OBITUARIES: Howard, Connor, Cleveland, Derby, Smith, Bucci, Rex, Miller, Byrnes, Mergenthaler, Bates

Phyllis Howard

Phyllis Howard (1931 – 2021)

STEPHENTOWN—Phyllis Knowlton Hyde Howard, age 89, a longtime resident of Stephentown passed away peacefully at home February 8, 2021 with her daughter, Allison and her two cats by her side.

She was the beloved wife of 30 years of her late husband, Norris Howard, who passed away in 1995. Born in Malone, the younger of two children, she was the daughter of the late Archie William Hyde and Gladys Knowlton Hyde.

Mrs. Howard received her BA from Smith College in Northampton, MA, and her MEd from St. Lawrence University in Canton. She worked as a teacher in Boston before marrying and moving to the Darrow School, New Lebanon in 1965, where her husband taught English. They adopted their daughter, Allison in June 1969.

Mrs. Howard was an amazing cook and delighted in preparing sumptuous meals for family and friends, of which she had many. Ice cream was a must have at the end of every meal, a love that endured throughout her life. She was an active member of The Church of Our Saviour in Lebanon Springs and was truly devoted to the service of others. She was a long-time driver for Meals on Wheels and taught reading through Literacy Volunteers of America. She also enjoyed being part of a choir group in Pittsfield, MA, for 30 years.

Her favorite place on earth was her beloved Lake Titus in the Adirondack Mountains. She spent summers at the family “camp,” where she was third generation. Time at camp included hiking, swimming, and canoe/kayak adventures, along with board games and puzzles with family and friends by the fire after dinner. Chinese checkers and hearts were particular favorites of hers. Another constant throughout her life was her love of and devotion to her cats and dogs and her deep level of care and concern for all wild things. But above all, she was devoted to her family. In addition to raising her daughter, she became a surrogate mother to her two nephews, John and Andy Pickett, after their mother and her older sister, the late Judith Hyde Pickett, passed away in 1966. Her later years, after her husband’s death, were spent traveling with Allison to places she always wanted to visit. She was a remarkable, kind, caring and inquisitive woman who will be dearly missed.

She is survived by: her daughter, Allison Howard of Stephentown; her nephew, John Pickett of Sudbury, MA; her nephew, Andrew Pickett of Lincoln, MA, and her surrogate grandchildren, Kaitlin Pickett of Nice, France, and Alexander Pickett of Boston, MA. A private memorial service will be held this summer at St. John’s in the Wilderness Church in Paul Smiths, just south of Lake Titus. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Berkshire Humane Society Arrangements were with the Hall & Higgins Funeral Home. To share a memory visit

Sean Connor

Sean G. Connor (1962 – 2021)

ALBANY—Sean Guy Connor, 59, of Valatie died Thursday, February 11, 2021 at St. Peters Hospice.

Born January 21, 1962 in Framingham, MA, he was the son of the late William E. Connor and Bette Jane (Aubrey) Connor. He was an advocate with the Apogee Center in Hudson. He was a loving son, brother and uncle and will be greatly missed by his stepmother, Patricia Connor; his brother, David (Patricia); his sisters, Pamela (Joseph), Melissa (William), Lori (James); his nephews and niece, Jason, Morgan, Nicholas and Jenny.

There are no calling hours, private burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Chagrin Falls, OH. Memorial contributions are requested to the Apogee Center, 160 Fairview Avenue Suite # 816, Hudson 12534. To leave online condolences visit

Richard H. Cleveland, Sr. (1934 – 2021)

NORTH HILLSDALE—Richard H. Cleveland, Sr., a/k/a, “Dick” or “Pop,” of North Hillsdale passed away Friday, February 12 of natural causes at his home. He had been battling health issues for several years. He was 86 years old.

Mr. Cleveland was a devoted and loving husband, father, grandfather “Poppa,” and great-grandfather, whose love and generosity was unwavering. He has touched the lives of so many with his kind words and warm heart. He served during the Korean war in the United States Navy. He owned the Gulf station in Hillsdale for many years, but was a truck driver at heart.

He is remembered by: his six children, Sharon, Karen, Richard Jr., Randy, Danny, Carrie and their spouses; 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by his loving wife of 60 years, Carolyn Cleveland; his grandson, Randy Jr., and great-granddaughter, Faith Cleveland.

Per his wishes, there will be no formal services. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Copake Community Rescue Squad for all of their dedication and assistance over the years. Express condolences at

Gerald Derby

Gerald W. Derby (1940 – 2021)

STEPHENTOWN—Gerald W. “Duke” Derby, 81, formerly of Hancock, MA, died Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at his home in Stephentown.

