Wendell Tripp

1928 - 2023

COOPERSTOWN – Wendell Tripp passed away September 20, 2023. 

He was born June 1, 1928, in Walden, the son of Eva Welsch Tripp and Wendell E. Tripp, Sr.  He graduated from Walden High School in June 1946 and joined the U.S. Navy the day after graduation.  He served in the Navy for three years, much of that time aboard the light cruisers USS Wilkes Barre and USS Huntington. 

Following his discharge from the Navy, he attended Drew University, majoring in English Literature, and received the BA degree in 1953.  He then received the MA degree in American History from the University of Michigan and the Ph.D. from the Faculty of Political Science at Columbia University.  

He taught world history at Port Jervis and Middletown high schools from 1955 to 1958  and taught American History at Hobart and William Smith Colleges from 1958 to 1964.  In 1964 he became director of publications and editor of the quarterly journal New York History at the New York State Historical Association in Cooperstown. Between 1964 and 2001 he edited 148 issues of the journal. He also produced The Otsego Herald, published annually for many years at The Farmers Museum print shop. He wrote The Church at the Farmers’ Museum and edited several publications related to the museums.

He was also the author or editor of several books:  Through Poverty’s Vail, published by Syracuse University Press; World of the Founders: New York Communities in the Federal Period, published by New York’s commission on the bicentennial of the U.S. constitution; A Bibliography of Newspapers in Fourteen New York Counties, co-edited with Sylvia Faibisoff,  published by the South Central Research Library Council; Coming and Becoming: Pluralism in New York State History, published by the NYSHA.  He also contributed, without portfolio, to a variety of publications, including The Empire State: A History of New York, published by Cornell University Press.  

His Ph.D. dissertation, a study of Revolutionary War veteran Robert Troup, was published by Arno Press.  Troup, a close friend of both Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, was an active Federalist and a prominent attorney, but his major historic role was as chief administrator for Sir William Pulteney, an English peer who purchased millions of acres of land in western New York.  Troup’s lobbying in the New York legislature enabled Pulteney and other Englishmen to own land in New York.  He then established offices in several western New York communities and administered the sale of the Pulteney land to individual settlers.

In addition to being editor of New York History and Director of Publications for thirty-seven years, Tripp was also Director of Library Services for ten years and was Adjunct Professor in SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program for thirty-five years and Adjunct Lecturer in that Program for fifteen years.  He was also on the board of the South Central Library Council and represented NYSHA on the planning committee of the annual Conference on New York History.

His interest in history and in drama led him to write a play, “The Tragedy of Stephen Arnold,” which was presented at the Fenimore House theater, and to write two plays directed to elementary school audiences that were published in The Grade Teacher.

He was also active in local government, serving for several years on various zoning boards and serving for six years on the Cooperstown Board of  Trustees and for six years as mayor of Cooperstown.

Wendell was predeceased by his parents, by his brother Albert Tripp, sisters Marion Welsch and Mary Louise Meier, and by his wife Maria K. Tripp. 

He is survived by daughters Dana Peeters (Martin) and Nancy Morris (Daniel); son Robert Tripp (Angela); by stepsons Robert Zamelis (Cristan) and Douglas Zamelis (Cheryl).  He is also survived by grandchildren Stefanie Brindle (Kyllan), MariaRosa Konopka (Robert V.), Andrew Konopka, Olivia Morris, Leland Morris, John Tripp, Samantha Tripp, Madelyn Zamelis, Ariadne Wright (Alex), and Nicholas Zamelis (Laura); great-grandchildren Carmella, Tolba and Aoife Brindle, Giuliana Konopka, and Vivianne Konopka.

A Memorial Service to the Glory of God and in Thanksgiving for the Life of Wendell E. Tripp, Jr. will be offered at 12 Noon on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, at The First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown, with the Rev. Jessica Lambert officiating. Following the service there will be a time for refreshment and fellowship in The Chapel.

His remains have been laid to rest with his beloved wife, Maria, in The Columbarium in the Church-yard of the First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown. 

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.

