OBITUARIES: Easley, McCulloch, Johnson, Steerey, Gay, Harrison, Moses, Spiewak, Birmingham, Hamm, Sitzer, Mochrie, Shnayerson, Kline

Joe Tom Easley

Joe Tom Easley (1940 – 2022)

MIAMI BEACH, FL—Joe Tom Easley, 81, 37-year Columbia County resident, died peacefully February 13, 2022 in a hospital near his Miami Beach home of complications of lung disease, with his adoring husband of 39 years, Peter Freiberg, holding his hand.

Talented legal lecturer, dedicated LGBT and human rights activist, he was an extraordinary man whose aim in life was to do good—and he succeeded.

His parents, Lady Hampton and Tom Lee Easley, imbued him with both idealism and confidence. Having moved from a small Texas farming community to the iconic border city of Eagle Pass, they bought him a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at age 10 (this was Texas after all!), which he rode safely through high school. A graduate of Texas A&M, he was drafted during the Vietnam War and joined Naval Intelligence. After a year, a former friend told the military that Mr. Easley was gay. His commander in Adak, Alaska said he was required to kick him out, but his exemplary service would ensure he got an honorable discharge and veteran benefits. The military then paid for his three years at University of Texas Law School, where he became a prominent antiwar activist and during summers joined the first group of Ralph Nader’s “Nader Raiders” looking into government and corporate malfeasance.

Years later, Mr. Easley helped lead the LGBT group that won repeal in 2010 of the homophobic Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Pentagon policy, finally allowing LGBTs to serve openly. He was a pioneering board co-chair of Lambda Legal, aiding in the transformation of that group into an LGBT legal powerhouse. The breadth of his work is astonishing: among others, a civil rights project in Atlanta; investigating drug company price fixing in Europe; doing wills for people with AIDS; and joining the leadership of the Miami Design Preservation League. He taught at three law schools–University of Georgia, American and Antioch—then was a popular lecturer for 30 years in BAR-BRI, the nation’s largest bar exam preparation course. In 2003 he and Mr. Freiberg went to Toronto to legally marry, which became the first same sex wedding written up in the New York Times. In 2005, he gained national attention when he surmounted numerous obstacles to bring an Iraqi boy injured by an American bomb to the U.S. for medical treatment. Through it all, even when wheelchair-bound his last three years, he retained his optimism, his sense of humor, his famed storytelling abilities, his capacity to enjoy life in South Beach and at his Columbia County home; his lifelong love of books and country music (he and his husband’s favorite song was “I Could Waltz Across Texas with You.”)

His death left his husband bereft—and his family and many friends worldwide distraught—but with so many, many memories that will last their lifetimes. A memorial service, with Zoom option, will be held in Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 22; details TBA. Contributions in his memory may be made to Lambda Legal, the U.S. Holacaust Memorial Museum or the National Parks Foundation.

David McCulloch

David R. McCulloch (1936 – 2022)

FAIRFAX CITY, VA—David Robert “Bob” McCulloch died February 19, 2022.

He was born in Hudson, November 16, 1936 to David Stephen McCulloch, Jr., and Marion Bennett McCulloch. He was predeceased by his sister, Brenda McCulloch Italiano. A former United States Marine, he met Jane Elizabeth Miller in November 1962. They married in August 1963. In 1977, the McCulloch family moved to Fairfax City, VA, where they have resided for 44 years.

He had a long and successful career in the railroad industry spanning more than 50 years. His interest in railroading started early in his hometown of Chatham, a significant station on three different railroads: the Rutland, the B&A, and the historic Harlem Division of the New York Central.

He worked for New York Central, Penn Central, and Conrail railroads and began his career as a station agent, then continued on to towerman, brakeman and conductor. After being promoted to the operating department, he served in various official positions at terminals, divisions, and regions, before moving up to system-wide responsibility levels.

