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Obituaries from the 
Greenville Local
August 2008

Transcribed by Sylvia Hasenkopf

August 7, 2008 

Dean E. Phillips 

Dean E. Phillips, 75 of Hannacroix, entered into eternal life on Sunday August 3, 2008. In 1995 Dean retired after 30 years of service with M&G Convoy. He loved fishing, camping and horseshoes.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Reta Phillips of Hannacroix, daughter, Sheila (Mike) Murphy of Colonie; grandchildren, Deana (Eugene) Datri of Greenville, Melissa (Steven) Leto of Colonie and Phillip Murphy of Rhode Island; great-granddaughters, Sheila Weidman and Melody Datri; and sister, Violet Hinz of Cheektowaga. Dean was predeceased by his brothers Robert and George Phillips and sister Viola Cooper.

Funeral services will be held 11am Thursday, August 7, at the Babcock Funeral Home, Ravena. Burial will follow in Chestnut Lawn Cemetery, New Baltimore. Friends may call at the funeral home on Wednesday from 5 to 7pm.

Contributions in memory of Dean may be to the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association.

August 7, 2008

Michael J. Tomaselli

Michael J. Tomaselli, 41 years of Freehold, New York, passed away suddenly on July 28, 2008. He was born in White Plains, New York on May 17, 1967, and lived most of his life in Westchester County. He lived the last several years on his ranch in Freehold, New York.

Michael fulfilled his lifelong dream creating the Catskill Creek Ranch, which was enjoyed and admired by family, friends and local residents. An exceptionally generous son, uncle and friend, Michael always lent a helping hand to every person he met, and was loved by anyone who knew him.

Surviving are his mother, Marie Tomaselli of Rotterdam, New York; and his father, John Tomaselli and stepmother Cathy Tomaselli of Palm City, Florida.; his sisters, Luci Steffensen of Brusly, Louisiana, Valerie Buchanan of Rotterdam, New York, Kimberly and Nicole Tomaselli of Tallahassee, Florida; his beloved nieces and nephews, Richard, Rachel, Hollie, TJ, Timothy and Meghan; and his loving girlfriend, Doreen Ensmann of Freehold, New York.

Funeral service was Friday, August 1, at the Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 SR 81, Greenville, New York. Friends called at the funeral home on Thursday and Friday.

Those who wish may contribute in Michaelís memory to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary, 316 Old Stage Road, Saugerties, NY 12477; (845) 336-8447.

August 14, 2008

Debra E. Lake 

Debra E. Lake passed away comfortably at high noon in her home in Wilton on Tuesday, August 5, 2008. She was 47.

Born Nov. 18, 1960 in Catskill, she was the daughter of Joan Parks of Greenville and John Parks of Oregon.

Debbie attended Albany High School and worked for the past 12 years for SEFCU, most recently at the Clifton Park branch.

She was the beloved wife of Jeff Lake.

Deb enjoyed antiquing, motorcycling, traveling and the company of her friends and family.

In addition to her parents and husband, Debbie is survived by her daughters, Keisha (Steve) Baker of Guilderland, Taylor Dawson of Lake George and beloved grandson, Devin Baker, a sister, Donna (Mike) Gagliardi of Greenville, her in-laws, Paula and Kent Lake of Saratoga Springs; several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews; her brothers and sisters of The Goat Brothers and lifelong friend Susan.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a service in Debbieís honor Monday, August 11, at noon at the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes, 628 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, 584-5373.

Burial will follow at 2pm at the Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, Duell Road, Schuylerville.

A celebration of Debbieís life will be held immediately following at The Goat Brothers Clubhouse, 338 Route 32 South Schuylerville.

Donations may be made to the Community Hospice of Saratoga, 179 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 or Saint Peterís Cancer Care Center, 319 S. Manning Blvd., Albany, NY 12208.

August 14, 2008

Edward V. Morris

Edward V. Morris, 78 years, of Greenville, passed away on August 5, 2008 in St. Peterís Hospice Inn in Albany, New York. He was born in Rego Park (Queens), on February 14, 1930, son of the late John and Catherine (Flynn) Morris.

