Obituaries: Clark, Eckerle, Rubino, Harrington, Valenti

Benjamin Clark, Jr. (1938 – 2012)

ALBANY—Benjamin S. Clark, Jr., 74, pro-bono human rights lawyer and a lover of cats, died April 26, 2012, at St Peter’s Hospital, Albany, after a valiant 12-year struggle with cancer.

Born in New York City, April 19, 1938, he was educated at the Millbrook School and Hamilton College.

He became a reporter, and was working at the Bernardsville (NJ) News when he was called up by the Army. He served as a clerk-typist based at La Plata, MD. After his tour of duty, he returned to journalism, working as the editorial manager of the Mount Kisco office of the White Plains Reporter Dispatch until 1970, when the parent corporation closed that office. He then tried his hand at real estate sales.

Mr. Clark’s brief marriage to Anne Outhwaite ended in divorce in 1971. The next year, he moved to Chatham to be a partner in a real estate agency with Jean and Christopher Price. Mr. Clark loved and was knowledgeable about many aspects of the real estate business, particularly rental property, but recognized that sales was not his forte, so, in 1975, he took a job as rehabilitation specialist for the Village of Chatham Community Revitalization (USHUD) Program. In 1984, he moved to a similar position with the City of Rensselaer. There he met and worked with Fred Conway of Chatham in the HUD Small Cities Block Grant program. The two became close friends. Although he enjoyed the work, Mr. Clark found the small-town politics of Rensselaer not to his taste, so 10 years later, he took a position with the New York Office of Real Property Tax Services as a regional counselor to property tax assessors in several Adirondack communities, He stayed there until he retired in 2007.

Mr. Clark was an avid student, particularly of the law and decided to enroll in evening paralegal studies at Russell Sage College. A professor there, recognizing his student’s intellectual ability, persuaded him to pursue a legal education. He enrolled in the Western New England University School of Law, in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1998. Although, he was then over 60 years old, Mr. Clark continued to work full-time at ORPS, while commuting two evenings a week to law school. He graduated May 18, 2002. He passed the New York State Bar on his first attempt, the next year, despite undergoing a one-year treatment for colon cancer, discovered just after graduation. After passing the bar, he joined forces with his Hamilton College friend, retired attorney John Hand of Cambridge Massachusetts, who specializes in pro-bono legal work for the disadvantaged. Mr. Clark’s practice focused particularly on helping death-row inmates in the American South and beleaguered African refugees seeking asylum in the United States. Mr. Clark did legal research for briefs in post-conviction death penalty cases in South Carolina and Florida. He did extensive country conditions research to support asylum applications for people who had been tortured for political reasons in Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In both areas, Mr. Clark’s analysis of facts of the cases combined with his research greatly assisted in the preparation of the legal papers.

He was greatly admired and loved by the occupants of his several rental properties in and around Chatham. He was engaged in many community organizations, most notably the Village of Chatham Zoning Board of Appeals, and Friends of the Chatham Public Library. His interests and generosity ranged far and wide. In October 2011, he received the New York Planning Federation’s Levine Award for Community Service, in recognition of his volunteer efforts on behalf of the Village of Chatham.

Mr. Clark leaves his sisters, Charlotte Clark de Bresson (and Edgar de Bresson) of Paris, France, Tibby Clark (and her partner Laila Tofte) of Pound Ridge, Ella Clark of West Cornwall, CT, her children Cristina Mathews, Alec Mathews and Jess Meyer and their children, as well as many friends, including Chris and Jean Price of Red Rock, their son Cameron Price of Brooklyn, Fiona and Chris Van Wie and family of Red Rock, John Hand and Janet Ghattas of Cambridge, MA, Gail Mrkvicka of Sarasota, FL, and his wonderful caregivers Lisa Wolf, PA, and Theresa Maneen, RN, of the New York Oncology Albany Cancer Center; not to mention his rescue cat and boon companion, Luna.

Contributions in his memory may be sent to Whiskers Animal Benevolent League in Albany or the charity of one’s choice. Online condolences may be sent at www.frenchblasl.com.

