins.

Mr. Britton was a member of the Democratic Social Club and, in addition to serving as town clerk and later as supervisor, he was a member of the Albany County Board of Supervisors. He worked briefly for the Albany City Water Board, and later became director of operations for the Albany County Department of Public Works, a post he held until his retirement.

A religious man, Mr. Britton was at one time a deacon at the Westerlo Reformed Church, and, in later years, he became a trustee of the South Berne Congregational Church, where he helped plan and build the church hall.

Mr. Britton’s daughter and son-in-law live now in the house that had once belonged to Mr. Britton’s father. “We refinished the house,” said Mr. Nevins, describing the laborious process. “He helped us a lot — staining all the new trim for us.”

Mr. Britton also liked woodworking, his brother said, and he refinished and sold antiques.

“He was very gregarious. He liked people,” concluded his brother. “Ray was a good citizen.”


Raymond F. Britton is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jean; his daughter, Elaine J. Nevins and his son-in-law, Thomas R. Nevins; his brother, Donald Britton; his grandson, Steven Thomas Nevins; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

His parents died before him as did his sister, Elaine M. Britton in March of 1942.

Calling hours will be Saturday, Feb. 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home at 4898 Route 81 in Greenville, followed by a Christian service at 1 p.m. with Rev. James C. Mullooly officiating. Spring burial will be in Westerlo Central Cemetery. Mourners may leave messages at ajcunninghamfh.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to South Berne Congregational Christian Church, 101 Church Road, Berne, NY 12023.

Rita E. Donato

ALTAMONT — Rita E. Donato died on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011, at St. Peter’s Hospice, after a brief illness.

She was born on Aug. 9, 1947, to Domenica and Herman Graffunder.

She is survived by her husband of 33 years Bill Donato; two daughters Rohnda Doherty, and her husband, Dave, and Rebecca Snyder, and her husband, Garry; seven grandchildren, Isabella and Alizajane Doherty, Leighann Gage, and her husband, James, Steven, Stephanie, Valerie, and Caroline Snyder; two great-grandchildren, Cassidy and Tyler Gage; a sister and three brothers; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Her grandson Derrick Joseph Snyder died before her.

A memorial service was held on Jan. 29, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Altamont. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190-5362.

Theresa Ertel

SLINGERLANDS — A long-time worker for the state’s Department of Tax and Finace, Theresa Ertel enjoyed her family and loved to travel to far-flung places.

She died on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, at her Slingerlands home surrounded by her loving family. She was 85.

“Her loving constant presence in her family’s lives will be profoundly missed,” her family wrote in a tribute.” She leaves us with lessons in endurance, strength, patience, generosity and fun.”

She was born on Sept. 14, 1925 in Norwich, N.Y. to the late Margaret Mary and Stanley Redfield. She was a resident of Slingerlands for the last 62 years and worked for the Department of Tax and Finance for many years until her retirement in 1990. Also known as “Terry,” she still maintained friendships with several of her co-workers.

She enjoyed many winter trips to Sebring, Fla. with her husband of 59 years, George Lambert Ertel, who died in 2002. More recently, she traveled with her daughters to Ormond Beach, Fla.

“Her love of travel also took her to Arizona, Germany, and Ireland,” her family wrote. “She enjoyed her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and family gatherings, and found pleasure in parties, shopping and reading.”

She is survived by her four daughters: Kathleen Zelker and her husband, Robert, of Malta, Donna DeMarco and her husband, Paul, of Rotterdam, Margaret Jackson of West, Va. and Georgianna Oddy and her husband, Robert of Voorheesville. She was the beloved and admired grandmother of Kelly and Sgt. Shane Zelker, Kari Holliday, Shannon D’Ambrosio, Stacey Mallow, and Jodi Oddy. Her great-grandchildren also had the pleasure of having “Gigi” in their lives: Shauna and Zachary Zelker, Haley and Ava Holliday, Megan and Austin D’Ambrosio, Robby Jackson, Melissa Shirley, Alandra Oddy, and Janaye Gray.

Her sister Marion Adams, died before her as did her brother, Earl Redfield and beloved grandson, Bobby Oddy, Jr.

Mrs. Ertel’s family thanks Hospice caregivers Becky, Trish, Penny, and Jennifer, and appreciates Dr. Daniel Aernos and his staff for many years of thoughtful care.

