Saturday, January 7, 2017

Those that left us in 2016.

Bovina saw a number of current and former citizens of our town pass away in 2016, including a mother- and daughter-in law and a former school teacher who was 102.

Dot Wright was 90 at her passing in January in North Bend, Oregon. Born Dorothy Cant in England in 1925, she served in the Women’s Land Army in England during World War II. While in service, she met Claude Wright. They were married in 1947 and operated a dairy farm in Bovina for 25 years. While living in Bovina, Dot was an election inspector. She continued serving as an inspector in Jefferson, NY when Dot and Claude moved there after retiring from farming. Claude died in 1998. Dot moved to Stamford and traveled and visited her grandchildren. She celebrated her 82nd birthday with an Alaskan cruise and was sometimes seen later on on the back of a Harley.

Edward Schneider was born in Bovina in 1914. He graduated from the Oneonta Normal School and was a teacher for a number of years in one-room schoolhouses. He was the last teacher in the Maynard School in Bovina. Ed later studied library science and worked for the Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta, where he met his wife Mellicent. Ed was 102 when he died in August.

Ed Schneider's High School graduation photo, 1932
Mary Behrer died unexpectedly in August when she was 68. Mary worked for a number of years at the Bovina Community Post Office. Mary was survived by her husband John and five children and nine grandchildren. Mary was noted as “the neighborhood mom,” taking in people who needed help.

Gladys Evers Wickswat passed away in early October at the age of 92. She came to Bovina in the 1970s, living on Coulter Brook Road and raising her two children. She worked for many years for LaFever Excavating. Gladys was active in the Bovina Historical Society and St. James Church. She was noted for her culinary skills and her advocacy for animals.

October also saw the passing of Stanley Rome at the age of 88. His obituary noted that “his life was simple and he always made the best of his time.” He loved tinkering, four-wheeling and snowmobiling and spending time with family and friends over good food and drink.

June Reinertsen Burns lived most of her life in Bovina and was the granddaughter of Norewegian immigrants Andrew and Sophia Reinertsen. After graduating from Delaware Academy, June received her associates’ degree in dental health. June married fellow Bovina native Jack Burns in 1961. They were farmers most of their lives, but also spent time traveling and skiing and enjoying their extended family and friends. June also was active in her community. She was the first woman elected as a member of the Bovina Town Board.  June battled her illness, amyloidosis, with great courage. When she realized she was losing the battle, she planned her funeral and insisted that a party be held at the Bovina Community Hall after the service.

June Reinertsen Burns - High School portrait, October 1958, photo by Bob Wyer, courtesy DCHA
Ten days after June’s death, her mother-in-law, Agnes V. Burns died at the age of 98. Agnes grew up on the family farm on Crescent Valley Road, attending the Maynard one-room school. She married Bob Burns in 1934 and would have three children while they raised pure-bred Holstein dairy cattle. After she was widowed, she became a Licensed Practical Nurse. Agnes pursued drawing and painting, as well as sewing and knitting. Agnes lived most of her life in Bovina, but spent a year in Albany for her nursing training and lived in Tehran for nine months with her daughter and family.

Agnes Burns, 1942, photo by Bob Wyer, courtesy DCHA
Former Bovina farmer John Renner died in November at the age of 99. John grew up in New Jersey but was a farmer on Coulter Brook Road for 20 years. His wife Marie died in 1995. He was survived by five children, thirteen grandchildren and twenty-two great grandchildren.
John Renner
Another former Bovina resident died in November, Mathilde “Tillie” Rabeler at the age of 96. Mathilde Menke was born in Germany in 1920. The family moved to Brazil in 1924 and came to the United States in 1930. She spent the rest of her childhood in Bovina and married Paul Rabeler, where she and Paul ran the family dairy farm on Bovina Road. Tillie was widowed in 2000.
Tillie Menke Rabeler, photo provided by her son Steve.
November also saw the sudden death of Kokie L. Hunter-Zilla at the age of 44. Kokie was the daughter of Gerald Richard Irving Hunter and Judy Ann Renner. Her obituary noted that she “loved to laugh but mostly loved to make other people laugh…” and was noted for “pulling pranks on her loved ones….”

Margarita Del Lourdes Fornes Lapinel, who was a long-time resident of Manhattan and Bovina, also passed away in November. She was born in Cuba and came to New York City at the age of 16. She married Paul Lapinel in 1951. They would raise seven children. Margarita also pursued a graduate education in Anthropology. She instilled this appreciation of a value of good education in her children. She was survived by her seven children, 22 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, as well as her sister Carmen Fornes Nute.

Margarita with her husband Paul. Photo courtesy of Dean Lapinel
Bovina native and long-time Bovina resident Mary Shoemaker died on Christmas Day at the age of 68. She was the daughter of John and Erika Weber and grew up on the Weber farm on Crescent Valley Road. She married Neil Shoemaker in 1969. She worked for the FBI as a fingerprint clerk in Washington DC in the late 1960s. She later was a home health aide. Mary was survived by her husband, four daughters, two grandchildren and two brothers. 
Children at the Maynard school in the 1950s, including Mary Weber Shoemaker (third from the right).

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