His impressive experience at essentially all levels of railroad operations led to his hiring by Booz·Allen & Hamilton as a key member of their Transportation Consulting Division. In this role, he developed operating strategies, merger analyses, operational and productivity improvement plans, and reorganization analyses for various clients across the country and throughout the world. Eventually he worked in every hemisphere on projects in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Georgia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Mr. McCulloch founded DRM Consulting after leaving Booz-Allen, continuing to work on projects for clients who had learned to rely on his expertise when they needed extra help. He had earned the respect of so many in the industry that he was able to continue to work as long as he pleased. He was active with multiple Railroad Historical Societies and maintained strong professional and personal relationships within the industry throughout his lifetime.

Railroading was his vocation and his avocation. In addition to this, he enjoyed traveling the world, family gatherings, and the annual McCulloch beach trip to the Outer Banks, NC.

He is survived by: his wife, Jane; five children and their spouses, Mary Jane and Robert Dunn of Burlington, CT; Dave and Angie McCulloch of Huntingdon Valley, PA; Tim and Serena McCulloch of Bristow, VA; Megan and Ross Baker of Fairfax City, VA; and Rob and Dana McCulloch of Vienna, VA; grandchildren, Jeremy, Teagan and Ian Dunn, Melissa, Tyler and Samantha McCulloch, Claire and Tristan Baker and Patrick, Elise and Meara McCulloch; great-grandchildren, Iylah and Raelyn Dunn, Myla, Micah and Merrick McCulloch.

A memorial service was held March 4 at the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home in Fairfax, VA.

In lieu of flowers, the McCulloch Family requests donations to the following organizations of which Mr. McCulloch was an avid supporter: The Fisher House or St. Jude Hospital.

Frank Johnson

Frank E. Johnson (1940 – 2022)

ALBANY—Frank Edward “Ed” Johnson, 82, of Kinderhook entered into eternal rest and peace March 1, 2022.

He was the youngest born to Kenneth C. Johnson and Catherine H. (Miller) Johnson in Valatie. He was a graduate of Ichabod Crane High School, Class of 1958 where he was a standout athlete on the basketball, baseball, soccer and track and field teams. He was also a member of the Ghent Band in which he played the trumpet. In 1962 he entered into the U.S. Army where he was stationed at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, WA. After an honorable discharge in 1965 he returned home to Valatie and worked for 35 years at Sterling Winthrop. After retiring, Mr. Johnson loved following his Ichabod Crane Riders sports teams going to many home and away soccer, basketball and softball games. An active member at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Valatie, he volunteered at many of their programs and special events for church and community, such as the outreach dinners and Crop Walks. An avid NY sports fan, he loved watching the Rangers, Giants and Yankees. He had many fond memories of taking the train with his father to see the Yankees play in the late 1940s and early 50s. He also loved going to RPI hockey games and summer adventures to the Saratoga Race Track and Racino.

Mr. Johnson is survived by: his children, Tamara Johnson, Randy Johnson; granddaughter, Natalie Johnson; sister, Sherrill Harder; several nephews, nieces, many cousins and lifelong friends throughout Columbia and Rensselaer counties. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Kenneth and William; his first wife, Pamela in 1966 and his wife of 50 years, Cheryl in 2019.

A Memorial and Remembrance service was held at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 1010 Kinderhook Street, Valatie March 8. Family and friends were invited to a reception in the Fellowship Hall at St. Luke’s to share stories with coffee, beverages and dessert immediately following the service. Graveside services will take place when weather permits.

Donations in Mr. Johnson’s memory may be made in lieu of flowers to either St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Valatie or the Columbia- Greene Humane Society. Arrangements were with the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, 1015 Kinderhook Street (Route 9), Valatie. To send condolences visit

Eleanor C. Steerey (1926 – 2022)

GHENT—Eleanor Catherine Steerey, 95, of Ghent and formerly of Greenport, died Saturday, February 26, 2022 at the Ghent Rehab and Nursing Center.

Born June 2, 1926 in Rhinebeck, she was the daughter of the late Floyd and Catherine (Curtis) Bunk. She was the widow of Richard Steerey.