Susanne P. Swihura-Adsit

1962 - 2023

Susanne Swihura-Adsit passed away at home, surrounded by family, on September 18.

Born in 1962 in Montclair, New Jersey, Susanne Swihura moved to Christian Hill when she was a child after her father purchased a farm.  When her father then returned to work as a pharmacist, the family moved into the Village of Cooperstown.  

Susanne graduated from Hartwick College with a business degree and was employed at the Baseball Hall of Fame.  She married David Adsit after graduation and had four boys, all of whom they raised in Cooperstown. 

Susanne was an active member of her community and supported the many organizations her children were part of by donating her time and energy.  She helped administer the Cooperstown Youth Soccer Club, sold concessions for the Booster Club, taught Sunday School at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, cooked meals for the bereavement committee, chaperoned Cotillion, coordinated volunteers for the Cooperstown High School fundraiser on Induction Sunday, and many others.  She was a talented quilter and her home featured many of her greatest works while others were given as gifts to newborns and friends.

Susanne met Joe, her partner, in 2006 and the two built a life on Otsego Lake over the next 17 years. They successfully operated their business, Creamery Accommodations, in Cooperstown and enjoyed nights on the lake, trips to New Jersey, going to the movies, and hosting family and friends. 

Susanne is survived by her loving partner, Joseph Galati of Cooperstown; her sons, Creighton of Richmond, VA, Thomas of Fly Creek, Connor of Boston, MA, and Phillip of Cooperstown; parents, Emily and Stephen Swihura of Melbourne, FL; her sisters, Maribeth and her husband Chuck, and Pamela, also of Melbourne, FL; nieces and nephews; and her beloved cats, Zuzu and Cosmo.

The family is grateful to all who have supported her over the past nine years with their visits, resources, and encouragement. Per her wishes, no funeral services are planned. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kelberman Center in Utica, NY.

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.

Laura Jane Seeley

1984 - 2023

HARTWICK – Laura Jane Seeley, 39, of Hartwick, passed away unexpectedly at Albany Medical Center August 23, 2023, as a result of a tragic car accident near Bennington, VT. As an organ donor, she gave five recipients “The Gift of Life.” 

She was born to George and Mary Seeley on the 1st of February 1984 in Winchester, Virginia, and was brought home to join her excited 4-year old sister, Kate S. Seeley, bringing joy to the entire household. 

Laura is survived by her two beautiful daughters, Ava Lee Brashear (age 11) and Frankie Bella Novak (age 2), as well as her loving partner, Frank V. Novak III.

She is survived by both of her parents, George Seeley and Mary Klein, her sister, Kate S. Seeley, and her nephew, Jack Riley Wheeler Seeley. She is also survived by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and friends, who all meant so much to her.

Laura attended Cooperstown Central School from Kindergarten through the 12th grade. She thrived in the classroom and was an avid athlete, participating in cross-country running, track and field, swim team, soccer, and field hockey. One summer, she was a lifeguard at Three Mile Point on Otsego Lake.

Laura studied Child Development and Family Studies at Syracuse University, where she also participated on the Syracuse Women’s crew team.

A motivated person, her administrative skills led her to such occupations as being a Project Administrator for William H. Lane, Inc., a Community Outreach Specialist at Bassett Healthcare, a Residential Socio-therapist at Hillside Children’s Center, a Clinical Outreach Coordinator at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a Server at Alex’s World Bistro and a Deli/Food Service Clerk at Price Chopper. 

Laura was a devoted mother and spent a great deal of time teaching her children the joys of life as well as answering the tough questions. She was an avid gardener, homemaker, blueberry-picker, applesauce maker, runner, and downhill skier. She also played the piano and loved art, which she shared with her daughters. Laura felt at home in nature and was always ready to take a hike, go for a swim, or build a snowman. Laura Jane was a beautiful person inside and out and will be missed by many.

Calling hours will be from 4:30-7 p.m. Friday, September 29, 2023, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown. There will be a memorial service the following day, Saturday, September 30th, at 2:00 p.m. at Christ Church in Cooperstown. 

