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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Rev. (Cornelius) Neil J. Draves-Arpaia, 65, passed away Monday, April 14.
Born on April 4, 1949 in Saratoga Springs, he was the son of Rose Arpey Draves and the late Kenneth R. Draves. His maternal grandparents, Vincenzo and Cristina Cappella Arpaia (Arpey), were immigrants from the commune of Formicola in the Province of Caserta, Italy.
Fr. Neil was supremely proud of his Italian ancestry and made family history and genealogy one of his great interests. His early years were spent in his grandmother’s Italian grocery store on the corner of Elm and Oak Streets in Saratoga. In this environment, he observed the art of storytelling from his grandmother and his beloved uncle, Joseph C. Arpey, whom Fr. Neil considered his first and best mentor.
Educated in local public and Catholic schools, he graduated from St. Peter’s Academy (Saratoga Central Catholic), class of 1967. Under the guidance of the late M. Helen Doherty, he began to devour the writings of Willa Cather, who remained for him a lifelong literary interest.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Marist College, Class of 1971. During these college years, Father’s commitment to non-violent living intensified and his unwavering respect for human life blossomed into a lifelong dedication to personal pacifism.
He prepared for the Roman Catholic priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary and University, in Baltimore, where he earned a Master’s of Divinity. During these years, Father taught in the English Department of Mercy High School in Baltimore. Following seminary training, he worked for the Saratoga Springs Police Department, being the original visionary for the Juvenile Aide Division program, which became a pilot program for the state of New York. He also worked as Student Advocate for the Saratoga Springs Junior and Senior High Schools from 1977-78.
Fr. Neil was ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Phoenix on May 19, 1979, by the Most Rev. James Rausch, at the Cathedral of Sts. Simon and Jude, Phoenix. He celebrated his first Mass on May 27, 1979 at St. Peter’s Parish, Saratoga Springs. Since 1985, he has been a Mercy Associate of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.
Earning a master's degree in Christian spirituality from Creighton University in 1984, he did advanced graduate studies in theology and psychology at Boston College. From 1986-1991 he taught as adjunct faculty in the School of Education, Boston College.
His priestly assignments in the Diocese of Phoenix included Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Scottsdale, Xavier College Prep, and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, both in Phoenix. He also served as Director of Continuing Education for Clergy for his diocese, and assisted in various Mexican parishes. Fr. Neil was a frequent presenter in adult spirituality at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where he preached his first retreat in 1979. Subsequently, he devoted himself to adult spiritual direction and retreat ministries becoming an internationally known retreat director. Over the course of thirty years, Fr. Neil preached retreats and parish mission through the United States and Canada. His reputation as a prolific preacher and storyteller was vast. His personal dedication to justice for immigrants was unflinching beginning with his apprenticeship at the Italian Catholic Center in Paterson, New Jersey in 1974.
Fr. Neil served on several commissions, boards and committees including the Albany Diocesan Peace and Justice Commission, the Phoenix Diocesan Liturgy Commission, the board of Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties, the Phoenix Diocese Catholic Charities Advisory Council, the Hispanic Advisory Board for the Diocese of Albany, and the Ethics Committee of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix, and the Albany Diocesan Committee for the Continuing Education of Priests.
He also served for a brief period as spiritual care-giver for Hospice of Saratoga in the early 1990s.
From 2005-12 Fr. Neil served as Director of Whole Community Catechesis for St. Clement’s Parish, was Catholic sacramental minister for Skidmore College and in 2009 was appointed Catholic Chaplain for the Saratoga Springs Fire Department. In November 2012, he was appointed administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Northville and St. Joseph Parish, Broadalbin.
His two collections of intercessory prayers, “Graciously Hear Us” and “Come Light Our Hearts,” published through Ave Maria Press, are known throughout the English speaking world.
Fr. Neil’s greatest love was celebrating the Eucharist for God’s people and proclaiming the good news that God is rich in mercy. His heart’s singular desire was to be a priest to the honor and glory of God and the good of the church.
In addition to his father, he was predeceased by his maternal uncles and aunts, Dominick Arpey, Frank Arpey Sr., James Arpey, William Arpey Sr., Patrick Arpey, Joseph Arpey, Antonio Arpey, and Agostino Arpey; his maternal aunts, Antoinette Arpey Bardino, Mamie Arpey Doty and Mary Arpey Pietruccia, all of whom he held in high esteem.
Survivors include his mother, Rose Arpey; one sister, Nadine Draves, both of Saratoga Springs; two nephews, Paul Pugh II and Jeffrey Pugh; his niece, Sarah Attanasio; one uncle, Joseph Pieturccia; his Godson and great-nephew, Jordan Pugh, two great-nieces, Julia Pugh and Adelyn Pierce and many cousins.