She was a life-member of the Hudson VFW with more than 50 years as a member. She is survived by: her son, William of Billings, MO; grandchildren, Matthew Steerey, Brad and Scott Hapeman and sister-in-law, Janice Bunk. She was predeceased by her daughter, Elaine Hapeman; daughter-in-law, Laurie Steerey; siblings, Herbert Bunk and Gladys Brehm also grandsons, Ryan and David Hapeman.

There are no calling hours. Memorial services may be announced in the spring. Arrangements are with the Sacco Funeral Home, 700 Town Hall Drive, Greenport. To leave online condolences visit

Vieve Gay

Genevieve M. Gay (1929 – 2022)

ALBANY—Genevieve M. “Vieve” Gay, 93, of Kinderhook died March 4, 2022 at St. Peter’s Hospital in after a hard-fought battle with Interstitial Lung Disease.

Born in Chicago, February 2, 1929, she was the daughter of the late Edith Josephine (Jeffcott) and Wilbur Arthur McKean.

On September 20, 1952, she married Robert C. Gay and they had 58 years of marriage.

A lifelong homemaker and mother of three sons, she also worked as a library aide at Ichabod Crane Middle and High Schools from 1977 to 1984.

She was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church of Valatie.

She was a life-member of NSDAR, Hendrick Hudson Chapter; life-member of the Greenport Historical Society; and life-member of and volunteer for the Columbia County Historical Society.

She was very proud of her Scottish ancestry, once traveling to her family’s ancestral home at Glencoe, Scotland.

Vieve was known for the colorful afghans that she created and donated to various charities.

Mrs. Gay is survived by: sons, Walter and Brian (Cindy) Gay, both of Valatie and two grandchildren, Howard Gay and Ellen Bury. Besides her parents and husband, she was also predeceased by her son, Malcolm; five brothers and one sister.

Funeral services will be Saturday, March 12, 2022, 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, Valatie. Burial will follow in the Kinderhook Cemetery, Kinderhook. Calling hours will be from 4 to 6 p.m., Friday, March 11, 2022 at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, Valatie.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Valatie or the Valatie Rescue Squad.

Marek Harrison

Marek A. Harrison (1971 – 2022)

NASSAU—Marek Austin Harrison, 50, of Nassau passed away at his home March 4, 2022.

Born September 8, 1971 in Peekskill, he was the son of the late William Henry Harrison and Nancy Marie (Valentine) Indorf of Stuyvesant and the husband of the late Amy Marie (Pampalone) Harrison.

Besides his mother, Nancy, he is also survived by: his stepfather, Fred; fiancée, Marcia Ann Slingerland; his sons, Tyler Harrison of Troy and Ryan Harrison of East Greenbush; stepson, Justin Bennett of Brooklyn; his sister, Nicole Milanes of Troy and his stepbrother, Connor Harrison. Calling hours will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 9 at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, Valatie. Memorial contributions may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

Andrew N. Moses (1958 – 2022)

GERMANTOWN—Andrew N. Moses, 63, of Germantown died Friday, March 4, 2022 at his home. Services will be private. Arrangements are with the Sacco Funeral Home, 700 Town Hall Drive, Greenport. To leave online condolences visit

Peter Spiewak

Peter Spiewak (1925 – 2022)

PHILMONT—Peter Spiewak, 87, of Greenport died peacefully Saturday, March 5, 2022 at Pine Haven Nursing and Rehab. Born in Hudson, February 25, 1935, he was the son of the late Walter and Catherine Spiewak.

He was employed for more than 25 years with Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, also the Finast Grocery Store. He was predeceased by his dear wife, Nancy E. Spiewak in 2019, and previously by his brother, John Singer.