Laura’s ashes will be spread by the family in private on beloved acreage, known to the family as “The Property”, in Pierstown. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a college fund for Laura’s daughters, Ava and Frankie. Please send ℅ Frank V. Novak III, 343 Goddard’s Road, Hartwick, NY 13348. Another suggestion is to support camperships for 4-H Camp Shankitunk, 2420 Arbor Hill Road, Delhi, NY  13753. 

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.

Donald C. Phillips

1922 - 2023

HARTWICK – Donald Clinton Phillips, a life-long, beloved and revered resident of Hartwick, passed away Friday night, September 15, 2023, at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. He was 100 years old. 

Born December 4, 1922, he was delivered by his uncle, Dr. Barney Phillips, to his parents, Andrew D. and Thelma Tilley Phillips at their home on Scotch Hill in Hartwick. 

Don graduated from the Hartwick High School with the Class of 1941. On October 16, 1946, he was inducted in the United States Army and proudly served his country with Company K 27th Infantry Regiment during the Occupation of Japan. He received his Honorable Discharge from the military on June 12, 1947, at Camp Stoneman in California. 

Don returned to his hometown and on October 4, 1952, he married Ina Louise Foote. 

For 24 years Don was employed at the Otsego Electric Co-Op, Inc., retiring in 1984. He then went to work for the Hartwick Cemetery Association, and cared for the cemetery grounds for 30 years, retiring in 2018. 

In August of 1997, Don was honored at Hartwick Days as the Hartwick Citizen of the Year and was cited for over 40 years of community service. 

Don was a 50-year member of the Hartwick Fire Department Company No. 1 and was a charter member of the Emergency Squad. He was also a former treasurer for Boy Scout Troop No. 72, was a member of the Hartwick American Legion Post No. 1567, the Hartwick Rod and Gun Club, and attended the Hartwick Christian Church. 

He will be greatly missed by his family and the Hartwick Community. 

Don is survived by his wife of 70 years, Ina; daughter, Donna Hotaling; grandson David S. Sellick and wife, Katie; great grandchildren, David A. and McKenna Sellick; nephews, Randy and wife Jen and Michael Phillips; sisters-in-law, Susena Hulbert and husband, Randy and Sara Jane Yager and husband, Rick; and several nieces and nephews. 

In addition to his parents, Don was predeceased by his daughter Marsha Jean Phillips (November 6, 2008); son-in-law, Duane C. Hotaling (January 9, 2012); brother Stanley R. Phillips (February 9, 2005); sister-in-law, Audrey J. Phillips (March 30, 2006); nephew Daniel S. Phillips, Sr. (May 24, 2018); niece Louise M. McAdams (January 13, 2008); and grandniece, Kristen M. Phillips (September 19, 2005.) 

Family and friends may call and pay their respects from 4-6 p.m. Friday, September 22, 2023, at the Hartwick Christian Church, 3083 County Highway 11, Hartwick. 

A funeral service will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 23, 2023, at the Hartwick Christian Church. The service of committal and burial with Military Honors will follow at Hartwick Cemetery. Immediately following the services at the cemetery, everyone is welcome to gather at the Hartwick Fire Department Company No. 1 fire hall for a reception. 

In lieu of flowers, Don’s family would appreciate donations in his memory be made to the following: Hartwick Christian Church, PO Box 65, Hartwick, NY 13348; Hartwick Cemetery Association, PO Box 177, Hartwick, NY 13348, Hartwick Fire Department Company No. 1, PO Box 86, Hartwick, NY 13348; Hartwick Emergency Squad, PO Box 208, Hartwick, NY 13348. Envelopes will be available. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown. 

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.

Mike Burgess

Mike Burgess passed away on September 10 at the age of 69. If you didn’t know him, he was that guy with the easy smile and friendly demeanor. If you did know him, you knew he had abundant stories, looked you in the eye when speaking to you, and would lend a hand any time you needed it. 

