Thursday, March 26, 2015

Deborah “Debbie” M. Allen

Wellsville, NY - Deborah “Debbie” M. Allen of the River Road passed away on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, shortly after arrival at Jones Memorial Hospital. She was born on June 15, 1952 in Wellsville to Thomas and Audrey Drake Middaugh. On May 24, 2008 in the Allentown United Methodist Church Debbie married her long time companion and best friend Eugene Allen who survives.

Debbie graduated from Belmont Central School in 1970. She was employed as a certified nursing assistant for Jan and Bev’s Home Health Care and later for Southern Tier Home Health. She later became the Activities Director for Manor Hills until her retirement. Debbie was a member of the Allentown Methodist Church who enjoyed gardening, photography, bird watching and spending time with her grandchildren.

Besides her husband Debbie is survived by 3 daughters Lorie (Joe) Ebert, Bev (Jeff Sawczyszyn) VanTreese and Nancy (John) Harrington; 3 sons Ronnie Cline, Eric (Chantel) Cline and Cory (Missy) Allen; 2 sisters Betty (Miguel) Hernandez, and Linda (Paul) Barker; a brother Jerry (Eileen) Middaugh; 22 grandchildren Shayna, Hailee, Sydney, Jacob, Veronica, Liam, Kasey, Kelsey, Danika, Zachary, Kevin, Liana, Jamie, Kylee, Jackson, Toryn, Jacobe, Adam, Lillian, Lauryn, Mehgan and JC; great grandchildren Audrey and Blake; several nieces and nephews.

Debbie was predeceased by her parents Thomas and Audrey and her sister Pricilla Perkins.

Friends are invited to call on Friday, March 27, from 6 to 8 pm at the J.W. Embser Sons funeral Home in Wellsville at which time her funeral service with be held with Reverend Diane Cox presiding. Burial will talk place in Forest Hills Cemetery in Belmont and memorials in Debbie’s name may be made to the Autism Society by visiting Autism-Society.org. To leave online condolences please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.

Gerald L. “Pee Wee” Keech Sr,

Allentown, NY - Gerald L. “Pee Wee” Keech Sr, age 67, of State Route 417 passed away on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at Jones Memorial Hospital. He was born on June 7, 1947 to Charles and Lena Dorothy Stoddard Keech. He was married to Debra Slocum Keech of Franklinville who survives. 

Pee Wee grew up in Richburg and attended both Richburg and Bolivar Schools. He had worked for the former Friendship Foundry and later for various saw mills in the area. He enjoyed painting pictures, fishing, horses and motor cycles. Pee Wee also enjoyed working on cars and racing stock cars at Drum Raceway in Allentown.

Pee Wee is survived by a son Gerald “Gerry” Keech Jr. of Allentown; a grandson Gerald “J.J.” Keech III of Allentown; a brother Harold (Stephine) Keech of Friendship; 2 sisters Luella Keech Robbins of Bath and Darlene (Mike) Metatos of Angelica; as well as several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his parents Charles and Lena Dorothy Stoddard Keech as well as 2 brothers Charles “Junior” Keech and Raymond Keech.

Friends are invited to call on Saturday, March 28, from 1 to 3 pm at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Wellsville at which time his funeral service will be held. Burial will take place in Maple Lawn Cemetery in Bolivar and memorials in his name may be made to the Hart Comfort House in Wellsville. To leave online condolences please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dennis Frederick Wightman

Wellsville, NY - Dennis Frederick Wightman, 66, of 2088 County Road 18 passed away on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at the Buffalo VA Medical Center following a brief Illness. He was born July 21, 1948 in Wellsville the son of the late Frederick and Delphine (Moyer) Wightman.

Dennis was a graduate of Wellsville High School and received an Associate Degree from Alfred State College. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving from 1970 to 1972. He was employed as a Bus Driver for Allegany County Transit. He enjoyed hunting, woodworking, repairing cars, stock car racing and was a NASCAR fan.

Surviving are three daughters, Tracy Elias of Wellsville, Terry Wightman of Rochester, Carrie (Ben) Freeling of Hornell, one son, Sgt. Richard (Mikala) Wightman of Spring Lake, NC, son-in-law and great friend, Leo Elias of Wellsville, three grandchildren, Alex, Arianna and Jayden, two sisters, Ann Clark of Canisteo and Susie Wightman of Wellsville, one aunt, Mae Thompson of Wellsville and several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by a sister, Judy Austin.

