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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 27, 2011

Meda Vrooman

ALTAMONT — Meda Vrooman, a woman who always had a smile on her face, died on Oct. 24, 2011. She was 92.

Mrs. Vrooman was born in Indiana, and moved to Detroit, Mich., with her family as a young girl. She spent most of her youth and young adult life in the metro area of Detroit.

She met her husband, Bill, before World War II, while working at Allegheny-Ludlum Steel. The two married soon after the war ended, and moved to Albany, his hometown. A few years later, they settled in Altamont, where they lived together for the remainder of their lives, working and raising their family.

Mrs. Vrooman was employed as a secretary at Guilderland High School for many years.

“She was well known for her affable and effervescent personality, and she was quick with a laugh, quip, or anecdote,” wrote her family in a tribute.

Her daughter, Janet Heacock, said Mrs. Vrooman was always happy, and loved to have a good time.

“She always liked to go places, like a show, the movies, or a baseball game; she loved to travel, and the beach. She was always up for an adventure,” said Mrs. Heacock.

Mrs. Vrooman was an “expert seamstress,” according to her daughter, and kept herself busy sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and doing needlepoint.

“She was well loved, and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her,” wrote her family.

Mrs. Vrooman is survived by her brother, Kay Puckett; three children, William Vrooman, and his wife, Shufang, Janet Heacock, and her husband, Lee, and Lisa Lewis, and her husband, Phil; five grandchildren, Elizabeth, Lindsey, Amanda, Jia, and Nathan; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Her husband, Bill, died before her, as did her sister, “Bobby” Eastlake.

Shirley E. Friebel

GUILDERLAND – Shirley E. Friebel, a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, was active in community affairs.

She died peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, surrounded by her loving family. She was 85.

Mrs. Friebel, a graduate of Altamont High School, was born in Albany to the late Harry and Emma Schramm. She was an active member of The Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Auxiliary, and Town and Country Lanes bowling league.

She was married to Carleton Friebel for 52 years, their union ending only with his death.

“She looked forward to camping with her husband, sons, and eventually her grandchildren at Fish Creek Ponds in the Adirondacks,” her family wrote in a tribute. “Carl and Shirley liked to travel with friends and made several trips to Nashville, Tenn. and Branson, Mo.

“Shirley loved to cook for her family and always greeted people at her door with, ‘Do you want something to eat?’ Her grandchildren couldn’t wait to get to Grandma’s for her homemade chocolate chip cookies.”

She is survived by her sons, Mark C. Friebel and hiswife, Darcy, of Newark Valley, N.Y. and Todd H. Friebel of Guilderland; her grandchildren, Andrew M. Friebel of Elmira, N.Y., Aaron M. Friebel and his wife, Kara, of Liverpool, N.Y., and Laura A. Friebel of Plattsburgh, N.Y.

She is also survived by her sisters-in-law, Arlene Schramm, Frieda Heintz, Dorothy Knapp and her husband, Robert, and Florence Shumway and her husband, David; and several nieces and nephews.

Her brother, Donald Schramm, died before her, as did her husband and her parents.

Friends and relatives are invited to call Friday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. at New Comer Cannon Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Rd., Albany. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 11 a.m. at Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church in Guilderland with interment to follow at Prospect Hill Cemetery, also in Guilderland. Mourners may leave messages online at www.NewcomerAlbany.com.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church, 2291 Western Avenue Guilderland, NY 12084 or to the Guilderland Interfaith Food Pantry, care of the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church.

Marjorie Susan White Williams

ALTAMONT — Marjorie Susan White Williams shaped sinuous expressions of life from exactingly finished plywood. She died after a long illness on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, at the age of 83.

Her sculptures sometimes took on a political tone and almost always featured voluptuous forms, built carefully, layer upon layer, from plywood. The cycle of life weighed heavily in her work, her husband guessed, because the threat of atomic war loomed during their early marriage. Facing the prospect of what a nuclear attack would bring led her often to think about life. It “permeated some of her motivations,” he said.

Born on Oct. 31, 1927, in Albany Mrs. Williams was the youngest of three children and likely got her skill in constructing complex shapes from her father, who was an architect. She kept a trove of his old tools in her basement studio.

