1943 - 2021
Judy Leab , 78, left this earth from her beloved home, Ioka Valley Farm, to be with the Lord Tuesday, September 14, 2021. She is survived by her husband, Donald "Don" Leab. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August 2021. She is also survived by her 3 children; daughter Heather (Larry) Eckhardt and Catherine "Kate"(Kevin) Beach, both of Stephentown, NY and son Robert "Rob" (Melissa) Leab at the farm in Hancock, MA., her 3 siblings; sister Barbara (Norman) Smith-Schroeder of New Mexico, brothers Robert "Robin" (J.J.) Smith of New Lebanon, NY and Larry (Debbie) Smith of Scotia, NY, her 6 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents, Robert and Martha Price Smith. She was a graduate of New Lebanon High School, class of 1961.
Judy loved her community and served on the Hancock School Committee for many, many years. Her joy of working with young people found her leading 4-H for 15 years, hosting young people from all around the world as part of an international 4-H exchange program, teaching Sunday school and coordinating youth programs in her local church. Judy was a member of the Berkshire County Farm Bureau for 50+ years serving as secretary and 8 years as president; and the Massachusetts State Farm Bureau Women's Committee. She served on the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources Board of Agriculture for over 20 years including time as chairwoman, helping to steer the course of the Dept. for the whole State on Agricultural issues.
As co-owner of Ioka Valley Farm, she was instrumental in the promotion of the agricultural and dairy industry hosting uncountable open houses to promote their farm and dairy products, always focusing on education and awareness about where and how your food is produced. Many of the State's Legislative Leaders attended events at the farm where Judy focused her knowledge in helping them understand farmer's needs. She helped transform Ioka Valley Farm from a national and local award winning dairy operation into the agri-entertainment and farm educational destination it is today. Her pumpkin patch is famous for the lessons provided to thousands of school children from the local area. She leaves to her grandchildren a legacy of keeping their farms beautiful with flowers and manicured lawns. Judy also leaves us with all her homemade recipes for everything produced on the farm.
A memorial service in honor and remembrance of Judy will be held at Ioka Valley Farm, in Hancock, MA, Monday September 20, at 11:00 am. Attire should be outdoor casual. Family and friends are also invited to calling hours, Sunday, September 19, from 2pm until 5 pm, at Hall and Higgins Funeral Home, 457 NY Rt. 43 in Stephentown, NY. Those wishing to remember Judy in a special way can make memorial contributions in her name to, The Berkshire County Farm Bureau Treasurer, 131 Baldwin Hill Rd., Great Barrington, MA 01230. Burial will be in Hancock Cemetery. To leave condolences for the family online, please visit ParkerBrosMemorial.com
1936 - 2021
PETERSBURGH - Jane Theo McCumber, 84, died Saturday, January 23, 2021 at the Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation at Hoosick Falls. Jane was born February 13, 1936 to Irene and Albert Silvernail in Stephentown, NY. She grew up on the family dairy farm and attended Berlin Central High School where she met Dan McCumber.
After graduating from Green Mountain College, Jane & Dan got married and raised their four children: Eric, David, Jeffery and Colleen in Troy, NY. Jane worked at RPI until she and Dan moved to Kirkland,Washington, where Jane worked at the University of Washington.
Eventually they returned to NY to reside in Petersburgh. Jane & Dan loved sailing on Lake Champlain, traveling, (always to Maine & occasionally to Europe) and wintering in Tucson for the last 20 years with family & friends from around the globe. Jane loved her family & her Dan.
She is preceded in death by her loving husband, her parents, sister Anne Stubbs, and brother, CSM. David Silvernail. She leaves behind her children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews and extended family.
Funeral services will be held at a safer time, but she will be missed always. Arrangements are by the Thomas M. Barber Funeral Home in Petersburgh. Condolence book at ParkerBrosMemorial.com
Jane McCumber will be buried May 15th at 10AM at the Meadowlawn Cemetery in Petersburgh and people are invited to join.
STEPHENTOWN - George H. Eckhardt, Jr., 90, passed away peacefully at his family farm in Stephentown on November 27th, 2020. Born in Norwood, MA on January 17th, 1930 he was the eldest child of George H. Eckhardt, Sr. and Frieda Knaus Eckhardt. Called "Skip" by all who knew him in his early years, he graduated in 1948 from the Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole, MA. His alma mater inspired his lifelong career as a farmer and steward of the land. His first employment was with the Dairy Herd Improvement Assoc., working with Eastern Massachusetts dairy farmers. During his first year, 1949, he receive a prestigious award for most improved dairy herds in the state. This was only the first of many accolades George received for his outstanding farming accomplishments throughout his long career in agriculture.
George married M. Jean MacDougall on October 27th, 1951 in Norwood, MA. In 1952, they moved to Fort Benning Army Base in Georgia while he served his country during the Korean Conflict.