He had deep roots in this region, growing up in Hartwick, moving away only briefly for a little bit of military service, a little bit of college, and then to live with his wife Karen in her hometown in Long Island before they settled in Hartwick permanently in 1983. They made the red house by the creek a wonderful home for their family over the next 40 years. He was a man with a slew of practical skills and wide experiential knowledge. Over the years, he lent his carpentry skills to many buildings and homes in the area as a freelance carpenter or as part of the union. After retirement, you could often find him in his woodshop, and he would always welcome you in for a chat over a beer. He adored his labradoodles Bert and Murphy and loved nothing more than a glass of bourbon by a big bonfire, dogs by his side. Well, maybe bad sci-fi films and dime novels, which he voraciously consumed. He greeted everyone on the street with a hello or a wave, whether he knew them or not, whether driving down County Route 11 in Hartwick or riding the crosstown bus in Manhattan (much to the confusion and/or delight of New York City bus riders).

He is survived by his three daughters and their spouses, Heather and Justin, Rebecca and John, and Kari and Jeff; his grandchildren Noah, Jasiah, and Amelia; his mother-in-law Barbara, his sister-in-law Debra, and his brother-in-law Stephen; his nieces and nephews Jennifer, Joshua, Stephen, Jackie, Erica, Gene, and Joey, and their children and their families who fondly remember “Uncle Muck.” He was predeceased by his wife Karen, his mother Sieglind, his father Lynn, his brother Frederic, and his father-in-law Eugene. His legacy of hard work, loyalty, and respect for others will continue with those he leaves behind. 

Calling hours will be held Saturday, September 30, from 5–7 pm at Connell Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home at 82 Chestnut Street, Cooperstown, NY.  In lieu of flowers, please donate to Susquehanna SPCA, the ASPCA, or a local animal rescue organization of your choice. 

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.

Robert W. Potter

1949 - 2023

HARTWICK – Robert W. Potter, 74, of Hartwick, passed away on August 29, 2023, after a brief battle with cancer. 

He was born February 10, 1949, to Waldo and Emily (Bain) Potter. He graduated from Cooperstown Central School in 1968, and was a lifetime resident of Scotch Hill in Hartwick. 

After high school, Bob enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served one tour of duty in Vietnam. Assigned to Company D, 9th Engineering Battalion, he saw action as a mine sweeper. For his service he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Rifle Marksmanship Badge, the Vietnam Service Medal and the RVN Cross of Gallantry with Palm and Frame. 

On February 18, 1984, Bob married Barbara A. Polinski in a ceremony at the Hartwick Christian Church. 

A farm boy at heart, he worked for many years at John Hurtubise’s farm in Hartwick; they became like his second family. Later, he worked for NYS DOT plowing snow based out of Burlington and worked on the bridge crew in the summers. 

He loved to make people laugh and was known for his one-liners and jokes. “If this rain keeps up, it won’t come down” and “Do the voices in my head bother you?” were favorites. He loved to quote song verses (“Me and Earl was hauling chickens on a flatbed of Wiggins…”) and watching Westerns. 

Bob is survived by his wife, Barbara Potter; son, Robert Thomas (“Tommy”) Potter; sisters Betsy (Steve) Sywetz, Mary (Richard) Balcom, Janet Potter and  Linda (Tom) Foody; brother David; sister-in-law, Theresa (Dave) Viti; and many nieces, a nephew, and close family friend, Quinton Hasak. 

He was predeceased by his son, Anthony Joseph (“Joey”) Potter in 2007. 

At Bob’s request, there will be no calling hours or funeral service. A graveside service will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 9, 2023, at Hartwick Cemetery, with Jack Klosheim, Senior Pastor of Community Bible Chapel in Toddsville, officiating. Military Honors will be rendered by members of the Hartwick American Legion, the Cooperstown Veterans Club and the United States Marine Corps Funeral Honors Team. 

Immediately following the services at the cemetery, all are welcome to gather at the Hartwick Vet’s Club for a Celebration of Bob’s Life. 

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the “Anthony Joseph Potter Scholarship Fund” at Cooperstown Central School. Gifts may be made payable to “Cooperstown Central School” and mailed to the school’s business office at 39 Linden Avenue, Cooperstown, NY  13326. Please note the name of the scholarship on your check.

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown. 

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.