After she graduated from the Albany Academy for Girls in 1945, Mrs. Williams went on to study art at Skidmore College, from which she graduated in 1949. There, she met her husband, Frank J. Williams Jr., who was a law student at the time.

Mrs. Williams taught art for years at the Albany Academy for Girls and earned a Master of Science and education degree from The College of Saint Rose in 1981.

It was “quite natural for her to teach it,” Mr. Williams said of his wife teaching art. She liked to share her craft with anyone who was interested, he said.

Of her own children, Mr. Williams said, “She filled them with her interest in life. She saw life as an artist sees life — even the minutia was of interest to her.”

She liked the shape of certain things, her husband explained, and she kept a collection of rotund gourds, seashells, and tchotchkes on their kitchen windowsill. “She loved the shape of gourds,” Mr. Williams said, and her sculpture of reflected that.

Mrs. Williams exhibited her work throughout the area, including the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Albany Center Galleries and venues in Cooperstown, New York City, and Chesterwood at Stockbridge, Mass.

One of her pieces, standing along the dining room wall, is a collection of matryoshka dolls, the Russian nesting dolls, painted to illustrate the different points of her life. They, too, are built carefully by layering laminated plywood.

“Art was her life,” Mr. Williams said.


Mrs. Williams is survived by her husband, Frank J. Williams Jr., of Altamont, and by her children: Frank J. Williams III and his wife, Kristin, of Schoharie; Frederick J. Williams and his wife, Emily, of Norwalk, Conn.; and Carrie Louise Williams of Bishop, Calif. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Claire Grace Williams and Margot Rebecca Williams of Schoharie.

Her parents, J. Russell White and Elizabeth Clum White, died before her, as did her siblings, Jean White Smith who lived in Sanbornville, N.H., and J. Russell White Jr., and her nephew, Russell C. Smith.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. Calling hours will be held before the service, from 10 to 11 a.m. Interment will be in the Albany Rural Cemetery.

— Saranac Hale Spencer 

Clyde Hill Eastman

Clyde Hill Eastman, an avid outdoorsman and Guilderland guidance counselor, died peacefully on Aug. 23, 2011. He was 79.

Mr. Eastman was born and raised in Fryeburg, Maine, and lived in Sonoma County, Calif. for the last 21 years, first in Cloverdale and Healdsburg, and then in Sebastopol for the final 13 years.

Mr. Eastman graduated from Fryeburg Academy in Maine, received a bachelor’s degree from Bates College, a master’s degree from Columbia University, and a doctorate degree in education from the University at Albany.

He was an English teacher and then a guidance counselor in upstate New York, primarily in the Guilderland School District, where he worked for 30 years.

From 1973 to 1984, Mr. Eastman and his wife, Zita, lived on a 100-year-old farm in Rensselaerville.

“They attempted to live a largely self-sufficient life…There they grew vegetables, tapped maple trees for syrup, and raised chickens and goats for eggs and milk,” wrote his family in a tribute.

In 1987, when Mr. Eastman retired, he and his wife traveled along the west coast for six months in a VW camper, looking for a warm place to retire, his family wrote. They ended up in northern California, living in Monterey before settling permanently in Sonoma County.

“Clyde was a lifelong, avid outdoorsman, the kind of man who feels more comfortable outside than in,” wrote his family. He loved to run, ski, bike, and backpack, and wrote his dissertation on the benefits to children of time spent outdoors.

“He was a campground host in Alaska, hiked the entire Appalachian Trail at the age of 63, and ran 50 miles on his 50th birthday,” his family wrote.

Shortly before his death, Mr. Eastman self-published Hopalong Cassidy: Creation of a Western Hero. The book was a 25-year writing project, which focused on the life of Clarence Milford, author of the original Hopalong Cassidy novels and a Fryeburg acquaintance of Mr. Eastman’s father, Harry Eastman.

Mr. Eastman loved music, and studied guitar most of his adult life. He also loved to play poker, and played in his weekly game at the Sebastopol Senior Center the day before he died, wrote his family.

Mr. Eastman is survived by his wife of 38 years, Zita; four children from his first marriage, Philip, Peter, Carolyn, and Glenn; two brothers, Conrad and Steve; one sister, Diane; two stepchildren, Alison and Christopher; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Friends and family are invited to attend a celebration of Mr. Eastman’s life at the Sebastopol Senior Center on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 3 p.m.

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