He was born in Pittsfield, MA, February 7, 1940, the son of the late Frank and Gertrude Sherman Derby. He was raised in Hancock, MA, and was a graduate of New Lebanon High School. He lived all over Berkshire County and has lived in Stephentown for the past 25 years.

He was employed at various horse and cow farms throughout the area. He was also a welder and later was employed by the Sweet Brook Nursing Home in Williamstown, MA, as a truck driver. He operated a pet store in the Cumberland Farms Plaza at routes 43 & 22 in Stephentown for a few years.

He was an excellent artist, woodworker and carpenter. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and loved watching western movies especially starring John Wayne and that is how he received the nickname “Duke.”

He is the husband of Dorothy “Dottie” Volff; father of Brenda Derby-Elman of New Lebanon; brother of Sherman (Sandra) Derby of Hancock, MA, Ronald (Mary Ann) Derby of Port St. Lucie, FL, Paul (Helen) Derby of Pittsfield, MA, Ed (Jan) Derby of Hancock, MA, and the late Pamela Curry and Letisha Leahy; grandfather of Marissa, Jennifer, Angela, Donald and Kenneth; great-grandfather of Eric, Catalaya and Nicholas; step-father of Tina (Andrew) Lack, John (Audrey) Volff, Jr. and Tanya (James) Snyder. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held privately at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are by the Hall & Higgins Funeral Home in Stephentown. Sign the condolence book at

Barbara Smith

Barbara F. Smith (1934 – 2021)

GHENT—Barbara Friss Smith, 86, of Ghent passed away peacefully with her family by her side, Friday, February 12, 2021.

Born November 8, 1934 in Hudson, she was a lifelong resident of Columbia County and took great pride in reminiscing about events and stories. She will be greatly missed by many. She was a life-long member of the People’s Bible Church in Claverack. She will be remembered for her caring personality and for her compassion. She welcomed people into her home as a family care provider for more than 19 years through ODHEC. She was an active member of the local family care chapter of ODHEC for more than 10 years, serving as vice president. Family and friends will miss her zest for life, quick wit and hearty laugh. They take comfort knowing that she is in heaven with her Lord and Savior and they will be reunited again.

Mrs. Smith is survived by: her daughters, Maryellen, and Paula (Doug); brothers and sister, Bobbie, Gary and Kathy; grandchildren, Monique (Pastor Paul), Dennis, Brittany (Justin) and Sabrina; nine great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren, along with many cousins, nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, William Smith; sisters, Connie, Dolores and Elaine.

Visitation hours at the Bates & Anderson-Redmond & Keeler Funeral Home are Wednesday, February 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a funeral service at 1 p.m. Interment will be in Cedar Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Capital City Rescue Mission or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Anthony Bucci

Anthony M. Bucci (1938 – 2021)

HUDSON—Anthony “Tony” M. Bucci, son of Dominic and Alice (Smith) Bucci, born February 18, 1938 passed away peacefully with his family by his side, February 12, 2021 at Columbia Memorial Hospital.

In 1960, he married his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Judith Ann DiCintio.

In addition to his beloved wife, Judy, he is survived by; his sister, Elena “Buffy” (Bucci) Burdick of Mechanicville; his sons, A. Michael Bucci and his wife Dawn (Sherman) Bucci of Greenport, Robert J. Bucci and his husband Chris Boneau of New York City; grandsons, Anthony M. Bucci III and his wife, Kimberly (Daigle) Bucci of Los Angeles, CA, Dominic J. Bucci and his wife Elizabeth (Kading) Bucci and their daughter, Elliana Elizabeth Bucci of Greenport, Kristofer J. Bucci of Ghent; many nieces, nephews and countless friends.

Born and raised in Hudson, he grew up in the family restaurant, Bucci’s LaBella Napoli on Warren Street.

He attended the Hudson City School District and graduated in 1956.

He was active in football, baseball and basketball and was voted “Most Popular” in his class.

Among his fondest memories as a child were summers spent fishing with his family at their cottage on Lake Taghkanic.

He was drafted into the Army in 1956 and served in the National Guard until 1958.

He began a long and a distinguished career at IBM in 1958 until his celebrated retirement as a purchasing manager in 1994.

After his time at IBM, he enjoyed bartending at local bars and restaurants. He was the “bartender’s bartender” making people smile with a joke or a funny story.

He served as volunteer fireman for 50+ years in Hudson, was a very active lifetime member of the Elk’s Club, and spent summers coaching Little League baseball in Hudson.

A devoted family man, his pride was boundless for his sons’ sporting and performing activities. His proudest moments came as they grew into adulthood and excelled as a prestigious local CPA and a New York marketing executive.

