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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, May 5, 2011

Christina Lynn LaPosta

Christina Lynn (née Fox) Kolanchick Hyserman LaPosta of Troy died unexpectedly on Friday, April 29, 2011.
She was 46.

“Chrissy’s greatest joy were her grandchildren,” her family wrote in a tribute. “She will be greatly missed by all.”

She is survived by her husband, Randy LaPosta, of Petersburg, N.Y.; by her children, Joseph Kolanchick, of East Berne, Brian Hyserman Jr. and Gina Welling of Troy, and Katelynn Hyserman of Selkirk; and by her grandchildren, Nakya Kolanchick and Leah and Ryan Welling.

She is also survived by her mother, Carol King, of Morganton, N. C.; and by her sisters, Cathy Loucks and her husband, Robert, of Westerlo, Cindy Scheuer and her husband, Thomas, of Delanson, Caren Galusha and her husband, Michael, of Berne, and Carla Jones of Morganton, N. C.; and by many cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Her father, Frank E. Fox, died before her.

Burial will take place at the Knox Cemetery in Knox.

Memorial contributions may be made to Unity House of Troy, 33 Second Street, Troy, NY 12180, or online at unityhouseny.org.

Mary Geier Smith

EAST BERNE — Mary Geier Smith was a healer. She cared for others in her career as a nurse, and throughout her life she looked after family and friends.

“She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known…It was all about everyone else,” said her son-in-law Joel Willsey.
She died, surrounded by her devoted family, on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, at St. Peter’s Hospital after a brief illness. She was 82.

Mrs. Smith was born in Albany on May 16, 1928, the daughter of the late Edgar and Julia Mahoney Geier.
“She lost her father when she was 16,” said Mr. Willsey. “and her husband lost his father at around the same age. Both families had camps at Warner’s Lake. That’s how they met.”

“Dad and Mom would have been married 60 years in November,” wrote their daughter, Patty Smith-Willsey in a eulogy. “They depended and looked out for each other. Mom and Dad had a unique relationship and deep down they were extremely devoted to each other. They worried about each other and knew each other’s thoughts. Dad’s pet name for her was ‘Jesus Christ Mary’ — a phrase that was repeated throughout their lives together.”

The Smiths lived in Albany until 1973, when they moved to Warner’s Lake.

A good student, Mrs. Smith was an honors graduate of Cathedral Academy

“She told a story about how she finished a Regents exam in record time, but then the principal wouldn’t let her leave, and handed her a business math Regents to take. Without ever taking the class, she scored a 98,” her daughter recounted in the eulogy. “She went on to St. Peter’s School of Nursing and then started her career there, eventually retiring from The College of Saint Rose as the director of the Health Services. In 1977, she graduated with me from The College of Saint Rose with her bachelor’s degree.”

She also worked as a volunteer with the Helderberg Ambulance Squad. After retirement, Mrs. Smith worked as a volunteer at Berne-Knox-Westerlo schools as a nurse and also was a member of the Berne Democratic Social Club.
“She worked relentlessly her entire life — flat out,” said Mr. Willsey.

On the home front, she was just as dedicated. “She’s taken care of generations,” said Mr. Willsey.

Mrs. Smith and her husband raised four children — Michael, Patty, Richard, and Lisa.

“Mom chose a career as a nurse, and thank God she did,” said Mrs. Smith-Willsey in the eulogy. “We kept her and Dad busy with our trips to the hospitals for Michael with diphtheria, me with my surgeries, accident-prone Richard with his asthma and rheumatic fever, and with Lisa ending up in a hospital in Pennsylvania with an infection. Hospital life was routine for all us. We all understood Mom took care of people.”

Mrs. Smith-Willsey as a child had to endure a series of surgeries because of birth defects. “Mom used to hold my hand each time I had surgery, until I went to sleep,” she wrote. “One time, the doctors tried to take me earlier, but my Mom and Dad weren’t there and I wouldn’t let go of the bed… Just before they put the mask on me, I looked up and Mom had made it in time. Mom always had the time to hold anyone’s hand. It seemed she was always there for everyone.”
After raising her own children, Mrs. Smith helped to raise her son Michael’s children after his wife, Debbie Hughes Smith, died of cancer.