Returning to Eastern Mass area upon discharge in 1954, George work for several farms in the Boston Area. In the spring of 1959, George placed an advertisement in a farm magazine, looking for a farm where he might be able to work his way into eventual ownership. A family in Stephentown answered his ad. George move his family and his few possessions to Stephentown in May of 1959 where he made his home for the next 61 years. He raised his family, built a thriving agricultural business and served in many leadership positions both locally and statewide. These include: 4-H leader in Stephentown, Stephentown Town Board Councilman for 27 years, Rensselaer County Farm Bureau President and Vice President, Agway Committeeman and Representative to State Annual Meeting, and various advisory committees to agricultural organizations. He and Jean traveled extensively to National Farm Bureau meetings all over the country including Texas, California and Hawaii.
Always busy, George spent most of his winter months until his "retirement", helping other farms and businesses. He drove milk truck for Hatch Milk Hauling in New Lebanon, milked cows for Stanley Chittenden, delivered fuel for Larabee Fuel, hauled trailer loads of potatoes from Maine for Whitney and Son in Pittsfield, delivered wood products for Senter Lumber in Stephentown and helped fix equipment at Jiminy Peak in Hancock.
After his "retirement", George and Jean traveled in his RV to Many Mansion RV Park in Dade City, Florida to spend the winter months. Right up until Jean's passing they traveled the south and toured the warmer climate states. George had the same spot in the park for 28 years and enjoyed the company of many fellow "snowbirds" and year-round folks at the park. Even after his wife's death, George continued to enjoy the RV taking a 2009 cross-country tour to California with his friend Pat Coon, to see the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Although he enjoyed his winter home, he always relished returning to the farm each and every spring to help with the new season of crops, fence fixing and brush hogging the pastures and field edges.
George is most fondly remembered, not only by his family and friends but by the innumerable young people who worked at the farm over the past 61 years. For most, it was their very first job. George was a wonderful mentor to young people and for many, he was their driving instructor. Countless teenagers got their first chance to drive a pickup or tractor under Georges' watchful eye and sometimes loud "Yankee-accented" voice. If you broke something, he'd hand you a wrench and say "you broke it - now learn how to fix it". He was also cherished by his loyal customers of the famous sweet corn his farm produced and they looked forward to the summer seasons when George would deliver daily to their stores and stands.
George is survived by his five children: Sons G. Martin (Kathy) of Raleigh, NC, Larry (Heather) at the family farm in Stephentown, Alan (Donna) of Stephentown, Philip Eckhardt and daughter Beth Eckhardt both of Troy, NY. He has five grandchildren, Alan John of Stephentown, Matthew and Andrew at the farm in Stephentown and Adam and MeBette of NC and one great grandchild, Olivia Jean of NC. George will also be missed by his neighbor and friend, Devin Peterson of Stephentown. He has two surviving siblings, Charles Eckhardt of Loudon, NH and Louis Eckhardt of Barnstead, NH.
He is predeceased by his wife, Jean who died January 2006, his parents and two siblings. He was also predeceased by his later-in-life best friend and companion, Patricia Coon who passed away in November 2019.
A celebration of George's life and legacy will be held next summer at the farm in Stephentown.
STEPHENTOWN – Wesley R. Edwards, 90, longest tenured Town Justice in New York State, died Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany with his family at his side.
He was born in Berlin, NY on January 10, 1930, the son of the late Richard and Pearl Armsby Edwards. Wes was a graduate of Berlin Central School and was a US Army veteran of the Korean War. He met his beloved wife Janet of 65 years at the Bridgeway Tavern in Cherry Plain square dancing.
He was employed by McClintock Chevrolet in Stephentown as a parts manager before taking a position as an inspector in the turbine division at the General Electric Co. in Pittsfield where he worked for 25 years before retiring in 1992.
Judge Edwards was the Stephentown Town Justice for 51 years before retiring in 2015 with the distinction of the being the longest serving Town Justice in New York State. He was a member of the NYS Magistrates Association.
He was a member of the Stephentown Federated Church, the Stephentown Volunteer Fire Department, served as secretary for the Veterans of Stephentown and was part of the original organizing committee for the Stephentown Veterans Park. He was a Third Degree Free & Accepted Mason with Unity Lodge #9 in Chatham.
Originally a Brooklyn Dodger baseball fan, he became an avid NY Yankees and NY Giants sports fan.
