OBITUARIES: Bird, Abela, Denis, Witte, Thomas

Charlotte Isabel Bird (1923 – 2017)

LAKE KATRINE—Charlotte Isabel Bird, age 94, of Kingston passed away Tuesday, November 14, 2017 in Ten Broeck Commons.

Born July 3, 1923 in Hudson, she was the daughter of the late Warner A. and Florence Catherine (Tipple) Moore and the wife of the late William Bird.

Before her retirement, Mrs. Bird was employed by Sterling Winthrop in Rensselaer, NY.

She is survived by: her daughter, Marie DeFriest (Harry) of Kingston; her son, Thomas McClure (Keith Skromme) of Palm Springs, CA; her stepdaughters, Ann Marie Bird of Latham, Kathy Quackenbush of Averill Park and Pat Gutierrez (Carlos) of Speigletown; her granddaughter, Tonya DeFriest and her great-granddaughters, Olivia and Natalie Doerr. She was predeceased by her son, Leslie A. McClure.

Funeral services will be Saturday, November 18, 11 a.m. at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie with a calling hour at 10 a.m. Burial will be in the West Ghent Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

William J. Abela (1931 – 2017)

RED HOOK—William “Bill” J. Abela, 86, of Red Hook passed away peacefully Thursday, November 9, 2017, with his family by his side.

He was born in Brooklyn, Emmanuele and Anna (Canavan) Abela August 17, 1931. From an early age and through high school, he helped support his family by delivering blocks of ice for his neighbors’ ice boxes, working in a dog crematorium and as a TV repairman. After graduating from high school, Mr. Abela worked briefly as a technician at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome. He was then employed with IBM in Kingston and Poughkeepsie for 34 years, working his way up to the position of manufacturing engineer. During his tenure, he was active in the development of IBM’s personal computer and later commercial iterations.

Mr. Abela was proud of his membership in IBM’s Quarter Century Club and his achievement and recognition as a certified electrical inspector. He enjoyed sports all his life and spoke fondly of his time as a little league baseball coach with his son’s Silver Lake Dairy Team. He was an avid Yankee and Giants fan. Mr. Abela was a member of the Lake Katrine Rod and Gun Club, although most who knew him felt it was a camera he should have carried on his journeys into the woods, for he seldom used his gun. Toward the end of his time, he expressed that his “life and style of living have been fantastic!” “For this we are grateful.”

Mr. Abela married his childhood sweetheart and love of his life, Audrey Isabella Marianna in April 1955 in Manhattan. She predeceased him February 20, 2006 after more than 50 years of marriage. They were inseparable in life, reunited in death and missed by all.

Mr. Abela is survived by: his children, Kerrie Abela of Germantown, William Abela of Rhinebeck, Jamie and her husband Bill O’Farrell of Red Hook and Christine Abela of Greenbrae, CA; his devoted grandchildren, Mitchel Black, Samantha and Mackensie Abela, Connor, Rachel, Liam and Ava O’Farrell and William Audie Abela; his companion, Helen Lyle; his nieces and nephews; and Gracie the cat.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Abela was predeceased by his siblings, Mary J. Crispo and John P. Abela.

Friends may call at the Burnett & White Funeral Home, 7461 South Broadway, Red Hook, Sunday, November 19 from 2 to 4 p.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, November 20 at St. Christopher’s Church in Red Hook, 11 a.m. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Kidney Fund, 6110 Executive Boulevard, Suite 1010, Rockville, MD 20852.

For directions or to sign the online guestbook visit

Agnes L. Denis (1933 – 2017)

PHILMONT—Agnes L. (Slater) Denis, 84, formerly of Copake, passed away Monday, November 13, 2017 at the Pine Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

She was born July 26, 1933 in Leicester, VT, the daughter of Lyndon and Ada (Austin) Slater.

On September 9, 1948, she married the love of her life, Art Denis. They lived happily together for 51 years until his passing in 1999. Throughout the majority of her life, Mrs. Denis worked at Decker’s Laundry in Lakeville, CT. She always had plenty of love to share, and she enjoyed cooking for her family, especially her famous “dibbie doughs.” She also had a great love for bingo and, as she called it, “country western music.” She never asked for much, but she always gave a lot.

Mrs. Denis leaves behind: her two children and their spouses, Eileen Duprey and husband Daniel, Arthur (Butch) Denis and wife Cindy; as well as three granddaughters, Terri (Denis) Murphy, Anne Denis and her child, Christine (Denis) McDonald, husband Jaime and their three children.