Edward served his country in the US Army during the Korean War. He was a machinist with D&H Precision, manufacturing precision instruments until his retirement.

Edward and his beloved wife Annie were married on July 29, 1956 and just celebrated their 52nd anniversary.

He loved the NY Giants football team, the Yankees and Rangers. He enjoyed hunting and surf casting.

Edward was a member of the Greenville American legion Post No. 291 and VFW Post No. 551 in Elmhurst (Queens), New York. He was a communicant of St. John the Baptist Church in Greenville. Besides his parents Edward was predeceased by a sister, Helen Scetana.

Surviving are his beloved wife, Annie (Hoy) Morris of Greenville, New York; a sister, Frances OíNeil (Jim); and two brothers, Raymond and John Morris. He was much loved by his several nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Funeral service was Saturday, August 9 from the Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 SR 81, Greenville, New York. Friends called at the funeral home on Friday. Interment was in the Greenville Cemetery.

The family wishes to extend appreciation to St. Peterís Hospital and St. Peterís Hospice Inn for their kind and gentle care.

Those who wish may contribute in Edwardís memory to the Community Hospice of Albany County, 445 New Karner Rd., Albany, NY 12205.

August 21, 2008

Peter Ambrogio

Peter went home to his Lord Jesus Christ, surrounded by his family, at his hilltop home in Oak Hill, New York. He was born November 24, 1925 and died August 17, 2008.

He was proud to have served his country in the US Navy during WWII and the Korean Conflict. Peter retired from American Airlines in 1983 where he had worked as a chief airline mechanic.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 53 years, Shirlee E. (Reeves) Ambrogio; his daughters and sons-in-law, Barbara and Scott Gibson, Cheryl and Andy Sanavaitis, both of Poughkeepsie, New York, Karen and Ken Mauriello of Winfield, Illinois, Robert graham of New York; and 10 grandchildren, all of whom are redeemed by the blood of Jesus, Bradley and Christina Gibson, Christopher Gibson and Lynn Anne Jacewicz, Ashley Gibson, Nicole Sanavaitis and Laura, Peter, Michael and Thomas Mauriello.

Peter is now enjoying the company of his daughters Debra Ambrogio and Sharon Graham, who went to be with their Savior in 1958 and 1992.

Services were planned for Wednesday, August 20 at the First Baptist Church of Westerlo, located on State Road 143. Viewing was from 5:30 to 7:30pm. A celebration service started at 7:30pm.

Burial was in the Long Island National Cemetery, 2050 Wellwood Avenue, Farmingdale, New York.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to the Helderberg Christian School, PO Box 164, Westerlo, NY 12193.

August 21, 2008

Irene A. Cross

Irene A. Cross, 84, of Greenville, New York, passed away at the Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, New York on Saturday, August 16, 2008.

She was born in Medusa, New York on March 23, 1924, daughter of the late Ernest and Myrtle (Snyder) Cross. Living in Greenville most of her life, Irene was proud to have been a business teacher at the Middleburgh High School of 42 years retiring in 1989. Since her retirement she was proud to have been a very active member of the South Westerlo C.C. Church and had served as treasurer. She was also a member of the Retired Schoharie County Teachers Association.

She was predeceased by her parents and several cousins. Surviving are cousins, Shirley Truesdell of Prattsville, New York, Althea VanValkenburgh formerly of Prattsville, Norma Ellis of Elizaville, Virginia Kennedy of Prattsville, Margaret Warren of Arkansas and Barb Cooke of Windham.

Funeral service was Wednesday at the South Westerlo C.C. Church in South Westerlo. Friends called at the Cunningham Funeral Home, Greenville, on Tuesday. Interment was in the Medusa Cemetery.

August 21, 2008

Joyce G. Lebel

Joyce G. Lebel, 61 years of Middleburgh, New York, passed away on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 in the Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, New York. She was born in Catskill, New York on September 14, 146, daughter of Helen (Buel) Germond and the late Ira Roger Germond.

