Miscellaneous Albany County, New York Obituaries
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Michel Navratil, last known male survivor of the Titanic 
PARIS - Michel Navratil, one of the last known survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, has died in southern France. He was 92.
Navratil, who was 3 years old when the Titantic sank after striking an iceberg in 1912, died Wednesday in Montpellier. He was the last known male survivor of the tragedy, according to the Titanic Historical Society in Springfield, Mass.
"There are only four women left now," said Edward Kamuda, the society's founder.
Navratil and his 2-year-old brother, Edmond, were traveling with their father, who was separated from his wife and had taken his sons on the voyage without her permission.
Navratil described what happened when the ship began to sink:
"My father entered our cabin where we were sleeping. He dressed me very warmly and took me in his arms. A stranger did the same for my brother. When I think of it now, I am very moved. They knew they were going to die.
"I don't recall being afraid, I remember the pleasure really, of going plop into the lifeboat."
Navratil and his brother were rescued by the Carpathia, the first ship to reach the scene of the sinking after racing through waters filled with icebergs. Navratil was hauled up the side of the ship in a mail sack.
His father went down with the Titanic. Of the 2,228 people on board, only 705 survived.
When the boys reached the United States, they were taken in by a woman who met them aboard the ship. Their mother learned of their survival by reading newspaper reports about the boys, nicknamed "The Orphans of the Titanic" because no adult came forward to claim them.
Kamuda, who also runs the local Titanic museum, met Navratil several times.
"He seemed to be a very quiet individual and was very interested in what people had to say. After all, he was a professor of philosophy," Kamuda told The Associated Press.
Navratil was an honorary member of the society and took part in conventions and other commemorative events. In 1996, the society organized a meeting in Paris with a French woman who occupied the cabin across from him, and who used to play with the little boy.
That year, Navratil was one of a few survivors who went on cruise ships to the site where the Titanic sank to watch research vessels try to lift part of the hull to the surface.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Johnnie Johnson, 85, top ace for RAF during World War II 
LONDON - Johnnie Johnson, who shot down 38 enemy aircraft making him the Royal Air Force's top gun in World War II, has died at age 85.
Johnson died Tuesday at his home in Buxton in Derbyshire following an illness, said his friend, retired Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris.
His career began inauspiciously. At first rejected by the Auxiliary Air Force, Johnson joined the RAF Volunteer Reserves in the summer of 1940. He crashed a Spitfire on his fourth flight.
In an interview last year with the Leicester Mercury newspaper, Johnson recalled the high morale of British airmen in the Battle of Britain, which raged from July to November 1940.
"We never thought of defeat. We did not countenance it," he said.
"I remember the swiftness and the speed of it - suddenly the sky was full of black crosses. Then they were gone.
"Being in a dogfight was very frightening. You never knew if someone was on your tail," he said.
Johnson found he was hampered by an old rugby injury, a poorly set fracture of the collarbone, and his courage was questioned when he reported the problem. After surgery, however, he joined the Tangmere Wing in 1941 under the command of Douglas Bader, the legendary pilot who had lost both legs before the war.
Flying with Bader, "you could feel the bond of leadership holding you together, it was like something physical," Johnson said.
Johnson shot down his first plane, a Messerschmitt 109, over France on June 26, 1941.
In 1943, he was made commander of an air wing composed of three Canadian squadrons based at Kenley. On their first operation under Johnson's command, the wing shot down six Focke-Wulf 190s, with Johnson downing one.
Johnson remained in the Royal Air Force until 1966, retiring as Air Vice Marshal in command of Air Forces Middle East in Aden. In later years, he founded the John Johnson Housing Trust, which built more than 4,000 homes, many for people with special needs.
His books included "Wing Leader" (1956), "Full Circle" (1966) and three volumes co-authored with fellow ace P.G. Lucas: "Glorious Summer" (1990), "Courage in the Skies" (1992) and "Winged Victory" (1995).
He is survived by two sons.
A private cremation service was planned.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Shirley Peter 
RENSSELAER - Mrs. Shirley J. Peter, 67, of Mann Avenue, died Wednesday at Albany Memorial Hospital after a long illness.
Born in Vienna, Ohio, Mrs. Peter lived in Rensselaer most of her life.
For 10 years, she worked at the Visiting Nurses Association in Albany. She was also a homemaker.
Mrs. Peter was a volunteer at the Rensselaer Senior Center.
She was a member of the Bingo Club and the Ramada Inn Swim Club.
Survivors include her stepmother, Grace Sheldon of Rensselaer; two sisters, Elsie Brady of Rensselaer and Jennie Mercer of Latham; three brothers, W. Glenn Sheldon of Wynantskill, and William and Vincent Sheldon, both of Rensselaer; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
A service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the W.J. Lyons Funeral Home, 1700 Washington Ave.