He is the loving husband of Janet H. McClintock Edwards whom he married on September 17, 1955 in Stephentown; devoted father of Greg (Doreen) Edwards of Salem, VA, Dwight (Anne) Edwards of Efland, NC and Carolyn (Patrick) Hourihan of Guilderland; proud grandfather of Amanda and Sarah Edwards, Christopher and Brian Edwards, Ryan, Sean and Megan Hourihan and 6 great grandchildren; lifelong childhood friend and best man in each of their weddings, Ivan (Shirley) Wager of Berlin. He is also survived by several “favorite” nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends may call at the Hall & Higgins Funeral Home, 457 NY 43, Stephentown on Monday from 10:00-11:30 am followed by the funeral service at 11:30 am. Interment will follow in the Saratoga National Cemetery. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing.
PETERSBURGH: Daniel J. McCumber, 85, died on Sunday, November 24, 2019 at his home in Petersburgh. Born in Pittstown, NY on July 17, 1934, he was the son of the late Kenneth Earl McCumber and Florence Church McCumber.
He was a graduate of Berlin Central School and the 1st graduating class from Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. He resided in Troy, Berlin, Seattle, WA and Petersburgh where his family was considered one of the original families of Petersburgh. He was a member of the US Army National Guard based out of Hoosick Falls.He was employed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Westside Structural Steel in Watervliet, was a vice president of McKinney Steel in Albany, 10 years for Chinook Construction Products in Seattle, WA and for Beeche Systems Scaffolding.
Dan was very active in the Petersburgh community serving as Town Supervisor, President of the Petersburgh Library Association and President of the Meadowlawn Cemetery Association.He was an avid reader, enjoyed sailing on Lake Champlain and Pugent Sound in Seattle, WA and doing crossword puzzles especially the NY Times.
Along with his wife Jane, he wintered in Arizona for over 30 years.His motto was “humor is the lubrication of life”.He is the beloved husband of 63 years of Jane T. Silvernail McCumber; devoted father of Eric J. (Kathy) McCumber of Stephentown, David B. McCumber of San Antonio, TX, Jeffrey A. (Pamela) McCumber of Stephentown and Colleen A. (Laura Reddoch) McCumber of Seattle, WA; proud grandfather of Heidi J. McCumber, Daniel Lightfoot McCumber, Walker Bryan McCumber, Joshua Alan McCumber, Molly Irene McCumber and Matthew Reddoch; dear brother of Susan McCumber of Bristol, RI, Kathy (John) Armstrong of Wilmington, NC and the late Noel, Barry and Christie McCumber. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends may call at the Thomas M. Barber Funeral Home, 66 Armsby Road, Petersburgh on Saturday, November 30th from 10:00 am-12:00 noon. Interment will follow in Meadowlawn Cemetery, Petersburgh.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Meadowlawn Cemetery Association, PO Box, Petersburgh, NY 12138 or the Petersburgh Library Association, PO Box 250, Petersburgh, NY 12138.Condolence book at ParkerBrosMemorial.com. Published in The Record on Nov. 27, 2019
Patricia Barker Coon, age 92, a resident of Brookdale at Fillmore Pond in Bennington and a former resident of Amenia, NY and Stephentown, NY died on November 10, 2019 following a brief illness.
She was born in Burlington, Vermont on April 3, 1927, and was the daughter of the late Clifford and Grace (Rumball) Barker. She received her education in local schools and is a graduate of New Paltz State University. As a small child, she took piano lessons, and then went on the play the flute, alto horn, trumpet, bell lyre and drums. She played in the school band as well as the community band. Patricia married a dairy farmer and had five children.
She loved to sew and learned to quilt. Patricia has won several awards for baking, sewing and crafts. Patricia was Girl Scout Leader and 4H Leader. She was a Dutchess County Cooperative Extension Board member, Chairperson of the Dutchess County Dairy Princess Committee. She was a member of the Smithfield Presbyterian Church in Amenia, NY and was an Elder of the church.
She retired from teaching in 1992. She had taught at the Webutuck Central School District for twenty-eight and one half years. She was instrumental in setting up the computer program for the Middle School in the Webutuck district. Patricia belonged to Delta Kappa Gamma, the International Honor Society for teachers.
She moved to Stephentown in 1987, and became a very active member of the community; which included membership in the Stephentown Federated Church and Chairperson of the General Committee. She was involved with the Literacy Volunteers as a tutor and board member, and sat on the Board for the Stephentown Library. She was also a member of the Pittsfield College Club. Patricia enjoyed playing the organ and swimming at the YMCA.She also enjoyed traveling to Alaska, Australia and New Zealand. She loved Hot Air Balloons and several years ago she attended the Rose Bowl Parade and helped assemble the floats.
Survivors include her long time companion George Eckhardt of Stephentown, NY, her children: Sheila (Todd) Hewitt of Berlin, NY, Peter (Alice) Coon of Amenia, NY, Timothy (Elizabeth) Coon of Amenia, NY, David (Kimberly) Coon of Amenia, NY, Christopher (Sarah) Coon of Sharon, CT. Patricia leaves fifteen grandchildren, and eighteen great grandchildren. She has two sisters; Carolyn Cookingham of Staatsburg, NY and Marion Jural of Tomahawk, WI. and many loved nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents and one sister, Barbara.