Funeral services were held Tuesday, Feb. 1, from New Comer Cannon Funeral Home in Colonie then to the Parish of Mater Christi, Hopewell St. Albany, where a Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated. Interment will be in Our Lady of Help Christians Cemetery, Glenmont.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. To leave a special message for the family online, visit www.NewcomerAlbany.com.

Mildred E. McCartney

VOORHEESVILLE — Mildred E. (Black) McCartney, a community-minded woman and a resident of Voorheesville since 1942, died Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 at St. Peter’s Hospital. She was 90.

Born on May 19, 1920 in Faust (Tupper Lake Junction), N.Y. she was the daughter of the late James and Bessie (Chapman) Black.

Her husband, David McCartney, died before he as did her grandson, David Olley; brother, James Black; and sisters, Anne Ketcham and Sarah McCabe.

She was a longtime member of the Voorheesville Methodist Church; Order of the Eastern Star, Chapter 331, Altamont; and the Voorheesville Fire Auxiliary.

She is survived by two daughters, Sally Olley of Angus, Ontario, Canada, and Holly Gorenbergh of Wilton, Conn.; two sons, Thomas McCartney of Schenectady and Robert McCartney of Selkirk; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held Sunday, Jan. 30, at the ApplebeeFuneral Home. Burial will be in Memory Gardens Cemetery in the spring.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Voorheesville Area Ambulance Service, 21 Voorheesville Ave., Voorheesville, NY 12186.

Pauline Agatha Quay

KNOX — A woman of few words, Pauline Agatha Quay let her actions — working to support her children, sewing clothes for her grandchildren — show her love.

“My mother was the type of person that was giving,” said Robert Quay.

She died on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011, at the age of 90.

Mrs. Quay was born on Sept. 28, 1920 to the late William and Luella Sand, who had a farm in Knox where they raised their five children. It was not an easy life. “My mother told me many a time, they used to have to sell a cow just to have Christmas,” said her son.

She married Willis Quay, and their son recalls hearing stories about how his father would get up at five o’clock in the morning and find his mother sitting at the old coal stove. “I can’t sleep,” she’d say.

“My mother would be up by five in the morning and she’d work till 10 at night,” said Robert Quay.

Willis Quay died young, leaving his wife with a daughter, Luella, and a baby son. Mrs. Quay supported her children by working a variety of jobs — working at the Altamont Manor and doing laundry and washing dishes at the Guilderland Center Nursing Home.

“She worked hard to put me and my sister in clothes, to put food on our table, and to keep a roof over our heads,” said Mr. Quay.

Mrs. Quay was also a seamstress, making clothes not just for her own children and later grandchildren, but for other relatives as well. “She kept my daughter in dresses when she was a little girl,” said Mrs. Quay’s niece, Wanda Gardner.

Mrs. Quay liked to bake, too. Cry babies— drop cookies made of molasses and sour milk — were a specialty of hers.

“She drove a car,” said her son, “and we went to the State Fair in Syracuse and the Big E,” an exposition in Springfield, Mass. He particularly remembered a trip to the Big E in the 1970s “so I could see Tony Orlando and Dawn.”

Mrs. Quay drove “a ‘56 Chevy you could beat in the ground,’ said her son; his uncle, Ted Quay, kept it running.

A Yankees’ fan, she often went to see her team play at Yankee Stadium and once drove to Boston to see the Yankees battle their archenemy, the Red Sox.

“She loved to eat out,” said her son, “not at these buffets they have nowadays. She liked to be served.”

In her later years, Mrs. Quay enjoyed the Guilderland Seniors and met with the group every Tuesday.

She enjoyed taking bus tours with her sister Sarah Esther Powell. Together, they traveled to Washington, D.C.; to Florida; and to New York City for the World’s Fair in the 1960s.

Her granddaughter, Susan Petrosino, said it was hard to picture Mrs. Quay traveling although she’d seen the evidence. “I’ve seen her souvenirs from all over,” she said.

Mrs. Quay cared deeply about her home in Altamont and, for the last four years, her son looked after her so she could stay there rather than having to go to a nursing home.

“She was a woman of few words,” said her granddaughter.

“She was a private person,” agreed Mr. Quay, “but she opened up on everything to me.”

