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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, April 5, 2012

Bernadine Johnston

ALTAMONT — Bernadine “Deane” Johnston, a woman who had a great love for all creatures, died peacefully on Friday, March 30, 2012, at the Hospice Inn at St. Peter’s Hospital, with her loving family by her side. She was 76.

Mrs. Johnston was born in Albany, the daughter of the late Domenick and Florence Garramone. She moved to Altamont in 1956.

Mrs. Johnston was a “proud graduate” of the Vincentian Institute, wrote her family in a tribute.

She worked as a secretary for the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene; was an office manager for J. J. Newberry’s; and was a secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 166, until her retirement.

“Deane enjoyed being at home, gardening, sewing, and cooking,” her family wrote.

She is survived by her children, Judee Ann Miller, and her husband, Albert, of Delmar, Laura Lawton of Altamont, Kerry R. Johnston, and his wife, Marybeth, of Altamont, Michele Debye-Saxinger, and her husband, Norwig, of Kinderhook, and Paula Grogin, and her husband, Neil, of Latham.

She is also survived by her sister, Maureen Wright, and her husband, William, of Leander, Texas; her grandchildren, Albert Miller III, Randall Miller, and his wife, Rebecca, David Miller, Dana Balejko, and her husband, Conrad, Thomas R. Lawton, Zachary Johnston, Alexander Johnston, Ian Johnston, Maria Debye-Saxinger and Tristan Debye-Saxinger; her great-grandchildren, Cayce Miller and Chloe Balejko; her dear friends, Edward and Margaret Krause, Bertha Pierce, and David, Elfie and Patricia Erickson; and many nieces and nephews.

Her husband, Richard G. Johnston, died before her, as did her brother, Leonard Garramone.

The family would like to extend a special thank-you to Mrs. Johnston’s family physician and friend, Dr. Hedy Migden.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Wednesday, April 4, at St. Lucy’s Church in Altamont. Interment was in the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Guilderland. Arrangements were by the New Comer Cannon Funeral Home in Colonie.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice of Albany, 445 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205.

Patricia Ann Alexson-Smith

PRINCETOWN — Patricia Ann Alexson-Smith died on Saturday, March 31, 2012, after a short illness. She was 65.

Mrs. Alexson-Smith was born on March 6, 1947, in Schenectady, the daughter of the late William Knolle and Grace Harlan.

She was employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield for 25 years before she retired. She was a member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Altamont Veterans of Foreign Wars Boyd Hilton Post.

She is survived by her husband of 15 years, Jack Smith; her daughter, Kelly Sue Alexson; two sisters, Laura Knolle and Carol Barron; two brothers, Dennis and William Furbeck; and several nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday, April 4,  at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Hospice of Schenectady, 295 Valley View Blvd., Rensselaer, NY 12144.

Viva Lela Klim

DELMAR  — Viva Lela (Hunt) Klim, a loving mother and grandmother, died on March 18, 2012, after a brief hospitalization at St. Peter’s Hospital. She was 93.

Mrs. Klim was born in Gloversville, on Oct. 2, 1919, the daughter of the late Bessie (Peterson) and Leigh Hunt.

She married John F. Klim, in Albany, on Feb. 14, 1943, and, after World War II, they settled in Delmar to raise their growing family of four boys.

Mrs. Klim was a long-time member of the Bethlehem Business and Professional Women’s Organization, beginning with her first career in the mortgage department of Albany Savings Bank.

Her life then focused around her four boys — she was a past president of the Tri-Village Little League Women’s Auxiliary and taught Sunday School at the First United Methodist Church in Delmar.

After raising her boys and seeing all four of them off to college, she spent many years working in an administration capacity in a Delmar obstetrical practice.

“Vi loved spending time with her grandchildren, and provided much loving support to her boys and their families,” wrote her family in a tribute. “She led an involved life in her community of Delmar until health issues in her later years.”

She is survived by her sons, Brian, and his wife, Susan, Jack, Dennis, and Tom; and her grandchildren, Zachary Klim and Philip Howse, Courtney Mazzone, and her husband, JJ, Sean Klim, Brandon Klim, and his wife, Sunni, Valerie Klim, Megan Klim, and Thomas Klim Jr.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday, March 21, at the Applebee Funeral Home, in Delmar. Interment was in the Bethlehem Cemetery.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Five Rivers Environmental Center, 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054; or to the Tri-Village Little League, Post Office Box 164, Delmar, NY 12054.

Dwight Louis “Doc” Murphy

ALTAMONT — Dwight Louis “Doc” Murphy was a great, beloved presence in this world. His friends and family called him “Doc.”

He died on Thursday, March 29, 2012, of complications from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83.

Mr. Murphy was born on May 10, 1928, into a musical family in Fulton, N.Y., the son of Dwight Louis and Margaret Howe Murphy. Mr. Murphy’s grandmother was church organist; his father, a tenor; his mother, a soprano.

“The immediate family and extended families of the Murphy, Hinkhouse, Lorente, Metzger, Purcell, Howe, and Bidwell clans will all miss the amazing sing-along evenings filled with favorite songs and tunes collected and memorized over a lifetime,” his family wrote in a tribute.