Funeral services and burial was Tuesday March 8, 2022 at Cedar Park Cemetery Hudson. Arrangements were with the Sacco Funeral Home, 700 Town Hall Drive, Greenport. To leave online condolences visit

Mollie P. Birmingham (1923 – 2022)

POUGHKEEPSIE—Mollie Pitts Birmingham, with her Kitty snuggled next to her, passed away February 26, 2022, a year after suffering a stroke, and just 11 days before her 99th birthday.
Born in Exeter, Devon, England, March 9, 1923 to Arthur and Leticia (Gladys) Pitts, she enjoyed a happy childhood in Exeter with her parents and her beloved sister, Joan.
During World War II, she volunteered to serve in the English Women’s Land Army and Timber Corps. It was during that time, she met her husband, William “Bill” Birmingham, an American serving in the 8th Army Air Force in Thetford, England. They were married February 22, 1944 in Exeter.
With determination and fortitude, at just 22, she left the country and family that she loved to start her new life in America. Following the war, she and their young son, Michael, joined thousands of other war brides and their children on the voyage to America. She was welcomed and embraced by her husband’s large Irish family. Together they raised five children, Michael (Diane Amyot) Birmingham of Kinderhook, Sally (Lava) Thimmayya of Laramie, WY, Elizabeth (Mark) Villanti of Poughkeepsie, Jane (Glen Vining) Birmingham of Kingston and Jennifer (Kevin) Quattrone of Randolph. Sadly, her youngest daughter, predeceased here in August.
Her husband of 57 years, died in 2001.
Mrs. Birmingham was always independent in thought and unique in many ways. She had an unforgettable sense of style, reflected in her gardens and her home. She never wavered in her love for England, and visited there throughout her life. Her last visit to England was in 2010, at the age of 87, to visit her sister, Joan.
She had a great love for dogs, and over the years many dogs found their home on the farm, taking long walks with her in the fields. Three of her favorites were Max, Mugsie and Pup. She was an avid reader and she appreciated art. She enjoyed lifelong friendships including her Land Army friend, Rosina, and her beloved cousin, Aylmer, and his wife, Pat. Her charisma and love of conversation resulted in many visitors stopping by for a chat over tea.
She was well-loved by her 11 grandchildren, Tami and Todd, Amanda and Ned, Ben and Olivia, Rachel and Mollie, Katie, Erin and Nick and 12 great-grandchildren, Patrick and Michael, Kathleen, Natalie and Evan, Quill and Juniper, Lalo, Cosmo, and Alex and Elizabeth.

She was was predeceased by her great-granddaughter, Mattie Ann. She is survived by her sister’s three children in England, Judith, Richard and Pippa, and by her former daughter-in-law, Marilyn.
She continued to live on the beloved farm in Kill Buck, after her husband’s death, before moving to the Hudson Valley.  She lived for eight years in North Chatham, two years at The Fountains, Millbrook and most recently, at The Manor at Woodside in Poughkeepsie.
A memorial service will be planned in the late spring or early summer in Salamanca. The family suggests that instead of flowers, donations be made to Hudson Valley Hospice, 274 Violet Avenue, Poughkeepsie 12601, the Salamanca Public Library, 155 Wildwood Avenue, Salamanca 14779 or to any animal rescue group.

Pauline Hamm

Pauline F.W. Hamm (1942 – 2022)

VALATIE—Pauline Frances Williams Hamm, 79, of Valatie passed away peacefully March 6, 2022 at her home.

She was born November 19, 1942 in Hudson to Edward P. Williams and Jennie Youzwak Williams.

She was a student in the Ichabod Crane School District and was a seamstress at Riley’s Mill for multiple years. She enjoyed the company of many friends and family, and her love for Elvis Presley. She was a socialite and was known for her annual Christmas Eve bashes at her home. Her door was always open to anyone to lend a hand and a good cup of coffee. That’s how she was.

Mrs. Hamm is survived by: her two sons, Ronald Hamm and Ryan Hamm; two grandsons, Joshua Schermerhorn (Sarah Middaugh, his partner and long-term caretaker of Mrs. Hamm) of Valatie and Shawn Hamm of Stuyvesant; two sisters, Helen “Chink” Praga of Valatie, Sheila Usyk of Chatham Center and brother, Eugene “Pipper” Williams of Niverville. She had many cousins she cared very much for, especially Carol Williams, who checked on her everyday and Tonia Roberts, who she enjoyed long conversations with.