Taking care of her could be a challenge, he said. “When she got in a spunky streak, she was something,” he said with a grin. “She liked her dishes caught up. She wanted the bed made and the house clean. She was very strict.”


Pauline Agatha (Sand) Quay is survived by her son, Robert Quay; by her granddaughter, Susan Petrosino, and her husband, Joseph, and their children, Jonathan and Rachel Petrosino; and by her grandson, Jeffrey Seger, and his wife, Kristin, and their children, Jacob and Ashley Seger.

She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Her husband, Willis Quay, died before her, as did her daughter, Luella Kellerman, and her four siblings — Idabell Sturgess, Sarah Esther Powell, Carl Sand, and Frank Sand.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 10:30 a.m. at the Altamont Reformed Church, at 129 Lincoln Avenue.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Altamont Reformed Church, 129 Lincoln Ave., Altamont, NY 12009.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer 

Irene D. Short

KNOX — A hardworking woman who cared for her family, Irene D. Short died on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, at her Knox home after a brief illness. She was 92.

“She was the one that was there for us all the time when we were kids,” said her grandson, Karl Pritchard.

Mrs. Short was born on July 13, 1918 in Rutland, Vt., the daughter of the late Wilfred J. Berg and Flora Lethbridge Berg. One of 14 children, she was the fourth oldest. She lost three brothers in World War II; only her youngest brother survives.

Mrs. Short had two children of her own — a daughter, Mary, and a son, James, both now deceased.

“My father left when we were young. My mother had to support five kids…working as a waitress,” said Mr. Pritchard. “We wouldn’t have had Christmas and birthdays as kids if it weren’t for her,” he said of his grandmother.

Mrs. Short worked hard, employed over the years at Montgomery Ward in the mail-order department; at Shafer Brewing Company; and at Matthew Bender, cleaning.

In her spare time, she enjoyed bowling and following baseball. She also liked to crochet.

“She was very hardworking,” concluded her grandson.

Irene D. Short is survived by her brother, Verdi Berg, of Corinth, N.Y., and by her grandchildren — Karl Pritchard and his wife, Rose, Sharon Trendell, Marty Shafer, Bruce Pritchard, Connie Short, Virginia Stewart and her husband, Daniel, and James Short.

She is also survived by many nieces, nephews, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Her children, Mary E. Pritchard and James Short, died before her as did her grandson Brian Pritchard.

Calling hours will be held at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont today, Feb. 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 6 p.m. with Rev. Jay Francis officiating. Interment will be in the spring.

Melissa Hale-Spencer

Catherine Vinehout

KNOX — Catherine V. Vinehout, a retired state worker, was always family oriented.

Mrs. Vinehout died on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn surrounded by her family and those who loved her. She was 67.

Born on March 30, 1943 in Rockaway, N.Y., Mrs. Vinehout was the daughter of the late Harold and Mary Briggs; she was the oldest of eight children.

“She was into doing things for her grandchildren and doing things with her sisters as a group,” said her son, Charles Vinehout.

“Every year, they would plan a sister vacation,” he went on. “They’d go for a week, and they would use each other’s timeshares to go to different places. They’ve done everything from whitewater rafting and tubing to casinos down in Atlantic City.”

And Mrs. Vinehout took plenty of trips with the rest of the family.

“I’d take my family and my parents down to Florida,” her son said. “We took my father, his first time to Disney and he was almost 79 years old when he went there. He loved it. She loved the warm weather. She hated the cold.”

Mrs. Vinehout retired two years ago from a 20-year career working in Social Security disability.

She was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Altamont.

“She liked to get out and socialize with the community in her retirement,” her son said.


Catherine is survived by her son, Charles J. Vinehout and his wife, Anita; two grandchildren: Devin and Meghan Vinehout; five sisters: Mary Hubbard, Ann Stackrow, Ellen Miller, Nora Hempstead, and Elizabeth Lewis; and two brothers: Thomas Briggs and Harold Briggs.

Her husband, Harry Vinehout, and her daughter, Julie Vinehout, died before her.

A Memorial Mass was held on Monday, Jan. 31, 2011, at St Lucy’s/St. Bernadette’s Roman Catholic Church in Altamont. There will be a spring burial in Knox Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Peter’s Hospice Inn at 315 South Manning Blvd., Albany, N.Y. 12208.

— Zach Simeone

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