His passion in retirement was to follow his grandsons, Dominic and Kristofer’s sporting events and Tony’s many musical and theatrical activities.

Affectionately known to his friends and family as “Chooch,” he had an uncanny ability to name the singer or the song in just a few notes.

His laughter was profound, his smile was contagious and his friendships were lifelong.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated February 15, 2021 from Holy Trinity St. Mary’s Parish in Hudson.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Church of the Holy Trinity, the Sons & Daughters of Italy or a charity of one’s choice.

Visit to leave condolences.

Joy Rex (1946 – 2021)

ALBANY—Joy Rex, 74, of Greenport passed away Wednesday, February 10, 2021 in Albany.

The third of nine, born September 5, 1946 in Sharon, CT, she was the daughter of Charles and Marjorie (Sherman) Ostrander.

She was a certified nursing assistant at Ghent Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Her compassion and skills were unmatched, and she loved to teach new nurses through her expertise. Her kind, gentle, hardworking traits were admired by many. She loved her family, and cherished any time spend with her children and grandchildren.

She will be forever loved and remembered by: her children, Sandra Rex (David Bray), Brandy Rex, Shenandoah Rex (Tabitha) and Cheyenne Rex; her grandchildren, Tre Steward, Colin, Arabella, Diamond, Elijah, Jaden, Cheyenne Jr., Cameron and Sage (Dawn) Rex, Megan, Logan, Autumn, Jacob and Parker Bailey, Nicole Maurer and Dandre Rivera; three great-grandchildren, Sophia Bramble, Leo Bailey and Thea Vail Steward. Joy loved cats, and she leaves behind her two furry babies, Lucifer and George.

A Memorial gathering in the summer will be announced. Visit to leave condolences.

Deryll Miller

Deryll J. Miller (1952 – 2021)

COPAKE—It is with infinite sadness that his family notes the passing of Deryll J. Miller, 69, of Copake, Sunday, February 14, 2021.

Born January 29, 1952 in Hudson, he was the son of the late George Jr. and Evelyn (Smith) Miller.

He attended the Roeliff Jansen Central School. Like his father, “Junior,” he started working as a farmer. He later on worked for the Town of Copake highway department as a MEO for many years. In 1998, he began working at the Taconic State Park in Copake Falls as a park worker and weed harvester operator until he retired in 2018.

Left to cherish his memory are his devoted and loving family: his wife of 48 years, Cindy (Bonafide) Miller; his daughters, Melissa Miller and Jennifer (David) Mosher; his adoring granddaughters, the lights of his life, Elora and Sophia Mosher to whom he was “Grampy.”

He was one of seven brothers and sisters, surviving are: Betty Elaine Miller, Marcia (Dennis) Brunow, Wayne (Fran) Miller, Nancy Luther, George Miller and Dennis (Shelley) Miller. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his sister and brother-in-law, Joanne and Amon Holt.

In 1970, he joined the Copake Fire Company. He held the titles of firefighter, captain, lieutenant, assistant chief and chief. He was dedicated to that fire company that no matter the call, day or night, even when he lived in Catskill, he would be there.

He was a co-chairman of the FASNY softball tournament in 1992. In the volunteer firemen’s softball league, he pitched for the Copake Fire Department’s softball team and also as the coach, lead the team to many first place victories.

In 2020, he became a 50-year life-member of the fire company and was recognized by FASNY for his dedicated service.

In both 2017 and 2020, he was honored by the Red Knights Motorcycle Club for his service with the fire company.

He was a hard-working man who would do anything for his family and his friends. He also enjoyed watching NASCAR, the Yankees and wrestling.

His family meant everything to him and he to them.

Friends and relatives may call at the Peck and Peck Funeral Home, 8063 Route 22, Copake, Saturday, February 20, 2021 from 2 to 5 p.m.. A brief ceremony will conclude the services. Internment will be at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Kidney Foundation at, the American Stroke Association at, the Copake Fire Company, 390 County Route 7A, Copake 12516 or the Community Rescue Squad at

To send an online condolence visit

Mary Byrnes

Mary P. Byrnes (1930 – 2021)

COPAKE—Mary Patricia Byrnes passed away at home surrounded by her loving family, Sunday, February 14, 2021. A loving mother of eight children, she entered the eternal gates of heaven at the age of 90.

She was born at home May 10, 1930 in New York City to Patrick and Julia (Lynch) O’Brien. She graduated from St. Alphonsus Commercial School in lower Manhattan in 1947. She went to work for Dupont in the photo products area. She married Robert Byrnes in June 1949 and together raised eight children, Kevin, Martin, Lawrence, Thomas, Noreen, Robin, Patricia, and Margaret.