Mrs. Denis took in and raised those three granddaughters and cared for them as if they were her own children. She also leaves behind four additional grandchildren, Michelle Cardinale and her three children, Dawn Rice and her five children and one grandchild, Matthew Duprey and his three children and Megan (Duprey) Schneeberger, her husband Mark and their child.

She is also survived by several cousins, nieces and nephews.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Denis was predeceased by two sons, Dickie and David; two daughters, Rosie and Eva; six brothers and six sisters.

Services will be held at the Peck & Peck Funeral Home 8063 Route 22, Copake Friday November 17, 2017 from 2 to 4 p.m., a Celebration of Life will follow at the Copake firehouse, all are welcome to attend.

In lieu of flowers, consider making a donation to the funeral home to assist the family with the cost of service expenses.

To sign the online condolence visit

Marcia A. Witte (1946 – 2017)

CHATHAM—Marcia Anne Witte passed away suddenly, aged 71, November 12, 2017 in upstate NY after a determined

two-year struggle with pancreatic cancer.

She was formerly of St. Louis, MO; London, England; Nyack, Mahopac, Catskill and Hudson, NY. Her final Chatham residence was in a lovely rural area with horses and rolling hills that mirrored her childhood outside St. Louis, Missouri, where she was raised on a 40-acre farm with forested hills and her own equine partner, Diamond. She had recently retired after two years working hard on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Claverack, mirroring again the hard work exerted in her youth on behalf of the family enterprise, Witte’s Country Grocery and Dime Store.

In between those bookends was a grand, episodic adventure lived by a fiercely independent woman displaying creativity, courage, intellectual brilliance and an outsize sense of humor. Innovative and entrepreneurial, she founded a progressive change management consultancy in London (Dent Lee Witte, Plc). At its height, it reinvented the HR department of the British House of Commons. Through her work with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Ms. Witte also co-founded their change management practice and, separately, started the UK’s first-ever virtual consultancy. Upon returning to the US, she provided executive coaching to a future CEO of IBM, then traveled to China to help create a cradle-to-grave executive development and talent identification program for one of IBM’s largest telecommunications partners.

Beyond those professional accomplishments, she was a devoted daughter to Charles and Virginia Witte; a loving sister to her brother, Mike and sister-in-law to his wife, Sally. She deeply cherished her nephews, Griff (Emily Bliss), Spence (Amanda Bernal) and Drew (Kelly Farber) and grand-nieces Gillian and Eleanor. Her huge, generous love was returned in kind.

All who knew her were awed by her booming, infectious laugh and her joyous love of life. Her family will forever imagine “Aunt Ha” waving farewell, glass of red wine in hand, steering her beloved silver convertible into the sunset.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ms. Witte’s name to the cancer charity of one’s choice would be greatly welcomed. A gathering of remembrance will be held at a future date. For information contact Michael Blasl at French, Gifford, Preiter & Blasl Funeral Home, , 518-392- 2811. Condolences may be conveyed at

Linda L. Thomas (1949 – 2017)

STOCKPORT—Linda L. Thomas, 68, of Stockport, a lifelong resident of Columbia County, died Saturday, November 11 at her home after a long illness, with her family by her side.

She was the daughter of the late Raymond and Velma (Coons) Knott of Hudson.

Mrs. Thomas is survived by her loving husband of 50 years, Richard E. Thomas of Stockport and their three children, two daughters, Stacey Thomas of Stuyvesant and Stephanie Thomas-Hanaman of Ghent and son, Richard A. Thomas of Stockport.

She was the proud grandmother of eight grandchildren, Kilee Thomas of Stuyvesant, Brandon, Nathan, Dylan and Katelyn Hanaman of Ghent and Liam, Patrick and Haley Thomas of Stockport. She is also survived by her sister, Beth (Robert) MacGiffert of Greenport and two brothers, Paul (Kay) Knott of Keeseville and Steven Knott of Stuyvesant, along with many nieces and nephews.

After raising their family. Mrs. Thomas went to work for the NYS Senate Services and retired after 19 years. She was devoted to and truly loved her family and friends and appreciated the simpler things in life. She especially loved spending time at their lakeside camp in the Adirondacks where she could relax, fish and enjoy her family and friends.

A memorial service will be held December 2, 2017 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the M. Grimaldi Funeral Home, 25 Railroad Avenue, Chatham.

The family requests, in lieu of flowers, consider donations in her memory to the ASPCA or to a charitable organization of one’s choice.

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