Reception of the Body will be at 4 p.m. Monday, April 21 in The Church of St. Peter, 241 Broadway; relatives and friends may call at the church until 7 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22 in The Church of St. Peter. Principal Celebrant will be Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger, Bishop of Albany.
Burial will follow in the family plot at St. Peter’s Cemetery, West Avenue.
Any memorials may be made in Father's name to Catholic Charities of Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties, 142 Regent St. Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Arrangements are under the direction of the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes of 628 North Broadway (518) 584-5373.
Online remembrances may be made at burkefuneralhome.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Mitzi Smith, of Beekman Street in Saratoga Springs, passed away at Saratoga Hospital after a long illness on April 15, surrounded by her loving family.
Services are private and at the convenience of the family. Online remembrances may be made at www.tunisonfuneralhome.com.
WILTON — Everett W. Cleveland (Bill), of Wilton, passed away peacefully at Albany Medical Center on April 13.
He was born in Windsor, Vermont to Everett and Sara (Creeden) Cleveland in 1925.
He retired from The New York Telephone Company after 37 years of dedicated service. He proudly served his country as a Marine in WWII in the Pacific theater and the Korean War. He was active in the Marine Corp league in operation Toys for Tots. Bill was an avid horseman for his entire life. He participated in Gymcana competitions as well as many local parades in his youth.
His passions were definitely horses and travel. He was fortunate to have been able to travel extensively throughout the United States and Mexico over the years. His interests included leatherworking, history, reading and watching old movies.
He is survived by his loving wife of 34 years, Betty Cleveland and two daughters, Chris Jenson (James) of Hoosick Falls and Karen Cleveland of Wilton.
He had four step-children; Timothy Jackson (Debra) of Wilton, Lori McCann (Kenneth) of York, South Carolina, Mary Ann Dowd (William) of Wilton and Marlise Ford (Charles) of Wilton; 12 grandchildren, Nathan, Sam, Sarah, Timothy, Gregory, Joshua, Charlie, Charlette, Corey, Bradley, William and Makaylee; and eleven great-grandchildren.
He was pre-deceased by his first wife, Ruth, and a baby daughter. His brother, Jim Cleveland also predeceased him.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Henry Stark, 96, formerly of Forest Avenue in Saratoga Springs, died peacefully on Wednesday, April 16 at Wesley Health Care Center.
Born on April 7, 1918 in Schenectady, he was the son of the late Kalman Stark and Pearl “Pepe” Gross.
Mr. Stark proudly served in the U.S. Army during WWII. After serving in the war, Henry returned home and married the love of his life, Rose Edith Schwartz, on January 13, 1946.
Mr. Stark owned and operated several automotive parts and repair shops within the city of Saratoga Springs. He initially owned a gas station on the corner of Van Dam and Route 50 called Stark Oil Company and later moved the business to Route 9 (Maple Avenue). He then moved the company to its present location on Excelsior Avenue, becoming Starks Auto Parts.
In his leisure, he enjoyed playing ping pong and was an avid fisherman. He also enjoyed taking his family to Lake George. He loved spending time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His greatest love of all was his dear wife, Rose, whom he loved to his last days with her as much as he did the first ones.
Survivors include his wife of over 68 years, Rose Stark; three sons, Sidney Stark and his wife Debbie of Albany, Michael Stark of Saratoga Springs, and Marvin Stark and his wife Miriam of Providence, Rhode Island; nine grandchildren, Sara, Tsippi, Deena, Chavi, Peri, Avi, Tova, Elisheva and Jacob; and three great grandchildren, Aliza, Emma, and Dovid.
Online remembrances can be made at www.tunisonfuneralhome.com.
ALBANY — Margaret A. McConnell passed away peacefully on April 11, surrounded by her loving family.
Margaret was born in Schenectady to Clinton and Catherine McConnell. She attended St Joseph’s Catholic grade school, Draper Middle School and High School. After she graduated high school, she went on to graduate from Mildred Elley Business School with a degree in Secretarial Science. She also went on to graduate from Hudson Valley Community College with a degree in Accounting.
Margaret worked for Knolls Atomic Power lab for 40 years, retiring in 1988. She had many interests besides spending time with her family and friends. She loved to travel, play golf and sing for the Schenectady Light Opera. Margaret also was into her genealogy and was able to trace her family to Cork County, Ireland. She most of all loved to garden, spending many hours cultivating her garden to perfection.