“When she died, the kids were 9, 8, 7, and 6,” wrote Mrs. Smith-Willsey. “Mom and Dad stepped in to help Mike raise the kids. After Mike went to work each day, they went down to make sure the kids were up and ready for school and had breakfast and each night they came to Mom’s for dinner….Mom attended all the band concerts for 12 years straight, starting with Michael and ending with Dylan. When Maura came along, she went to those as well….Mom provided guidance and advice to all the kids and they all went to her with their problems. They knew Mom loved them and would always be there for them and she always was.”

“Basically, she was a mother twice. She did a wonderful job with them,” said Mr. Willsey. “My three kids would spend the summer there, too…As far as she was concerned, the more the merrier.”

Life at the Smiths’ on Jones Lane at Warner’s Lake was idyllic. “All of our kids, at age 4, could jump off the dock and swim well.”

Mrs. Smith made sure they were safe and happy. “She was like a mom to everybody,” said Mr. Willsey. “That’s the reason the kids were so close. They looked to her for advice…My daughter talked to her every day.”
“Mary was adored by generations as a daughter, sister, sister in-law, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend,” her family wrote in a tribute. “Mary’s advice was routinely sought and respected by everyone in her immediate and extended family. She deeply touched everyone in her life and her values will be reflected in the family for years to come.”

One of the things she valued was education. “She took education very seriously and impressed on all of us to have careers that we loved,” wrote Mrs. Smith-Willsey. “She felt we should find what we wanted to do and plan a career around that.”

Mrs. Smith remained in control of her own destiny right up to the very end of her life. “Mom made all the decisions during her hospitalization,” wrote her daughter, “even signing her own DNR [Do Not Resuscitate] orders and refusing all antibiotics — she decided when enough was enough.”

“She had a huge circle of friends,” said Mr. Willsey. “The funeral home was mobbed on Sunday.” And, after the burial, mourners packed the Maple Inn in East Berne, a place where Mrs. Smith had regularly dined.
“It was the biggest funeral I ever saw,” said Mr. Willsey. “It was a real tribute to her….She touched a lot of lives.”


Mary Geier Smith is survived by her husband of 59 years, Norman Smith; and her children, Michael Smith of East Berne, Patty Willsey and her husband, Joel, of East Berne, Richard Smith and his wife, Cindy, of Colonie, and Lisa Cavanaugh and her husband, Brian, of Latham.

She is also survived by her grandchildren, Michael, Jennifer, Christopher and his wife, Amanda, and Ryan and his wife, Nancy Smith; Caitlin, Graham, and Dylan Willsey; Justin and his wife, Danielle, Crosier; Maura Cavanaugh; and Michael, Mark, and Daniel McCullough.

She is survived, too, by her three great-grandsons, Clay, Finn, and Iain. She is also survived by her best friends, her sister, Irene Kirby; and sister-in-law, Janet Basile; brothers-in-law Robert Smith and his wife, Edna, and Joseph Basile, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Her sister Jean Komas died before her as did her daughter-in-law Debbie Hughes Smith.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Monday, May 2, at St. Lucy/St. Bernadette’s Roman Catholic Church in Altamont, where Mrs. Smith was a communicant, followed by a burial in Woodlawn Cemetery in Berne. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to Helderberg Ambulance, Post Office Box 54, East Berne, NY 12059.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

Patricia E. Genovesi

SLINGERLANDS — Patricia E. Genovesi, the center of her family’s orbit, died on April 28, 2011 at the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital. She was 72.

Born in Voorheesville on Feb. 26, 1939, she was the daughter of the late Donald and Emily Flansburg. She grew up with her cousins and was as close to them as if they were siblings, her family wrote in a tribute.

Mrs. Genovesi was a dedicated and loving mother who later became a very involved grandmother, called Mimi.

“Mimi would put her life on hold to help out one of us grandchildren any time of day,” her family wrote. “By the time we all reached elementary school, Mimi was an expert costume maker after agreeing to our ever-changing requests to be scarecrows, mice, genies, a princess, and anything else we came up with.”

Always supportive, Mrs. Genovesi was also “one to strongly voice her opinions about our lives and did not hesitate to give advice and guidance when she deemed necessary,” her family wrote. “Her honesty, spunk, and wisdom will be greatly missed.”