Leaving the NYC area in February 1960, she and the family moved to Yorktown Heights. While raising her family, she worked as a legal secretary, owned an ice cream parlor in Peekskill, and worked at a dry cleaner’s where she enjoyed much interaction with her customers. As her children grew and departed the nest to raise their own families, she moved next to her daughter, Patricia in Copake in 2003. Above all things, she had a passion for her family. She loved the many family reunions and gatherings where noise levels due to laughter and love were high. She would sit back and smile with a look that said: “I did that!” She was most proud of her Irish heritage. Both her parents were born and raised in Ireland and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1920s. She was known for her quick wit, ever a quick retort, coupled with that mischievous, infectious smile.

She was also quite fond of John Wayne, dedicating a room in her home to “The Duke.” She was an avid reader, who impressed all with the rate at which she consumed books. Her family knew her to be an uncommonly brilliant person; thoughtful and well-read in all things. She was a strong woman, who knew who she was—her own person, strong, proud, an example to her daughters, sons, and grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by: her father, Patrick; her mother, Julia; two grandchildren, Randy Williams and Elizabeth Byrnes. She is survived by: her children, Kevin (Paula) Byrnes of AL, Martin Byrnes of CO, Lawrence Byrnes of Highland Mills, Thomas (Diane) Byrnes of FL, Noreen (Tony) Praino of Carmel, Robin (Randall) Williams of CO, Patricia (Shawn) McClain) of Copake and Margaret Busch of Watervliet; her sister, Margaret Brunner of FL; 27 grandchildren; 36 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at Peck and Peck Funeral Home, 8063 Route 22, Copake, Tuesday, February 23, 2021 from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will then be celebrated at Our Lady of Hope at 1 p.m. Inurnment will take place privately at Rose Hill Cemetery in Putnam Valley.

Deborah Mergenthaler

Deborah Mergenthaler (1961 – 2021)

ALBANY—Deborah Mergenthaler, 59, of Germantown passed away Saturday, February 6, 2021 at Albany Medical Center.

Born July 26, 1961 in Rhinebeck, she was the daughter of the late Fred and Mabel Dorothy (Pulver) Mergenthaler.

She is survived by her: lifelong companion 42 years, Henry Bauder, Sr., of Germantown; her loving children, Suezen (Anthony) Bauder and Henry (Robyn) Bauder, both of Germantown; her siblings, Fred Mergenthaler of Saugerties, Robert Mergenthaler of Mexico, Stephen Mergenthaler of Tivoli, Sarah Wentzel of Germantown, and Dorothy Funk of Germantown; her loving grandchildren, Eliza, Kirsten, Victor, Jasmine, Abby and Hunter; along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends who truly loved her.

A brother, Donald Mergenthaler predeceased her.

Memorial calling hours will be held Wednesday, February 17, 2021 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Burnett & White Funeral Homes, 7461 South Broadway, Red Hook. Interment will be private.

Masks, social distancing and capacity limitations will be adhered to during all services.

Dorothy Bates (1928 – 2021)

MILLERTON—Dorothy “Dot” Bates, 92, a long-time area resident died peacefully in the comfort of her home Friday, February 5, 2021.

Born in New Milford, CT, in 1928, she was the daughter of the late Wesley and Sophie (Wegloski) Traver. Her father referred to her as his “favorite son” as they enjoyed many adventures together.

She was married to Ralph Edwin Breen, who passed away in 1955. She was remarried to Wheaton Joseph Bates, who died in 1996.

She is survived by: her sister, Elaine Zeitler of Pompano Beach, FL; a nephew and a niece; her two sons, Lynn David Breen of Port St. Lucie, FL, and Ralph Charles Breen of Glen Rose, TX; her daughter-in-law, Marilyn Bouck of Metaririe, LA; her daughter, Karen Bates Dubray of Ancramdale; 15 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren and a great-grandson due in July. Her eldest son, John Robert Breen died in 2009.

Mrs. Bates held many unique jobs throughout her life ranging from being a plane spotter during World War II to truck driving to bookkeeping. She was an avid reader who enjoyed studying, local history, genealogy and being outdoors to observe nature. She is best known for her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness. She was baptized in 1958 and for more than 60 years she could be found regularly at the Kingdom Hall or preaching in the door-to-door ministry. She loved sharing the Bible’s message of the Kingdom of God and hope for the future.

Her family thanks all those who helped with her care which allowed her to remain home and with family during her final days.

There are no calling hours. A memorial service will be held virtually at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Millerton Fire Company, P.O. Box 733, Millerton 12546. Arrangements are with the Scott D. Conklin Funeral Home, 37 Park Avenue, Millerton. To send online condolences visit

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