A celebration of Mr. Clark’s life will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 12, at Destino Restaurant, Chatham. All of his friends are welcome. As Mr. Clark might have said, quoting “the Great Man” W.C. Fields, “I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”

 

 

Kenneth Eckerle (1954 – 2012)

GREENPORT—Kenneth Michael Eckerle, 57, of Greenport, passed away Friday, April 27, 2012 at home.

Born August 16, 1954 in New York City, he was the son of Kurt and Gelsomina (Dell Armo) Eckerle.

Mr. Eckerle was the owner and operator of MB Sales & Service in Hudson for more than 30 years. He was a member and a deacon at the First Reformed Church in Hudson.

Surviving are two daughters, Clair and Kimberly Eckerle, both of Hudson, their mother, Robin Eckerle of Hudson; two sisters, Kathleen Beiswenger of New Hartford, and Cynthia Komonchak of Tompkins Cove; a brother, Robert Eckerle of Stony Point; and several nieces and nephews.

Calling hours are 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday May 1, 2012 at the Bates & Anderson-Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 2 at the Mt. Pleasant Reformed Church in Greenport.

Burial will be held at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mt. Pleasant Reformed Church.

 

 

Deborah Rubino (1955 – 2012)

HUDSON—Deborah A. Rubino, 56, of Columbiaville, passed away Saturday, April 28, 2012 at Community Hospice at Columbia Memorial Hospital.

Born in Hudson, November 17, 1955, she was the daughter of the late Salvador and Harriett (Race) Rubino.

Ms. Rubino was a medical transcriptionist at Columbia Memorial Hospital for more than 35 years. She lived all her life in Columbiaville. She enjoyed raising and showing her Arabian horses.

Ms. Rubino was the beloved sister of Marylou Rubino of Columbiaville and devoted niece of Barbara Centocanti of Port Saint Lucie, Florida and Marylou Race of Philmont. Also surviving are several cousins.

There will be no calling hours.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 2 at St. Mary’s Church, 429 East Allen Street, Hudson.

Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Stuyvesant Falls.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Animalkind Inc., 721 Warren St., Hudson 12534 or to St. Mary’s Church, P.O. Box 323, Hudson.

 

 

Joan Harrington (1920 – 2012)

HELLERTOWN, PA—Joan Harrington, 91, previously of Copake and Brooklyn, passed away Friday, April 27, 2012 at Saucon Valley Manor.

She was born in Minersville, PA, September 12, 1920, the daughter of the late John and Agnes (Danis) Sauson.

Mrs. Harrington was a supervisor for American Express. She retired October 1, 1982.

Survivors include: her loving granddaughter, WendyAnn Hornak and husband Robert Hornak; her great grandson, Ethan Robert Hornak and her daughter-in-law, Carol Ann Harrington. She was predeceased by her husband, William J. Harrington in 1987 and a son, Dennis Harrington in 1992.

Calling hours are 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at the Peck & Peck Funeral Home, 8063 Route 22, Copake.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at noon Wednesday, May 2, at Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, 8074 Route 22, Copake Falls, with the Reverend George Brennan, officiating.

Interment will follow in new St. Bridget’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, 8074 Route 22, Copake Falls, 12517.

 

 

Alfred Valenti (1952 – 2012)

ALBANY—Alfred L. Valenti, 60, of Rensselaer, died Saturday, April 28, 2012 at St. Peter’s Hospital.

He fought a life-long illness and went peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family.

Born in Brooklyn, February 12, 1952, he was the son of the late Louis and Theresa Valenti.

He was the beloved father of Diana Valenti Griffin and Anthony Valenti; the brother of Maria Cassaro, Frank Valenti and the late Louis Valenti. He also leaves behind an aunt, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday, May 2, 1 p.m. at the St. John the Baptist Church, Valatie, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by the Reverend John Molyn. Interment will follow in St. John’s Cemetery. There will be no calling hours. Arrangements are with the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, Valatie. His son and daughter admired their father’s perseverance. They want him remembered as a man of remarkable strength; who faced all of his challenges in life with courage.

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