Burial will be in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands.
Calling hours are from 4 this afternoon until 8 tonight at the funeral home.
Contributions may be made the American Diabetes Association, 50 Colvin Ave., Albany, NY 12206; or the American Heart Association, 440 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Pauline Lichva 
SCHENECTADY - Mrs. Pauline North Lichva, 90, of Mariaville Road, died Thursday at Ellis Hospital.
Born in Champlain, Mrs. Lichva was a graduate of Chazy Central High School.
She was a homemaker and longtime area resident.
Mrs. Lichva was a member of Christ Church of the Hills in Rotterdam and a life member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.
Her husband, Louis J. Lichva, whom she married July 26, 1941, died in 1985.
Survivors include two sons, Harold R. North of Rotterdam and Gary L. Lichva of Ballston Spa; a daughter, Judith D. Robinson of Mechanicville; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
The service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bond Funeral Home, Broadway at Guilderland Avenue.
Calling hours will be from 7 to 9 tonight at the funeral home.
Spring burial will be in Fairview Cemetery, Princetown.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Center for the Disabled, 314 S. Manning Boulevard, Albany, NY; or the Northeastern Association of the Blind, 301 Washington Ave., Albany, NY.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Ollie Mary Wilcox 
BALLSTON SPA - Mrs. Ollie Mary Wilcox, 93, of the Maplewood Manor, formerly of Saratoga Springs, died Wednesday at the home after a long illness.
Born in Saratoga Springs, Mrs. Wilcox lived most of her life there. She was a member of the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church.
Mrs. Wilcox was an election inspector for the Saratoga Springs Election Board for many years.
She was an usher at the Old Congress Theater on Broadway.
Her husband, Clarence Edward Wilcox, whom she married May 16, 1929, died in 1966.
Survivors include a son, Michael D. Wilcox of Saratoga Springs; three sisters, Cameron Sovich, Joan Wilson and Jacqueline Perry, all of Saratoga Springs; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
The services will be held at 8 tonight at the Bussing & Cuniff Funeral Home, 130 Circular St., Saratoga Springs. Calling hours will be from 5 this afternoon until the service at the funeral home.
Spring burial will be in Maplewood Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice of Saratoga, 179 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866; or the Resident Fund at the Maplewood Manor, Ballston Avenue, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Nancy Twedt 
CENTRAL BRIDGE - Mrs. Nancy E. Twedt, 65, of Route 30A, died Thursday at Bassett Hospital of Schoharie County in Cobleskill after being stricken at home.
Born in Middleburgh, Mrs. Twedt lived in Sloansville and in Middleburgh before moving to her Route 30A address 34 years ago. She was a 1955 graduate of Middleburgh High School.
She worked at the former Westheimers Carrot Barn in Schoharie and the former Coleco Industries in Amsterdam. For the past several years, Mrs. Twedt was a child care provider in her own home.
Mrs. Twedt was a member of Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church.
She was a Girl Scout leader in Central Bridge and bowled in the Women's League at the former Schoharie Lanes.
Survivors include her husband, Casper J. Twedt, whom she married in 1959; a daughter, Diane M. Spoor of Middleburgh; two sons, Ernest V. Twedt of Esperance and Eric O. Twedt of Cobleskill; two brothers, Ted Diamond of Middleburgh and Donald Diamond of Central Bridge; three sisters, Shirley Lawyer and Sandy Tiedemann, both of Middleburgh, and Pat Mango of Schenectady; and seven grandchildren.
The service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church, Church Street. Calling hours will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Langan Funeral Home, 21 N. Main St., Central Bridge.
Burial will be at a later date in the old section of Middleburgh Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Central Bridge Fire Department Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 294, Central Bridge, NY 12035.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Mary Mastroianni 
ROTTERDAM - Mrs. Mary Nuzzaco Mastroianni, 87, of the Kingsway Arms Nursing Center, formerly of John Alden Lane, died Wednesday at the home.
Mrs. Mastroianni was born in Schenectady.
She worked at the General Electric Co. for several years during World War II. She was subsequently employed as a sales clerk for several years at the former Barney's department store.
Mrs. Mastroianni was a member of Our Lady of Assumption Church.
Her husband, Joseph Mastroianni, whom she married March 16, 1931, died in 1975.
Survivors include two sons, Dr. Ernest A. Mastroianni of Kent, Ohio, and Joseph E. Mastrianni of Bolton Landing; a brother, Thomas Nuzzaco of Rotterdam; a sister, Carmella Komes Marchesani of Rotterdam; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Services will be held Saturday at 10:15 a.m. at the DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home, 1605 Helderberg Ave., and at 11 at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated.