Margaret is survived by her sister, Marie Blackman; her niece, Terry McConnell-Beshara (Michael); nephew, Greg McConnell (Marsha); and great nephew, Christopher McConnell. She had many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews whom she loved very dearly.
She was predeceased by her parents; her brothers, John Garvey, Clinton McConnell and William Luke McConnell; and her niece, Amy Margaret McConnell.
We would like to thank Dr. David Armenia and Dr. William Busino and their office staff. We would also like to thank Atria of Guilderland, all the wonderful aides, staff and Hospice of Albany, especially Susan, during this difficult time. Special Thanks to Hospice Inn at St Peter’s Hospital and their wonderful staff.
Arrangements are under the direction of Tunsion Funeral Home, 105 Lake Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Calling hours will be held at Gleason Funeral Home, 730 Union St, Schenectady, NY 12305 on Friday, April 25 from 5-8 p.m. A mass of Christian burial will be at St. Joseph’s Church, 600 State St., Schenectady, NY 12305 on April 26 at 10 a.m. Burial will be at Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, 2501 Troy Schenectady Road, Schenectady, NY 12309, immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice of Albany, 445 New Karner Rd, Albany, NY 12205 or to the charity of your choice. Online remembrances may be made at www.tunisonfuneralhome.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — James Merton Green Sr., 60, passed away on April, 6 at Albany Medical Center with his loving family at his side.
He was born on January 18, 1954 in Saratoga Springs, the son of Ralph Green Sr. and the late Jane M. Hilliker Green. He grew up in Saratoga Springs and attended Saratoga High School.
Jimmy started helping in his father’s business, Adorn Tree Service, in the 1970s.
They went on and started Green Enterprise, a Forestry division of logging, firewood and land clearing. They also started Universal Homes, building numerous homes in Saratoga, Queensbury and Corinth.
Then Jimmy went out on his own and started J.G. Contracting doing property maintenance.
Jimmy enjoyed hunting, fishing and spending time with his family at their Rackett Lake camp and the Farm in East Berne.
Jimmy is survived by his life partner, Susan Newill, and her sons Michael Tuskey (Alicia) and Jesse Newill; father, Ralph Green Sr. (Shirley Sawyer); daughters, Shawna Green and Elizabeth Green; son, James Green Jr. (Amy); brothers, Ralph (Lynn), Steven (LouAnn), and Scott Sr. (Allison) Green; sisters, Robin Corrigan (John) and Anna Collins (James); 7 grandchildren and many nieces nephews and friends.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Jane M. Green, and brother Daniel M. Green.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 11 at Compassionate Funeral Care, 402 Maple Ave., (Route 9) Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Calling hours for family and friends will be held on Thursday April 10 from 5-8 pm at Compassionate funeral care.
In lieu of flowers please make donations in Jimmy’s name to Saratoga Wilton Elks 161, 1 Elk Lane (P.O. Box 3111), Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (Money will go to help the needy in our community).
Internment following the service will be at Greenridge Cemetery in Saratoga Springs.
Following the burial at Greenridge Cemetery Jimmy’s family invite you to join them for further fellowship and food at the Saratoga Wilton Elks Lodge directly behind the Funeral Home.
Online condolences can be made at www.CompassionateFuneralCare.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Robin Lee Schelmbauer, 48, of Stone Quest Apartments passed away on April 5 at her home.
Born on October 27, 1965 in Ballston Spa, she was the daughter of Patricia Stanton. She is predeceased by her grandparents William and Bernice Howard.
Survivors include her mother and stepfather, Patricia and Robert Stanton of Ballston Spa; stepfather Francis L. McCormick; a son, John P. Schelmbauer and his wife, Kayla, and grandson, Brayden of Wilton; a sister, Francine Merrills of Providence; two stepchildren, Mike and Katie Schelmbauer; two uncles, James Howard and his wife Judy and Billy Howard, both of Ballston Spa; an aunt, Bonnie Lee of Kentucky; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services are private and at the convenience of the family at Maplewood Cemetery in Wilton. Memorial Donations may be made to the Lupus Foundation of America, PO Box 418629, Boston, Ma, 02241-8629.
Arrangements are entrusted to Tunison Funeral Home 105 Lake Ave. Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Online remembrances may be made at www.tunisonfuneralhome.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Minerva Gene Atwood, 89, passed away Wednesday, April 2 at Saratoga Hospital.
She was born on May 19, 1924 in Norristown, Pennsylvania to Walter H. Stone and Virginia Bolton.
Gene was a graduate of Solvay High School. She was a homemaker, antique dealer and a very talented artist.
In 1943, she married Clinton H. Atwood on Christmas Eve while he was on leave from the U.S. Marine Corps.
