OBITUARIES: Houlihan, Schnackenberg, Fix, Howe

Tracey W. Houlihan (1972 – 2020)

ALBANY—Tracey Woolworth Houlihan, 47, of Valatie passed away March 14, 2020 at St. Peter’s Hospital after an heroic battle with pancreatic cancer.

She was born at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City to Sarah W. and John F. Houlihan. She and her family moved to Stockport in 1979 from New York City. She attended Ichabod Crane Schools from second grade through high school, and graduated in 1990.

From there she went to Columbia-Greene Community College where she earned an associate’s degree in art. She continued her pursuit of an artistic degree at Sage College of Albany, where she earned a BA degree with honors. While at Sage she pursued art and for a short time managed the Opalka Gallery there. She always painted or drew whenever she could. Her art was quite polished and her family and friends loved to get the cards or pictures that she made for them. After college she travelled across the country to Lake Tahoe, NV, where she met her husband, Daniel O’Brien. They married and moved to Australia, where they lived for a year before coming back to the U.S. to live in Stockport. They since divorced.

She is survived by: her mother, Sarah (Sally) Kleemann; stepbrother, Gunnar Kleemann; stepsister-in-law, Karen Valdez; nieces, Tara and Belle Kleemann; aunt, Susan W. Stafford; uncle, John Stafford; cousins, David and Jeffrey Stafford; and aunt and uncle, Carol Woolworth and Sandy Woolworth. She was predeceased by her father, John Houlihan; stepfather, Ronald Kleemann; her grandmothers and grandfathers, Kleemann and Woolworth.

Ms. Houlihan had many many friends throughout Columbia County and all over the country. Almost everyone she met immediately became her friend. One of her favorite pastimes was helping out anyone who needed it. She genuinely loved “her” people and they her.

Services will be private. Ms. Houlihan asked to be cremated and unfortunately, because of the coronavirus restrictions, there will be no visitation except for the most immediate family.

“There will be a Celebration of Life for her this summer when (hopefully) the danger is past, so save up your memories and prayers for her until then. She’ll be watching!”

Arrangements are with the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie.

Jurgen Schnackenberg (1933 – 2020)

CLAVERACK—Jurgen Schnackenberg, 87, of Claverack died peacefully at his home Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Born in Deinstedt, Germany, March 14, 1933, he was the son of the late Friedrich and Anna (Heins) Schnackenberg. His upbringing on a dairy farm instilled in him the strong work ethic that allowed him to build a longstanding business as a contractor after emigrating to the U.S. in 1953. He was also a devoted member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hudson and a past member of the Chatham Lions Club.

Mr. Schnackenberg’s greatest joys were creating custom homes and tending to his vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. He was generous with both his knowledge and harvests. He also greatly enjoyed traveling the East Coast with his wife and visiting family in Germany as often as they were able.

He will be greatly missed by: his beloved wife, Natalie (Rindfleisch) Schnackenberg at home; sons, Werner (Sabine), Fritz (Kathleen), Jurgen (Melissa); brothers, Friedrich (Marlis), Georg (Christa); sisters, Margarete (Walter) Wilkens, Maria Neddens; his 12 grandchildren, Eric, Philip, Theo, Noah, Linda, Tanya, Adam, Ryan, Natalie, Katerina, Gabriel and Zackary; five great-grandchildren, Connor, Travis, Tucker, Hannah and Emma. He was predeceased by one brother, Ernst, and his sister, Elisabeth Nibuhr.

His family thanks the dedicated staff of Community Hospice who provided such loving care and support over the last several months. Donations in his memory may be made to Community Hospice, 47 Liberty Street, Catskill 12414.

Calling hours and funeral services were held Friday March 20, 2020 at Sacco Funeral Home, 700 Town Hall Drive, Greenport. Following cremation his burial will be private.

Thomas W. Fix (1959 – 2020)

VALATIE—Thomas William Fix, 60, born July 26, 1959, a longtime resident of Valatie, passed away after a brief illness, March 17, 2020.

“Tom” was a welder at Mooradian Hydraulics in Castleton. He loved all outdoor adventures, fishing, hunting, boating, camping and was very fond of a relaxing campfire, especially in Newcomb.

He is survived by: his girlfriend, Polly Coogan of Colonie; parents, Bill and Phyllis Fix of Valatie; sisters, Susan (Jay) Kuhar of Naples, FL, Kathleen (Kai) Sabens of Sleepy Hollow and Joyce Fix-Devenpeck (the late Stuart) of Malta; his nieces and nephews, Dayna (John), Jake, Andrew (Cassie), Virginia and Juliette; and his beloved dog, Murphy. He will miss and be missed conversing with his after workmates at Four Brothers.

There is a private family service planned at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street, Valatie, as well as a Celebration of Life barbecue, July 26, 2020 at Kinderhook Lake Community Hall, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A service takes place from 11 a.m. to noon. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Valatie Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Valeta W. Howe (1929 – 2020)

RUTLAND, VT—Valeta W. Howe died peacefully in Rutland Regional Medical Center, Sunday, March 15, 2020 at the age of 90.

She is survived by: her daughter, Katherine (Martin) Overington; son, John (Evan Eyler) Walters; grandchildren, Kathie McFarland and Devin Overington; great-granddaughter, Abigail McFarland, and her sister, Velma Wilson. She was preceded in death by: son, Tom Walters; siblings, Howard (Fran), Lee (Barb), Ronald (Joyce) and Morris Wilson.

She was particularly close to two nieces who survive her, Carol (Ron) Maurer and Carolyn (Dan) Wilson, and another niece who preceded her in death, Constance (Pete) Newell.

She was born August 27, 1929 in Cadillac, Michigan. She was the sixth child born to her parents, Ray Wilson and Agnes (Root) Wilson. They struggled to make ends meet through the Great Depression. As with many in her generation, the experience had a lifelong effect.

She graduated from Cadillac High School in 1948. After a brief first marriage, she married Herman Walters in 1954. They had three children together, John, Katherine and Tom, and divorced in 1975. She later married Reuel Howe, who died in 1985.

Mrs. Howe was a largely self-taught artist dedicated to exploring different media and themes. Among her works are oil and watercolor paintings, ink sketches, miniature sculptures built inside eggshells, quilts, and a four-by-three-by-two-foot dollhouse, which was made from scratch and took nine years to complete. She liked to say that she built the house she never got to enjoy as a child.

She also partnered with Reuel in pastoral work, art therapy and writing projects. Their partnership was productive and fulfilling for both of them.

Her son, Tom suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in a 1978 auto accident. He survived for another 26 years, but required around-the-clock care. For almost all of those years, he lived in the Evangelical Home–Saline, which provided excellent care. After her son’s accident, Mrs. Howe moved to Ann Arbor and took charge of providing much of his care and supervising other caregivers. It was a heroic feat, beyond the capacity—or even comprehension— of most individuals. Katherine and John will always be grateful for her commitment to her children, especially in times of crisis.

In her later years, she contracted Alzheimer’s disease, which tested her relationships with her family. Tested, but never broke; until the end, she recognized—in some way—those who were closest to her.

A memorial service will be held sometime in the future, most likely in or near her hometown of Cadillac. Time and details remain uncertain, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic. Family and friends will be notified when details are finalized. In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations to the Germantown Library, 31 Palatine Park Road, Germantown 12526, which is an important resource in her daughter Katherine’s community, where her mother lived for several years after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. The library hosted the last public exhibit of Mrs. Howe’s artwork.

The family thanks the staff and management at Bromley Manor in Manchester Center, Vermont, which cared for Mrs. Howe in the final months of her life.

Comments are closed.