She predeceased by her husband, Robert S. Hamm; daughter, Linda M. Hamm; sisters, Jeanette Tator and Patricia Wheeler and a brother, Edward “Archie” Williams.

Calling hours will be 10a.m. to noon, Thursday, March 10 at the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, Valatie. A graveside service will follow at St. John’s Cemetery, Valatie.

Woody Sitzer

Carl R. Sitzer (1938 – 2022)

CHATHAM—Carl “Woody” R. Sitzer, 83, of Chatham passed away March 6, 2022 with his family by his side.

Born December 8, 1938 in Chatham he was the son of the late Kenneth and Sarah Thompson Sitzer.

He was predeceased by his loving wife of 63 years, Louise.

He leaves behind: his sons, John (Julie) of Valatie, Ken (Jen) of Ghent; granddaughters, Kayla Meehan (Robert) of Valatie, Tiffany (Bobby) of Kinderhook; sister, Joan Pratt of Florida; many nieces, nephews cousins and his loving cat, Misty.

Mr. Sitzer was employed by Columbia Corporation for more than 30 years, retiring in 1995.

His hobbies included woodworking, Lebanon Valley Speedway, car shows, Chatham Fair, riding his scooter around town, his love of wildlife and spending time with family and friends.

Family will receive friends at the French, Gifford, Preiter & Blasl Funeral Home Friday, March 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Chatham Rescue Squad. Mr. Sitzer and his wife will be interred at a later date. Condolences may be conveyed at

Brett Mochrie

Brett W. Mochrie (1993 – 2022)

GHENT—Brett W. Mochrie, 28, was called home to Heaven Sunday morning, March 6.

He was born to Stephen and Catherine Mochrie in Hudson alongside his twin brother.

He was working at Dollar General in Valatie for the past eight years. He is a 2012 graduate of Chatham High School. He is also a graduate of SUNY Delhi and Liberty University. His greatest joy was serving the Lord Jesus. He had a desire to become a youth pastor to continue his service. “Right now, he is with Jesus and singing praises in Heaven. He will be missed by his family and friends, who will rejoice in Heaven with him one day soon.” He is survived by: his parents, Steve and Catherine; twin brother, Brian; sister and brother-in-law, Brittany and Brandon Smith; niece, Linda; by his grandmother, Lorraine Mochrie; several aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was predeceased by: his uncles, Frank Mochrie, Chris McIntosh and Marty Kelly; grandparents, Ida Rieffanacht, John Frank and Frank Mochrie.

Services for will be held Friday, March 11, 2022, 11 a.m. at Cornerstone Fellowship Church, 62 Chatham Street, Kinderhook. A luncheon and fellowship will follow. A private burial will take place later.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to causes near to Mr. Mochrie’s heart: Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, NC 28607 and Child Evangelism Fellowship at CEF Albany, P.O. Box 251, Albany 12201.For online condolences visit

Bob Shnayerson

Robert B. Shnayerson (1926 – 2022)

HILLSDALE—Robert “Bob” Beahan Shnayerson, highly-admired editor at Life and Time in the glory days of Henry Luce’s magazine empire, as well as editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine and founder of Quest magazine, died March 6, 2022 at age 96 at his home in Hillsdale with his family by his side.

Through the course of a distinguished career as an editor and journalist, he held a ringside seat for much of the 20th century’s major events.

He was born in 1925 to Madalene Griffin, a nightclub singer, and Charles Beahan, a novelist and screenwriter. After his parents divorced when he was six, he lived with his mother and later also his stepfather Ned Shnayerson, a surgeon. During the Depression, the family was forced to live in his stepfather’s Manhattan office, where young Bob slept on the operating table and was subjected to anatomy lessons in the morgue. At age nine, he was sent by his parents to the progressive Manumit school in Pawling. At Manumit, students learned by doing, driving tractors and taking on farm chores.

