Ann L. Dippolito
EAST BERNE — Ann Louise Dippolito was a versatile, family-focused woman who was entwined with others.
Mrs. Dippolito was a friend to Barbara Genter’s family and became an adopted grandmother and aunt, better known as “Annie.”
Mrs. Dippolito died in her bed at home in East Berne on Thursday, May 8, 2014, of congestive heart failure, her friend, Barbara Genter, said. She had lived with Ms. Genter since the 1980s.
“When you get to be 95, you have very few family members left and it’s nice to know you’re part of a family, and she always has been part of a family,” said Ms. Genter.
Mrs. Dippolito was born in Herkimer, N.Y., in Herkimer County, on Oct. 17, 1918 to Ross Sluyter and Grace Davis. She attended Herkimer schools and graduated from Cazenovia College before entering the Women’s Army Corps of the United States Army in 1941, following her father, with whom she was close.
She was stationed in Utica, while Mr. Sluyter, an Army captain, was stationed in England during World War II. On his return, he lived with his family in Albany.
Ms. Dippolito met her late husband, Tony Dippolito, when they were both patients in the Albany Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She had fallen on ice and cracked her jaw; he had a gall bladder attack.
She joined him, running the Beaverdam Hotel in West Berne, where Mr. Dippolito was a talented cook and Mrs. Dippolito filled in by preparing food and drinks after her work in Albany, as a clerk processing pistol permits for the State Police.
“When we had a bad snowstorm and the road crews got stuck, they would rent out rooms to them so they had warm meals to eat and a place to stay so they could go back on the road again,” Ms. Genter said of the Dippolitos’ hotel. Across the street, Ms. Genter’s brother, Peter Roney, was their neighbor. The Dippolitos were friends of Ms. Genter’s parents.
Mrs. Dippolito retired from the State Police in 1983 to take care of her husband, who had a stroke and later died. She then later lived with a friend in Albany.
Ms. Dippolito was cleaning her camp near Old Forge for a month when the friend she lived with, a former colleague, was moved by her family into a nursing home. Ms. Dippolito returned and had no place to stay. She called Ms. Genter while she was at work in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“I said, ‘Well, just bring your clothes and come on out and bunk with us for a couple weeks,’” Ms. Genter said, recalling when her friend moved in with her in 1986. The two didn’t discuss what she would do to relocate. She slept in a spare room and set the table for dinner before Ms. Genter came home from work every day.
Ms. Genter added, “And one week led to another, and another week and another year. And she never left. It was OK.”
“I’d make the coffee in the morning,” said Ms. Genter. “When I got home at night, she’d say, ‘What’d you want me to fix for supper?’”
Mrs. Dippolito drank several cups of coffee each day and enjoyed whiskey sours when the family went out to dinner. She was quiet and watched news, weather, and history programs on television, Ms. Genter said. She also read novels and books about history. She consumed books full of crossword puzzles and, as she drank her coffee, read every article in a newspaper.
When she wasn’t inside, Mrs. Dippolito swam in nearby lakes and ponds and tended a garden. She was supportive of the younger generation in Ms. Genter’s family and eagerly celebrated birthdays and holidays.
“It seems like she was always here,” said Ms. Genter. “It’s hard for me to remember life without her.”
Ann Louise Dippolito is survived by her extended family, Barbara Genter, Barbara Kennedy, and Jamie Kennedy; and her two cousins, Rodney Sluyter of Richfield Springs, New York and Diane Wells of Laconia, New Hampshire.
She will be buried in Herkimer, New York with her parents, grandparents and her husband, Tony Dippolito, at 11 a.m. on July 22, 2014. Arrangements are by the Fenner Funeral Home, 115 Court St. Herkimer, New York.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Helderberg Lutheran Church, 1728 Helderberg Trail, Berne, New York 12023.
— Marcello Iaia