Friends are invited to call on Thursday, March 26th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the J. W. Embser Sons Funeral Home Inc. in Wellsville. A memorial service will follow the visitation on Thursday at 3:00 pm in the funeral home with Pastor Richard Helms presiding. Burial, with military honors will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to VA WNY Health Care System; Willow Lodge  9A, 3495 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14215 (Memo-Willow Lodge 9A/GPS 1860) To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.

Eugene G. Nye

Newberry, SC - Eugene G. Nye, 85, passed away March 20, 2015 at Newberry County Memorial Hospital, following a brief illness. He was born November 17, 1929, in Wellsville, the son of the late Lyle E. and Ethel M. (Gardner) Nye. On April 11, 1953, he married Veronica Ludden, who predeceased him on March 11, 2010.

He was a 1947 graduate of Wellsville High School. He served in the US Army for three years. For years he owned and operated Nye "Best Buy" Auto Sales in Wellsville. In later years he was employed by Palmer Airmotive in Wellsville; retiring in 1992. One of his many hobbies over the years was owning and maintaining his 1967 Amphicar. He loved spending time with his family. He was a devoted husband and loving father who also served his community as a member of the Scio Lions Club and the Wellsville American Legion. He was an avid golfer and was a long time member of the Wellsville Country Club.

Surviving are three sons, Rodney (Diane) Nye of Chapin, SC, Daniel (Michele) Nye of Irmo, SC and Gregory (Laura) Nye of Newberry SC, one daughter, Suzanne (Lloyd) Bennett, of Olean, NY, 10 grandchildren, Chad (Ebony) Nye, Amanda Nye, Samantha (Glenn) Phillips, Jesse Nye, Danielle Nye, Tyler Nye, Jay (Alecia) Bennett, Shaun Bennett, Rick Nye, and Alexis Nye, four great-grandchildren, and a brother-in-law, Raymond McClure of St. Petersburg, Florida. He was also predeceased by his sister, Patricia McClure.

A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 25th at 11:00 am in the Immaculate Conception Church, 36 Maple Avenue in Wellsville. Entombment with military honors will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Memorial suggestions include the Catholic Charities Appeal or the American Cancer Society. To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rudolph “Rudy” Reinprecht

Wellsville, NY - Rudolph “Rudy” Reinprecht, 81, of 3866 Huntington Terrace died Friday, March 20, 2015 at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born August 2, 1933 in Olean the son of Anton and Ann (Flicker) Reinprecht.  He graduated from Wellsville Central School in 1952, attended Alfred State College, and graduated from Saint Bonaventure University with a BS degree in Mathematics.

He married the former Beryl Bailey in 1954 who predeceased him in 2005 after more than fifty years of marriage.  They were the parents of three sons:  James (Tina) Reinprecht, MD of Perkasie, PA; Jeffrey (Maria) Reinprecht of Houston, TX and Jon (Laurie) Reinprecht of Watertown, CT.

Rudy served in the United States Army at Langham Camp in England during the Korean Conflict as a Ballistic Meteorologist and maintained a lifelong friendship with those who served with him. He began his professional career in the Engineering Department of Air Preheater in 1956 where he became Manager of Purchasing and Materials.  In 1985 he transferred to Combustion Engineering in Stanford, CT where he worked another twenty years.  At that job he assisted in setting up a centralized purchasing system for the Corporation. 

He was a member of the National Association of Purchasing Managers and a past member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the APCO Management Club.  He was a past member of the David A. Howe Public Library Board and a founding member of the Wellsville Jaycees.  He was a member of the Church of Christ in Oxford, CT and attended the Christian Temple/First Congregational Church in Wellsville.  He was also a member of the American Legion Post 54, Fairfield, CT and a member of the RNC. He was a staunch Republican and expressed himself as such. If there are any Democrats in Heaven, the good Lord will have his hands full!

Rudy expressed the same passion for the Buffalo Bills as he did for politics and had been a fan since 1960.  He also enjoyed traveling, gardening, playing bridge and woodworking.  He built his house in Scio, NY in 1966.  He was never one to sit still.