Calling hours are from 5 this afternoon until 7 tonight at the funeral home.
Burial will be in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery, Niskayuna.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Schenectady, 1411 Union St., Schenectady, NY 12308; or the Kingsway Arms Activity Fund, 323 Kings Road, Schenectady, NY 12304.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Mary Greiner 
SCHENECTADY - Mrs. Mary Sorbo Greiner, 91, of Euclid Avenue, died Wednesday at St. Clare's Hospital after a short illness.
Born in Schenectady, Mrs. Greiner was a lifelong area resident. She was a homemaker.
Mrs. Greiner was a member of Immaculate Conception Church.
Her husband, Harold C. Greiner, whom she married Jan. 9, 1932, died in 1982.
Survivors include a daughter, Shirley Vanosky of Schenectady; a brother, Don Prioletti of Scotia; two sisters, Phyllis Sardella and Virginia Paolelli, both of Schenectady; three grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Services will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Bond Funeral Home, Broadway and Guilderland Avenue, followed at 9 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, Bradt Street, where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated.
Calling hours will be from 6 to 8 tonight at the funeral home.
Burial will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to the church memorial fund or to charity.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Margaret Wells 
SUN CITY, Ariz. - Mrs. Margaret L. Wells, 74, of Phoenix, Ariz., died Thursday at Hospice of the Valley in Sun City.
Mrs. Wells was born in Cohoes, N.Y.
She was the widow of Albert F. Wells.
Survivors include a son, James Wells of Beverly, Mass.; five daughters, Mary Papetros of Latham, Anne Glynn-Baldwin of Phoenix, Judy Davis of Highland Falls, Kathy Buff of Guilderland, and Peggy Wells of Beacon; two sisters, Mary E. Hill of Berne and Madeline Sapone of Stillwater; 11 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
The services will be held at 8 a.m. Monday at the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home, 1550 Route 9, Clifton Park, and at 9 a.m. a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Mary's Church, Waterford.
Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Waterford.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Louise Larmour 
SCHENECTADY - Private services will be held for Mrs. Louise Marucci Larmour, of Dalton Drive, who died Thursday at Ellis Hospital after a long illness.
Mrs. Larmour was born in Little Falls.
She was a graduate of Gloversville High School and the Nathan Littauer School of Nursing.
Mrs. Larmour was a registered nurse in various Schenectady health facilities for many years.
She was a Catholic.
Survivors include her husband of 54 years, Jack E. Larmour; a son, Richard Clemente of Saratoga Springs; a brother, Alfred Marucci of Cocoa Beach, Fla.; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
There are no calling hours.
Private burial will be in Saratoga National Cemetery, Schuylerville.
Contributions may be made to Community Hospice of Schenectady, 1411 Union St., Schenectady, NY 12308.
Arrangements are by the Jones Funeral Home.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Kenneth Gervais 
COHOES - Kenneth A. Gervais, 43, of Main Street, died Thursday at Samaritan Hospital in Troy after a short illness.
Mr. Gervais was born and educated in Cohoes.
He was a truck driver for Crowley Foods in Albany at the time of his death.
Mr. Gervais served in the Navy.
Survivors include a daughter, Tauyna Gervais of Waterford; a sister, Darlene Gervais of Waterford; and two brothers, George Gervais of Waterford and Kevin Gervais of Speigletown.
The services will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Dufresne Funeral Home, 216 Columbia St., and at 9:30 a.m. a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Bernard's Church.
Calling hours will be from 4 this afternoon until 8 tonight at the funeral home.
Burial will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Waterford.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

James Jennings 
CLIFTON PARK - James A. Jennings, 58, of Plank Road, died Thursday at the Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center Hospital after a long illness.
Mr. Jennings was born in North Adams, Mass.
He was a graduate of McCanns Technical Vocational School and the U.S. Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Ill. He attended Hudson Valley Community College.
Mr. Jennings served in the Navy from 1959 to 1962.
He worked for the Internal Revenue Service in Albany for 10 years, retiring as an assistant to the director.
Mr. Jennings was a member of the Elks Lodge of Clifton Park, the Disabled American Veterans and the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans of America.
He was a member of St. Edward the Confessor Church.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara Sheehan Jennings; his father, Albert Jennings of Adams, Mass.; a brother, Michael Jennings of New Lebanon; and a sister, June Wetherill of Anahuac, Texas.
Services will be held Monday at 9 a.m. at the Trottier-Pringle Funeral Home, 6 Summers St., Adams, Mass., and at 10 at St. Anthony's Church, North Adams, where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated.