Joan R. Butler

1933 - 2023

COOPERSTOWN – Joan R. Butler, 90, who for many years resided in Pierstown, passed away peacefully August 8, 2023, at Woodside Hall in Cooperstown. 

She was born March 8, 1933, in Oneonta, the first daughter of Jesse E. and Elsie (Weldon) Robinson of New Lisbon. 

In her teen years her family moved to Cooperstown, where they resided in her grandparents', Frank and Gracie Robinson’s riverside home, the “Elmhurst” in Phoenix Mills where they ran a lumber mill. Joan attended Cooperstown High School, later (in life) earning her GED in order to attain her broker certification. 

On October 29, 1950, Joan married Robert Charles Butler, a native of Cooperstown, in a ceremony at Christ Church in Cooperstown.

They first lived in Hyde Park in a humble home built by her husband. Then, in 1989, Joan and Bob moved to a home and property on Reiss Road in Pierstown they named “Fox Run.” 

Much like her late husband, Joan had a passion and knack for finance. After serving as a teller at Key Bank she quickly became the branch manager in the 1970s. After her tenure at Key Bank, she earned her broker certification and for decades was an investment counselor, first for John Hancock, and then RBC Wealth Management in Cooperstown, assisted by her sister, Dorothy. Joan retired in her late 70s. 

Joan was a long-time member of Otsego-Hartwick-Arbutus Chapter No. 201, Order of the Eastern Star, and in 2016 she was presented with her 50-year membership pin at the annual Otsego-Schoharie District Officer’s Visitation at the Cooperstown Masonic Temple. Even after her husband, Bob, passed away, she remained dedicated to the Masonic Fraternity, often attending Otsego Lodge No. 138, Free and Accepted Mason’s Honored Guest Nights. 

For many years Joan also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Lakewood Cemetery in Cooperstown. In 2018, she received a certificate from the Lakewood Cemetery Association designating her “trustee emeritus” for her years of service as the association’s treasurer. 

Joan is survived by her brother Gordon A. (Barbara) Robinson (Fly Creek); and her nieces and nephews, Bonita “Bonnie” (Paul) Varney (Milford), Connie Jo Robinson (Fly Creek), Julie (Matthew) Robinson-Barnes (Hartwick), Brenda (Todd) Eckler (Conway, SC) and Bruce (Donna) Eckler (Canastota).

Joan was predeceased by her father, Jesse E. Robinson who died February 18, 1976; her mother, Elsie K. Etheridge who died March 29, 2009; her husband of 60 years, Robert C. Butler, who died January 30, 2011; their son, Robert Jesse Butler “Slugger” who died February 23, 2020; and her sister, Dorothy A. Eckler who died April 1, 2022. 

Joan will forever be remembered for her strong-mindedness, determination, drive for perfection and independence. 

Her family would like to thank the staff at Woodside Hall for their caring and loving spirit, her lifelong friends Laura (Michael) Page for their companionship and assistance and Helios Care for making her comfortable in her final weeks.

Friends may call and pay their respects from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.

The Office of the Burial of the Dead with Holy Eucharist (Rite I) will be offered at 11 a.m Thursday, September 14, 2023, in Christ Church, Cooperstown, with the Rev'd Nathan P. Ritter, rector, officiating. 

The Service of Committal and Burial will follow in Lakewood Cemetery, Cooperstown. 

In her younger years, Joan served on the Board of Directors at the Susquehanna SPCA assisting in the construction of the Hartwick Seminary facility. Joan loved her cats throughout the years and her last cat, Jezebel brought her much comfort. “Jezzy” was a feral cat who found a warm and loving home with Joan. 

As an alternative to flowers, the family suggests that memorial gifts be made to SQSPCA Joan R. Butler/Community Cat Alteration Program, 5082-5088 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, NY  13326. Contributions received in her name and under this program will assist in the capture, alteration and re-release of feral cats in the community. 

Arrangements are under the care and guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.  

If you would like to send condolences to the family, send an email to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth. We will forward your comments to the family. If you would like to send flowers in memory of the deceased, contact Mohican Flowers at (607) 547-8822, or A Rose is a Rose at (607) 264-3100.