OBITUARIES: Schmitt, Berniker

Robert W. Schmitt (1947 – 2018)
AUSTERLITZ—July 31, 2018, on a hazy summer day, “our beloved Bob” was brought to peace.

Robert William Schmitt, at the age of 71, passed with loved ones by his side.

Born March 5, 1947, he grew up in Sayville, son of the late Frederick William Schmitt (1915 – 2006) and Mary Veronica (Burke) Schmitt (1917 – 1998).

During college, Mr. Schmitt studied anthropology and was a voracious lifelong reader of all matters of philosophy, spirituality, nature, travel, history, biographies and whatever else he could lay his mind and eyes upon. In 1966, he left college to serve in the Army and later returned to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, from SUNY Stony Brook in 1971. Professionally, Mr. Schmitt retired from the Columbia County Probation Department where he ably and compassionately served as a probation officer. Prior to that, he had been a social worker. A lover of yoga and meditation, Mr. Schmitt was always centered and gave everyone around him a sense of peace and calm. He lived humbly and gave generously to charities with missions aligning with his core values, most notably environmental conservation organizations and those focused on relief of the poor and underserved. In his lifetime, he planted over one million trees.
He and his wife, Alise enjoyed nature walks in the woods, snowshoeing, camping and cross-country skiing together. If she expressed a dream to visit a far-off place, he made it happen. Together they kayaked in Crete, swam in Tahitian waters, chartered a sailboat in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, gazed upon the desert flowers in New Mexico, and dog-sledded in New Hampshire, to name but a few of their many excursions. Mr. Schmitt also adventured alone from time to time, exploring the splendor of Glacier National Park, telemark skiing in Alaska, climbing the Annapurnas in Nepal, and hiking up (in summer) and skiing down (in winter) just about every mountain he could find.
Mr. Schmitt was wise, generous, and inspiring, a beloved husband, father, Opa, brother, uncle and friend. He will be dearly, sorely missed.

He is survived by: his wife, Alise tenVoorde; son, Nicholas Aaron Schmitt of Taos, NM; step-daughters, Audrey Gould (Jason) of Bedford, MA, and Jill Weiner (Andrew Levine) of Cary, NC; grandson, Arthur Ysidro Schmitt; granddaughters, Rachel Lily Gould, Molly Violet Gould, Amelia Francine Levine, and Johanna Wynne Levine; brother and “best bud,” James “Jimmy” Schmitt (Robin) of West Stockbridge, MA; sister, Patricia “Patty” Oswald and brother-in-law, Kevin Oswald of Blue Point; nieces, Meghan Oswald, Christina Rank (Josh), and Annie Oswald, as well as extended family and many dear friends. A private celebration of Mr. Schmitt’s life will be held at a future date to celebrate him and the wisdom and joy he brought to “our” lives.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203 (Tax ID 53-0242652) or the Salvation Army, 440 West Nyack Road, West Nyack 10994-1753 (Tax ID 13-5562351). Arrangements are with the Wenk Funeral Home, 21 Payn Avenue, Chatham. Online condolences may be left at

Heather D. Berniker (1944 – 2018)

PITTSFIELD, MA—Heather Dawn Berniker of Hillsdale passed away July 9, 2018 at the Berkshire Medical Center.

She was born June 28, 1944 in Minehead, United Kingdom. She spent her formative years in Minehead and the Isle of Wight.

With a love of jazz, Mrs. Berniker worked in senior secretarial roles for numerous record companies, including RCA. Upon moving to the United States in the 1970s this is where she remained.

She resided in Hillsdale supported by her friends after the passing of her husband Michael Berniker. She was well-known for her strong opinions and vivacious presence. She will be missed by all that knew her.

A memorial gathering was held locally Sunday July 29, 2018 and a private gathering will be held back in her native homeland.

Arrangements were with the Peck and Peck Funeral Home, 8063 Route 22, Copake. To send an online condolence visit

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