Calling hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Gordon C. Emerick Funeral Home, 1550 Route 9, and 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Trottier-Pringle Funeral Home.
Burial will be in Bellevue Cemetery, Adams.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 1450 Western Ave., Albany, NY 12203-3572; the Paralyzed Veterans of America, 801 18th St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20006; or the Mohawk & Hudson Humane Society, Oakland Avenue, Menands, NY 12204.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

James Greenway, survived freak air mishap 
SEATTLE - James Greenway Sr., featured in newspapers around the world after he fell partway out of a commercial airplane in 1954, died at age 96.
Greenway, who was embarrassed by the attention, died Jan. 21 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of complications from a stroke.
He was an active-duty Army Reserve officer when he flew to New York on a United Airlines DC-6 on Oct. 2, 1954.
As he dozed with his seat belt loosened, 13,000 feet over Indiana, the emergency hatch beside his seat flew off, leaving him dangling partly outside the propeller-driven plane.
Greenway managed to reach back into the plane, and other passengers hauled him into the cabin, badly bruised and his clothing in tatters.
"He wasn't going to tell anybody, but a reporter in the airport found out about it and it made world news, very much to my dad's chagrin," said his son, Robert, of Port Townsend.
Greenway retired in 1972 after a career as a Carnation dairy and ice cream worker, manager and plant superintendent.
Survivors include another son, James Jr. of Kirkland. 
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Cecilia Begin 
HOOSICK FALLS - Mrs. Cecilia Paquet Begin, 94, formerly of Main Street, died Thursday at the Hoosick Falls Health Center.
Born in Barre, Vt., Mrs. Begin was a graduate of Spaulding High School and a 1926 graduate of Goddard Academy, where she studied business.
She worked for a short time at the Bilideau Granite Co. in Barre. In 1946, Mrs. Begin, her husband and brother-in-law started the Hoosick Falls Monumental Works on Main Street. Mrs. Begin moved from Barre to Hoosick Falls in 1949. She was active in the business until 1990.
Mrs. Begin was a communicant of the Immaculate Conception Church and was one its first eucharistic ministers. She was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America.
She was a member of the Cambridge Garden Club, Hoosick Falls Home Bureau, Monument Builders of North America and the United States Trotting Association.
Her husband, Antonio R. Begin, whom she married June 4, 1929, died in 1990.
Survivors include a daughter, Rita H. Powers of Hoosick Falls; two sons, David L. Begin of Hoosick Falls and Dennis A. Begin of Quakertown, Pa.; four sisters, Florence Paquet of Barre, Yvonne Covino of Port Chester, N.Y., Madelyn Unger of St. Louis, Mo., and Lorraine Adams of Montpelier, Vt.; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
The Liturgy of Christian death and burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday at the Immaculate Conception Church, Main Street. Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Robson-Reinfurt Funeral Home, 72 Main St.
Spring burial will be in St. Monica's Cemetery, Barre.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Carmella Neikityk 
SCHENECTADY - Mrs. Carmella Miele Neikityk, 80, of Woolsey Street, died Thursday at Ellis Hospital after a long illness.
Born and educated in Schenectady, Mrs. Neikityk was a lifetime area resident.
She was a homemaker.
Mrs. Neikityk was a member of St. Columbus-Sacred Heart Church.
Survivors include her husband of 54 years, Alexander Neikityk; a daughter, Helen Weisgerber of Glenville; four sisters, Connie Greco of Schenectady, and Rose Masullo, Helen Suraci and Angie Masullo, all of Rotterdam; a brother, Frank Miele; and four grandchildren.
The services will be held at 9:15 a.m. Monday at the DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home, 1605 Helderberg Ave., Rotterdam, and at 10 a.m. a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Columbus-Sacred Heart Church. Visitation will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday at the funeral home.
Burial will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Community Hospice of Schenectady, 1411 Union St., Schenectady, NY 12308.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]

Ninian Smart, college prof. 
Ninian Smart, a popular professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and England's Lancaster University and a prolific author on comparative religions, has died at the age of 73.
Smart died Monday in Lancaster Royal Infirmary in Lancaster, England, after suffering a stroke Sunday night. He had recently moved to Lancaster after retiring from UC Santa Barbara, where he taught for 25 years and was J.F. Rowny Professor of Comparative Religions.
Internationally respected, Smart was president of the American Association of Religion, the primary professional association for scholars of religious studies, theology and ministerial training.
Revered for his teaching, Smart was better known to the general public for about three dozen highly readable books on religions around the world.
[Published 3-Feb-2001]


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