Funeral services will be held on Friday, November 15, 2019 at the Stephentown Federated Church at 12:00PM. Friends may call at the church on Friday from 10:30 until the time of the service.
Published in the Poughkeepsie Journal from Nov. 12 to Nov. 13, 2019
Hurst, TX - Elizabeth M. (Maston) Hartnett, 84, a longtime resident of Berlin and more recently Texas, died peacefully Friday, July 5, 2019 at the Bishop Davies Nursing Center in Hurst, TX, following a long illness.
Born in Hancock, MA., June 6, 1935, Mrs. Hartnett was the daughter of the late James F. and Elizabeth E. (Martin) Maston and for over 32 years the wife of the late Lloyd M. Hartnett Sr. who predeceased her in 1989. Betty and Lloyd were married on April 12, 1957.
Elizabeth was a graduate of New Lebanon High School.
For several years she was employed at the former Seagroat's Greenhouse in Berlin and later worked as a Secretary and retired in 2002 from the former William J. Cowee Lumber Company also in Berlin.
Mrs. Hartnett was a member of the Berlin Baptist Church and volunteered with the Berlin Rescue Squad for over 30 years.
Betty is survived by her children, Gini (Herb) Parsons of N. Richland Hills, TX, Lloyd (Janice) Hartnett Jr. of Stephentown, Linda (Bill) Butt of Cropseyville, Michael Hartnett of Berlin, Roy (Sandy) Hartnett of Egg Harbor Township, NJ and Timothy Hartnett of Cropseyville, 16 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and several nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by an infant daughter, Rose Marie and two brothers, James (Janice) Maston and George (Joyce) Maston.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at the Howard B. Tate & Son Funeral Home Inc., 2237 NY-7, in Raymertown with Pastor Gini Parsons officiating. Burial will follow in Berlin Community Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to call at the funeral home on Thursday, July 11, from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Memorial contributions if desired may be made to the Berlin Rescue Squad, 11 Community Avenue, Berlin, NY 12202 in memory of Elizabeth M. Hartnett.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on July 10, 2019
Stephentown – Rita M. Sweet Sykes, 86, of Stephentown, passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, with her loving family by her side. Born in Grafton, NY on January 1, 1933, she was the daughter of the late Milton and Nellie Sweet.
Rita and her husband Paul owned and operated the Sykes Store in Stephentown until it closed in April 2016. Rita loved to bake and often sold her baked goods at the store, much to the delight of her customers. She enjoyed meeting new people at the store and formed many friendships there. Rita was at her happiest when she was spending time with her children and their families. Rita was a dedicated member of the Stephentown Federated Church.
Rita is survived by her loving husband of 66 years, Paul Sykes, Sr., their children; Paul Jr., Terry, and Eileen (PJ), her grandchildren; Jason, Paula, Cindy, Alissa, Katie, and Matthew, 9 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her two brothers, Carl and Eddie, and by two daughters-in-law whom she adored dearly, Dolly and Theresa.
A funeral service will be held Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 11 AM at Hall and Higgins Funeral Home, 457 NY Route 43, Stephentown. Visitation will be held prior to the service, from 10 until 11 AM. Interment will follow the service in Cemetery of the Evergreens, New Lebanon. In lieu of flowers, donations in Rita’s memory can be made to the Autism Society of the Great Capital Region, 433 State Street 4th Floor, Schenectady, NY 12305, or the Stephentown Volunteer Fire Dept., PO Box 208, Stephentown, NY 12168.
Margaret McMullen Cummings, 83, of Fuquay-Varina, NC, slipped the surly bonds of earth on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Fuquay-Varina, NC.
Born October 7, 1933, in Glasgow, Scotland, she was the daughter of the late James and Jemima McMullen. She married Martin C. Cummings in 1952; he preceded her in death in 1987. She was a secretary for the state of New York for 20 years. She was a member of the Fuquay-Varina Presbyterian Church. She raised her family in Stephentown, was a long-time member of the Stephentown Federated Church and sang in the church choir.
Margaret is survived by a sister and brother; Lillian Mosher of Northport, NY and William McMullen of Largo, FL; three daughters; Bonnie Cummings-Laubach of Fuquay-Varina, NC, Dr. Laurie Cummings of Fuquay-Varina, NC and Ellen Wallace of Hudson, NY; two sons; David Cummings of Stephentown, NY and Robert Cummings of Stephentown, NY; one granddaughter, Layla Cummings of New Paltz, NY and many beloved cats and dogs.
Memorial contributions in Margarets memory may be made to the Stephentown Federated Church Memorial Fund.
Condolence book at www.ParkerBrosMemorial.com.