After nearly a dozen schools, he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School at the onset of World War II and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, becoming a quartermaster on an oiler that fueled larger ships in the North Atlantic. With the war’s end, he entered Dartmouth College on the GI bill, graduating in 1950. That same year, he married Lydia Conde Todd, a classical pianist and music teacher.

He began his career as a junior police reporter at the New York Daily News. He moved on to Life, where he started as a runner carrying photos to and from the Time-Life picture lab. He quickly rose in the ranks to become Life’s bureau chief in Seattle, covering the entire Pacific Northwest. Once back in New York, he became a writer and senior editor for Time. He wrote 60 cover stories for the magazine during the tumultuous 1960s, invented and oversaw Time Special Issues—Black America, To Heal a Nation—and talked his superiors into starting two new sections: Law and the Environment. He also became known for his daily five-mile runs, so unusual that one Time’s “letter from the editor” lionized him for this curious practice called jogging.

In 1971 he was tapped to be editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine, replacing his predecessor, Willie Morris. He was seen as a steadier hand, although he dazzled the magazine world by assigning stories to Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, Simone de Beauvoir, and Germaine Greer, among others. He was a sensitive and principled editor, revered by his contributors, with a dry wit and marked modesty.

After leaving Harper’s in 1976, he started Quest magazine, a monthly dedicated to excellence in all its forms, and The Giraffe Society, which honored courageous people who stuck out their necks. He wrote a subscriber mailing letter for Quest which became legendary in the marketing industry and is still taught today. Quest lasted five years—a long ball in those days. His fascination with the law led him to write the authorized History of the Supreme Court of the United States (Abrams, 1986). In later years, he was a magazine and book consultant.

He had two children, Michael and Kate, by their mother, Lydia Todd, who died in 1973. In 1980, he married his wife, Laurie Platt Winfrey, a picture editor, with whom he had two daughters, Maggie and Bonnie.

In 1985, he and his wife discovered the great pleasures of Hillsdale. Returning to the outdoor work that he had loved as a child at Manumit, he delighted in tractor picnics with his grandchildren, friends and yellow rescue dogs. He was a listener and born storyteller who rarely hinted at his lifetime of voracious reading.

Along with his beloved wife and four children—Michael (Gayfryd Steinberg), Kate (Nadim Rouhana), Maggie, and Bonnie (Zachary Nusbaum)—he leaves three grandchildren: Jed and Adam Rouhana and Jenna Shnayerson.

His family is grateful for the care he received from Loretta McQuillen, Dom Nicklaus, and Barbara Arpante. Arrangements are under the direction of the Peck & Peck Funeral Home, in Copake. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations in his memory may be made to Report for America (an initiative of the GroundTruth Project), Citizens Climate Education (CCE), or the North Hillsdale Rural Cemetery Association, c/o Patti Proper, P.O. Box 490, Copake 12516. To leave a message of condolence visit

Ronald Kline

Ronald T. Kline (1936 – 2022)

PHILMONT—Ronald T. Kline, 85, of Valatie passed away Sunday, March 6, 2022 at Pine Haven Nursing Home.

Born April 27, 1936 in Hudson, he was the son of the late Claude and Mildred (Downing) Kline, Sr. “Ron” served in the Korean War with the U.S. Air Force. He was a very talented carpenter and retired from Williamsburg Transport Trucking in Saratoga Springs.

He is survived by: his loving wife of 48 years, Mary R. Kline (Perry); his children and stepchildren, Timothy, Kelly, Karen, Kim, Patricia, Deborah, Susan, Kathy and Laura and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, Ronnie Kline and two brothers, Claude Jr. and Allen R. Kline.

Funeral services will be private at the convenience of the family. Arrangements are under the direction of the Raymond E. Bond Funeral Home, Valatie.

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