Joyce was a lifelong resident of Manorkill and Rensselaerville. She worked at Stiefel Labs, Inc. and she was Postmaster of the Post Office in Earlton, New York until illness forced her to take a smaller post in the Post Office in Coeymans Hollow, New York. Joyce enjoyed traveling, painting and knitting.

Surviving are her husband, Louis M. Lebel of Middleburgh, New York; her mother, Helen Germond of Athens, New York; her aunt, Loretta Lounsbury of Oak Hill, New York; her brother-in-law, Joseph Lebel of Cornwallville, New York and a niece, Diane Williams of Manorkill, New York.

Funeral service was Friday, August 15, at the Cunningham Funeral home, 49898 SR 81, Greenville, New York. Friends called at the funeral home on Friday prior to the service. Interment was in the Manorkill Cemetery.

August 28, 2008

Willard H. Elsbree

Willard H. Elsbree, a professor emeritus of government at Ohio University and former Preston Hollow resident, died Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008, at his home in Athens, Ohio, among family and friends. Known by his family nickname of Wid, he was 87 years old; he died after a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Elsbree had been a professor in the Ohio University Government Department from 1952 until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1990. He served as chair of the department, later renamed the Political Science Department, from 1963 to 1968, and again from 1975 to 1976. During this time he brought a lasting spirit of congeniality to the department.

Born in the upstate New York hamlet of Preston Hollow on Dec. 25, 1920, he attended grade school in a one-room schoolhouse and was valedictorian of his class at Greenville Free Academy. He attended Dartmouth College and then Harvard University, working on his fatherís farm during the summers, and receiving his bachelorís degree magna cum laude in 1941.

Professor Elsbree joined the US Navy in 1942 and was sent to its Japanese Language School at Boulder, Colorado. In early 1944 he went to Pearl Harbor where he was in the translation section of the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Area (JIPCOA) with the 5th marine Division. He served as an interpreter in the Pacific, including day three of the Battle of Iwo Jima. After the war he was flown to Yokosuka, Japan with the 4th Marine Regiment and ended his military service in the spring of 1946.

Professor Elsbree returned to Harvard where he earned his PhD in government in 1952. Harvard University Press published his doctoral dissertation in 1953. Entitled Japanís Role in Southeast Asian Nationalist Movements, 1940-1945, the book was considered the first major work on the Japanese occupation and cited by many authors on Southeast Asia as a basic reference.

In later years prestigious grants and fellowships enabled him to conduct research in Japan, the Philippines and India. Ohio University President John C. Baker chose Professor Elsbree to accompany him and serve as an expert consultant at UNESCO conferences in Geneva, Switzerland in 1953 and 1955.

Professor Elsbree was especially known in Preston Hollow, New York for his gift of the Bayard Elsbree Memorial Park. Located next (to) the Elsbree family home, it started as a pasture containing a much used baseball field, that Dr. Elsbree leased, then gave to the town.

He was predeceased in death by his parents, Bayard and Lyra Hubbard Elsbree of Preston Hollow, New York; his brother, Hugh of Chevy Chase, Maryland; his sister Marjorie Elsbree Pacey of Preston Hollow; and a niece, Jane Pacey (William) Chaleff of East Hampton, New York.

He us survived by nephews and nieces, including David (Patricia) Elsbree of Greenville,  New York; John (Anne) Elsbree; of North Bethesda, Maryland; Susan (Anthony) Torre of Sun City Center, Florida; Hugh (Nancy) Pacey of Cincinnati; Mary Pacey (Steven Schultz) of Carmel, California; over 30 great-nephews and nieces, great-great-nephews and nieces and cousins; and godsons Chris Jennings of Washington, DC; Eric Jennings of Athens, Ohio; and Tom Jennings of New York, New York.. He is also survived by many loving friends in Athens, Preston Hollow and Sanibel, Florida.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Appalachian Community Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice and Health Services, Inc., 30 Herrold Ave., Athens, OH 45701 or the Athens Foundation, PO Box 366, Athens, OH 45701.

An Athens, Ohio memorial service will be held Sunday, Sept. 21, at 3pm in Galbreath Chapel on the Ohio University campus. A note of condolence may be sent to the family or sign the online register book at

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