Mrs. Genovesi crocheted and did needlepoint and tended to her gardens. “She was known to borrow seeds or flowers that she admired from other gardens that would seem to magically appear in pots on her windows,” her family wrote.

She created the gathering place for her family. “Pat’s Sunday dinners and holiday meals were always a place for unforgettable food, joking conversation and hours of laughter,” her family wrote. “Those lucky enough to be invited into her kitchen were welcomed with her loving hellos and open arms and left with a full stomach. She was known to cook beside her trusty side kick, Dozer, a chunky black lab with a personality almost as big as Pat’s.”


Mrs. Genovesi is survived by her husband, Joseph V. Genovesi, and their children, Kimberly Ten Eyck and her husband, Peter, of Altamont and Jeffrey Genovesi and his wife, Jacqueline, of Altamont. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Salvatore and Carmella Genovesi and Emily, Morgan, and Taylor Ten Eyck, as well as her brother, Reginald Flansburg, and his wife, Sheila, of Altamont.

A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday at Calvary Cemetery, 481 Route 9W, Glenmont with arrangements by the Applebee Funeral Home in Delmar. There will be no calling hours.

Memorial contributions may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

William Hotaling

VOORHEESVILLE — Always a leavening presence, William Hotaling was part of the village’s bedrock. He died on Monday, May 2, 2011 at St. Peter’s Hospital surrounded by his family. He was 69.

“As loud as he could be… his whole life started and ended in Voorheesville,” Chad Hotaling said of his father, describing his commitment to the community.

Mr. Hotaling recently celebrated his fortieth year volunteering at the Voorheesville Fire Department and was serving his third term on the village board. He was also the deputy mayor.

He was always there to help people, said his wife, Patricia Hotaling. “Him and his father were a lot alike,” in that way, she said.

Mr. Hotaling also followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming the village’s superintendent of public works — a position he held for 29 years.

“No matter what cause he was undertaking… he always had the best interests of the community in mind,” said Mayor Robert Conway. “He was a tremendous advocate for the village. I think that stems from being generous of heart.”
Generosity was in his constitution — especially in how he shared his time. Mr. Hotaling cheered at every game his children and grandchildren played in. When Chad Hotaling was on the high school football team, which he described as less than good, his father ran the booster club.

He went on to play for the University at Albany, where the first game of the season drew hundreds to a tailgate party. As the season went on, Chad Hotaling said, the number of supporters dwindled until, at the last game of the season, his father was the only one who showed up. “He was always just quietly there,” he said.
Mr. Hotaling also played football in high school, as well as baseball and basketball, said his wife. He was in the first class to graduate from Voorheesville’s high school in 1959.

While he was home from Ithaca College, he started dating Pat Hotaling and the couple had a four-year engagement.
“He was a devil,” she said. “He was a lot of fun. He made people laugh.”

People all over the village have stories about Bill Hotaling.

“Bill was always known as a friend,” his family wrote in a tribute. “When anyone in the community needed help, he wouldn’t wait to be asked, he would be there to lend a helping hand… Friends and family knew Bill best for his quick wit and his big heart. He could always make us laugh and see the humor in any situation.”

“He told you exactly what he thought,” Chad Hotaling said of his father.

Mr. Hotaling was dedicated to his family, said his son, which is the “same way he treated the village… He committed his whole life to a small community.”


Mr. Hotaling is survived by his wife of 45 years, Pat Hotaling, their three children and their families: Brett Hotaling and his wife, Liz, and their children, Logan and Julia; Paige Parker and her children, P.J. and Noah; and Chad Hotaling and his wife, Casey, and their children, Ryann and William. He is also survived by his siblings: Hank Hotaling, Jim Hotaling, Hazel Kurkowski, Edith Zeh, and Bonnie Mosier. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Sandy Filkins, and her husband, Judson.

Calling hours will be today, Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Church on Mountainview Street in Voorheesville. A service will be held at the church on Friday, May 6, at 10 a.m. Burial will be in the New Scotland Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Voorheesville Volunteer Fire Department, 12 Altamont Rd., Voorheesville, N Y 12186 or to the Arthritis Foundation of Northeastern New York, 1717 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12205.

— Saranac Hale Spencer

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