Mr. Murphy was an avid sailor his whole life. After building his first boat, his father remarked, “My God! My son’s built a bureau drawer!” his family wrote.

He taught sailing at the Fair Haven Yacht Club, and built both Prams and Thistles, and he was always proud of being the captain of his beloved, handcrafted ship, the Mrs. Murphy. He took great pride in being able to take as many friends and family on the water as he wanted, for sailing adventures of all sorts.

“Doc taught us all how to enjoy time spent in each other’s company,” his family wrote, “providing an atmosphere of love and appreciation for each other’s unique gifts and talents. Whether sailing, teaching, or playing music, he was always quick to respond with appreciation, encouragement, and praise for family and students alike.

Mr. Murphy received a bachelor’s degree in music from

the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, and a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
From 1952 to 1954, he taught at the United States Army’s band-training school at Fort Dix in New Jersey, and played in the Union Symphony Orchestra. He also played the trombone and double bass with many big bands in that era.

After marrying Nancy “Nanny” Louise Purcell on July 13, 1957, Mr. Murphy taught music in Munnsville, N.Y., for several years before moving to Lake Placid, where he taught band and orchestra in the local school, and played with the Lake Placid Club Band.

In the early 1960s, the family moved to Altamont. Mr. Murphy taught music in the Colonie School District for 28 years, and played double bass in the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

Upon retiring from his teaching career, he began his lifelong dream project of building a 38-foot cruising sailboat made of Ferro cement. Sometimes enlisting the help of family and friends, he hand-built the Mrs. Murphy himself at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Altamont.

He would occasionally stop work to engage in a game of horseshoes at the pits adjacent to his boatbuilding shed, and he was always willing to give the curious visitor a boat tour, and the inevitable explanation of how a boat made of cement could actually float.

When he finished building the boat, he and his wife, his first mate, sailed on Lake Ontario, finding safe harbor in Fairhaven Bay, where he sailed with his family when he was growing up.

Sailing to the Maritime Provinces was also a lifelong dream.

When he turned 50, Mr. Murphy decided to take up the banjo. He built his first one from a kit, and learned the claw-hammer style. He eventually picked up his fiddle again, focusing on the “old-time fiddle tunes,” his family wrote.

And, in 1993, Mr. Murphy began documenting, collecting, and notating old tunes for younger classical students not versed in learning by ear. He was dedicated to this collection, believing in the importance of preserving the genre’s cultural roots, and its historical significance.

“His collection grew to over 600 tunes,” his family wrote, “lovingly collated into a series of books that is used by family and by small groups playing near North Myrtle Beach and the Georgetown area.”

Mr. Murphy instructed both adults and children at the Music School in Georgetown for several years, encouraging, guiding, and entertaining his students.

“At well over six feet tall, ‘Doc’ made an impression wherever he went,” wrote his family. “He always brought his unique perspective and huge sense of humor with him.” He always enjoyed meeting people, and appreciated an eclectic range of personalities.

“His stories of childhood memories included colorful characters with names such as ‘Squirrely Goodseull,’” family members wrote.

He frequently visited local hardware stores and copy shops, where he often made lifelong, like-minded friends.

In his last few years, “Doc” spent hours drawing plans to refurbish a Raven-class sailboat, and for an invention that would allow a person to collect and store electrical current on tidal creeks and rivers.

His most recent plan was to build a boson’s chair rig that would lower him down from the second floor porch in order to have access to his workspace, fondly known as “the tinkertorium.”

Mr. Murphy also transferred many home movies, some from as long ago as the 1930s, onto DVDs.

“Doc was a builder, inventor, tinkerer, teacher, best friend, loving husband, father, and grandfather,” his family concluded. “Following his dreams and many artistic passions, ‘Doc’ shared his life with others, bringing music, humor, love, and a deep appreciation for the joys that large and small events in life can bring, from epic sailing journeys, to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a beer in a chilled glass for lunch.”


In addition to his wife of 54 years, Nancy Murphy, Mr. Murphy is survived by two children: Mark Edmond Murphy and hi

s wife, LouAnne Kirkwood, of Shohola, Penn.; and Martha Ann Murphy and her husband, Jeff Earl, of Reno, Nev.
He is also survived by his grandchildren, Molly and Sally Murphy, and Jacob and Samuel Earl, who mourn the loss of their “larger than life” Grandpa Doc.

Also surviving are Nancy Purcell Murphy of Georgetown, S.C.; his sister, Sheila Bidwell of Naples, Fla.; his brother, Mark H. Murphy of Englewood, N.J.; his brother Kevin Murphy of Salinas, Calif.; his sister–in-law, Patricia Purcell of Roslindale, Mass.; and a host of cherished nieces, nephews, cousins, and students.

“Dwight ‘Doc’ Murphy will be greatly missed by us all,” the family wrote.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Old Time Herald, at www.oldtomeherald.org or Old Time Music Group, Post Office Box 61679 Durham, NC 27715.

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