Obituaries: Russell, Haaf, Gaylord, Whiffen

Dorothy Niebergall Russell (1929 – 2013)

MILAN—Dorothy Niebergall Russell of Milan died May 23, 2013 of pneumonia at the age of 84.

Born February 25, 1929, she was the only child of Christine (Bednar) and Darwin Niebergall.

She graduated from Hudson High School in 1946 and Oneonta State Teachers College in 1950.

In 1952 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Hudson, she married Darrell Nash Russell. He predeceased her in 2007.

Mrs. Russell began her 36-year teaching career at Clinton Heights Elementary School in Rensselaer. Her first job with the Rhinebeck Central School System was in a one-room schoolhouse on Bulls Head Road in Clinton. During her 34-years at RCS, she taught more than 2,000 kindergarten, first and fifth graders. “There is nothing more rewarding than to see a child learn his or her lesson and smile because they understand,” she said. With her dear friend and co-teacher, Elizabeth Barrett Sigloch, she piloted the Head Start Program for the Kennedy Administration. She was a Master Teacher, developing outdoor education programs and presenting workshops at conferences such as the National Science Teachers Association. She was a president of the Rhinebeck Teachers Association and was an active member of the Montgomery Post #429 American Legion Auxiliary and the Third Lutheran Church in Rhinebeck.

Mrs. Russell is survived by: her daughter, Susan Russell-Robinson and her husband Rob of Reston, VA; her sons, Kevin R. Russell of Milan, Eric B. Russell and his wife Kimberly of Loxley, AL, and Mark F. Russell and his wife Jill of Rhinebeck; eight grandchildren, Mark D., Christina, Sarah Elizabeth, Amanda, Adam, Bill, Evan and Taylor; two great-grandsons, William Mayson Russell and Nash Downing Russell; a sister-in-law, Joyce Russell of Port Ritchie, FL; many first cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

Committal services will be held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, May 29 at Cedar Park Cemetery, Hudson.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29 at Third Evangelical Lutheran Church, 31 Livingston Street, Rhinebeck. The Reverend LeRoy Ness will officiate.

Friends may call at the Burnett & White Funeral Home, 91 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, Tuesday, May 28 from 1 to 3 and 5 to 8 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made to the Rhinebeck Teacher’s Association Scholarship Fund in Honor of Dorothy Russell, c/o Susan Van Vlack, Rhinebeck Middle School, P.O. Box 351, Rhinebeck 12572 or to Third Lutheran Church, 31 Livingston Street, Rhinebeck 12572.

The family is thankful for the care of Dr. Paul Donovan, Becky Asher, Sue Jochum and most especially Debbie Sprauer Hayden.

Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Home, 91 East Market Street, Rhinebeck. For directions, or to sign the online guestbook visit

Kathleen G. Haaf (1945 – 2013)

CANAAN—Kathleen G. Hildreth Haaf died May 20, 2013 at home in Canaan.

She was born December 23, 1945 to Teddy and Francis Hildreth.

She grew up in Central Islip, Long Island and graduated from Seton Hall High School in 1963. In 1966, she married Peter Haaf. They decided to move to the country in the Chatham/Canaan area in 1974, where they lived for many years.

Mrs. Haaf had a passion for learning that led her to continue her education. She attended Berkshire Community College and graduated as a registered nurse. From there, Mrs. Haaf attended Russell Sage to get both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. She enjoyed reading, baking and crocheting. She made beautiful blankets and other heartfelt handmade items that she gave to loved ones. During the holidays, Mrs. Haaf made delicious cookies that she gave to her family members.

She is survived by former husband, Peter Haaf of Chatham; her two sons, David of Canaan and Michael and his wife, Amy and her three grandchildren, Roy, Samuel, and Molly Haaf of New Lebanon; her sisters, Margaret “Peggy” Harrison, Janette Snyder and Rosemary Adams all residing in Arizona and her brother, Daniel Hildreth also of Arizona. Mrs. Haaf’s family appreciates the staff and volunteers of the Columbia-Greene Community Hospice for all they have done. Friends are encouraged to donate to their local hospice organizations in lieu of flowers.

Donald M. Gaylord (1930 – 2013)

ALBANY—Donald M. Gaylord, 83, of Castleton died Monday, May 20, 2013 at Albany Memorial Hospital.

He was born April 25, 1930 in Pittsfield, MA, the son of the late Roland and Marion (Melius) Gaylord.

He graduated from Pittsfield High School and was employed by the V&O Press Co. in Hudson for 15 years and retired from the Watervliet Arsenal in 1990.

Mr. Gaylord is survived by: his six children, Neil, Paul, Donna, Lyle, Jonathan and David; 13 grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; a sister, Gloria Kiontke.

He was predeceased by his sisters, Priscilla Gaylord and Barbara Oakman.

Funeral services were Thursday, May 23 at the Wenk Funeral Home, Chatham. Interment followed at the Churchtown Cemetery. To send online condolences visit

Jean Wenk Whiffen (1923 – 2013)

LEWISTOWN, MT—Jean E. Wenk Whiffen, 87, passed away peacefully Sunday, May 19 in Lewistown, Montana after a life well-lived.

She was born September 29, 1923 in Spencertown to George Wenk and Valentine Wolfe.

Her family agrees that her greatest loves in life were her family and her amazing soft spot for all animals.

In earlier years, Mrs. Whiffen’s children, nieces and nephews and their friends spent summers at the farmstead, riding horses and swimming, and were shuttled back and forth to endless activities in her station wagon. Everyone who walked in the door was fed and it was not unusual to see an orphaned fawn, pet raccoon or lamb snuggled with the family pets. She and her husband, Dick also had a passion for horses and owned several over the years, as well as cows, chickens, rabbits and any otherwise wayward animals looking for a warm home.

In later years, Mrs. Whiffen’s grandchildren enjoyed hunting for fresh eggs in the henhouse, helping to make homemade doughnuts on the old woodstove and learning to preserve fruits and vegetables. All the while, Mrs. Whiffen provided the endless patience and unconditional love only a grandmother can give.

She was an active member of the Tower Club, a community group that raised funds for St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Spencertown. Through the Tower Club, she provided countless hours of cooking and baking, as well as working at the church’s annual Harvest Festival. She also worked at the Payn Home in Chatham, again using her talents in the kitchen.

Although she spent all of her life in the northeast, Mrs. Whiffen had dreams of living out west and in 2004, at the age of 80, she left Spencertown for Montana where she lived until her death. It was where she was meant to be.

Mrs. Whiffen is survived by: her sister, Carol Lundin of Otego; son and daughter-in-law, Rusty and Jan Whiffen of Florida and Montana; son and daughter-in-law, Tim and Glen Whiffen of Spencertown; grandchildren, Emily (Rob) Warrington of Ghent, Kate (Jason) Loose of Hobson, Montana, and Matthew and Sarah Palmer of Chatham; several great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

She was predeceased by her husband, Richard (Dick) Whiffen; sister, Edith Barden; brother, Tucker Wenk; her daughter, Mary Jean Palmer and her grandson, Tyler Whiffen.

A service will take place in Lewistown, Montana over Memorial Day weekend. Send any thoughts, remembrances or stories to


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