Gene enjoyed going to dinner with her friends at Prestwick Chase, being with her cat Abbey and spending time with her family.
Gene is survived by daughter, Sharon Cleveland, son in law Charles Cleveland ,Wendi Carr, son in law Jerry Carr, Lori Bishop, son in law Gary Bishop; grandchildren, Jerry Carr Jr., Heather Woolbright, Casey Telzer, Brittany Bishop and Garret Bishop; great-grandchildren, Jolene Carr, John Edward Woolbright, Alexander Woolbright, Hayden Telzer, and Bailee Telzer.
She is preceded in death by her spouse, Clinton H. Atwood; parents, Walter H. Stone and Virginia Bolton; and sisters, Margaret Comstock and Judith Gray.
If you wish to express your online condolences or view the Obituary, please visit our website at www.compassionatefuneralcare.com
SARATOGA SPRINGS — John Abate, 92, passed away peacefully at Saratoga Hospital on April 1, due to complications associated with pneumonia. He joins his adored wife of 58 years, Peggy, who passed away in in 2004.
He was born in 1922 on 57th Street in Manhattan (Hell’s Kitchen) to Robert and Sarah (nee Guinan) Abate as the fifth child following his siblings Frank, Millie, May and Helen.
Sometime after his father passed away in 1927, his mother, Sadie, moved the family “upstate,” by her account, to the High Bridge section of the Bronx where John spent the following years as a typical teen, playing sports, following Big Band music, and the like.
It was at Sacred Heart Church where John met his future bride, Peggy, and after a brief stint in the Coast Guard they were wed on August 9, 1946.
Just prior to that time, a neighborhood friend convinced him to consider his hand at four-wall handball, which resulted in an athletic membership to the Nassau Boat club where he rowed crew for the opportunity to use its handball facilities. Hard work and training allowed John to win the National Junior AAU handball title in 1946. That title earned him a long look from the New York Athletic Club and an eventual athletic membership and berth on the Killers Club Team. He won three national handball titles during his tenure at the NYAC and actively played bi-weekly until his retirement from the New York Life Insurance Company.
Prior to retirement John and Peggy lived in Stuyvesant Town, Dumont, New Jersey, and Blauvelt, where they raised their four children. John was active in coaching Little League baseball for many years and served as a Eucharistic Minister at St. Catharine's Roman Catholic Church.
During retirement, John and Peggy resided in Sicklerville, New Jersey, Vero Beach, Florida and Saratoga Springs. They led active lives with many friends, entertained with visits and card games, while John actively pursued playing tennis.
John is survived by his adoring children, Tom, Joan, Brian and Sean, their spouses, 10 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and two more great-grandchildren to join us soon.
Online remembrances may be made at burkefuneralhome.com.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Fred Lewis, 78, of Saratoga Springs, passed away on Wednesday, April 2 with his beloved wife, Pat, daughter, Laurel, and family at his side.
He was born on April 20, 1935 in Ballston Spa, the son of the late Frank Sr. and Alice Reed Lewis.
Fred grew up on the farm in Rock City Falls, one of 14 children, attending Rock City Falls Elementary and Saratoga High School. He served his country in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1959.
Fred married the love of his life, Patricia Vaness on August 25, 1962 and they spent 51 wonderful years together.
He worked for The New York Racing Association as an Assistant Starter for many years. Fred had a great love for horses and the Track. He was an extraordinary horseman who was loved and admired by many in the Thoroughbred Racing community
Fred also enjoyed fishing, traveling with his wife, going to casinos and spending time with his family and his beloved granddaughters.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia; daughter, Laurel Bowen (Kevin); grandchildren, Dena Marie and Brandi Alexandra Sangese; sisters, Mary Lewis Cullen (Glenn), Betty Lewis Meers (Edward), Ruth Lewis, Helen Lewis Ryle, Cynthia Lewis Hubbert, Linda Lewis Whiting; brothers, Edward M. Lewis, Ralph L. Lewis (Kathy), Warren W. Lewis (Susan), James J. Lewis, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Fred is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Celia C. Lewis Haynes; brothers John and Frank Lewis.
Funeral service in honor of Fred will be held on Saturday, April 5 at 5 p.m. at Compassionate Funeral Care Inc., 402 Maple Ave. (Rte. 9) with Pastor George Richards from Simpson United Methodist Church, Rock City Falls, NY Officiating.
In lieu of flowers donations in Fred’s honor can be made to the Back Stretch Employee Services Team (BEST) 2150 Hempstead Turnpike, Gate 6, Cottage 28 B, Elmont, NY 11003.
Online condolences can be made at www.CompassionateFuneralCare.com