Surviving in addition to his sons are six granddaughters and a brother, Robert. Also surviving are two sisters-in-law Lura Rouse and Alma (Richard) Harmer along with several nieces and nephews.  In addition, he is survived by his companion Sharon W. Hedrick-Ash and her sons, Colonel Townley Hedrick (Mary Elizabeth) and Huntley Hedrick (Patricia) and her grandchildren.

Friends are invited to call on Friday, March 27th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the J. W. Embser Sons Funeral Home Inc. in Wellsville. A service to celebrate Rudy’s life will be Saturday, March 28th at 11:00 am at the Christian Temple/Congregational Church, 289 N. Main Street in Wellsville with Rev. Michael Friday presiding.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to SPCA, Hart Comfort House, Jones Memorial Hospital, David A. Howe Library, Christian Temple/Congregational Church or any charity of the donor’s choice. To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.

William R. Ketchner

Scio, NY - William R. Ketchner, 85, of 4422 River Street passed away peacefully on Friday, March 20, 2015 at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville. He was born December 31, 1929 in Wellsville the son of Roland and Carmella (Byrnes) Ketchner. On May 1, 1954 in Wellsville he married Pauline Nickerson who predeceased him on October 21, 1970. On June 24, 1989 in Scio he married Donalda “Donnie” Jordan who predeceased him February 12, 2010.

Bill was a 1947 graduate of Wellsville High School. He was a veteran of the Korean War serving with the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953. Bill and Pauline owned and operated the Sinclair Gas Station in Wellsville until 1957, when he began his career at C. E. Air Preheater Company in Wellsville; retiring January 1, 1992. He was a member of St. Joseph’s Church in Scio; where he served as a Eucharistic Minister.

He is survived by one son, Timothy (Kim) Ketchner of San Antonio, Texas and their children Jennifer (Mark) Meinke and Ryan (Tana) Ketchner and their grandchildren, Madison Meinke and Beau Ketchner; Donnie’s loving daughters, Sue (Walt) Brown of Ceres and Merri (Tracy) Griffiths of Wellsville, their children, Molly (Rick) Brown, Greg Brown, Clarissa Young, Kyle Young, Nathan Griffiths and Garrett Griffiths and their grandchildren, Tyler and Peyton Swetland. He was predeceased by three brothers, James, John and Richard Ketchner.

Friends are invited to call on Monday, March 23rd from 4:00 to 7:00 pm and Tuesday, March 24th  from 9:30 to 10:15 am at the J. W. Embser Sons Funeral Home Inc. in Wellsville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday at 11:00 am at St. Joseph’s Church in Scio. Burial will be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to St. Joseph’s Church, The Wellsville Volunteer Ambulance Corps or any charity of the donor’s choice. To leave online condolences, please visit www.embserfuneralhome.com.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nora Colmers Zinner

Wellsville, NY - Nora Colmers Zinner, 100, passed away peacefully in her home on February 18 with her daughter and grandson at her side. Born May 1, 1914, in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Franz Colmers and Marie Leiner Colmers, Nora whose full name was Eleonore Friederika Klara Elisabeth Gertrud Marie was the goddaughter of her namesake, the exiled Queen (Tsaritsa) Eleonore of Bulgaria.

Nora spent the first eight years of her life in Coburg, Germany, where her father, lovingly known as “Vali,” who had been awarded medals by Tsar Nicholas for his service in the German Red Cross during the Russo-Japanese war, was chief surgeon of the county hospital. She was home schooled with one year spent on the shores of Lake Tegernsee in the Bavarian Alps. By the time she was nine, her family moved to Munich, Germany, where she was enrolled in a private school and then later attended Gymnasium, receiving an accelerated post-secondary education. In 1933, after graduating, she went to England as an exchange student, perfecting her English and learning shorthand. In the fall of 1934, Nora moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where she again was a university exchange student. She once wrote, “I flunked the final, but got 3rd prize in a slalom ski race!” Nora learned stenotyping in Geneva enabling her to secure a part time job working for journalists affiliated with the League of Nations who needed her translations for articles intended for newspapers in the Balkans and Scandinavia. IBM’s CEO, Thomas J. Watson, learning about her work, approached her and asked if she could use the stenotype machine to write German. Without hesitation, she assured him she could and was hired on the spot. While in Geneva, Nora did independent writing and interviewing when not kayaking down the Rhine or skiing at Megève with friends, including Émile Allais, later known as the daring French Olympic champion credited for modern day skiing with skis parallel.

Nora returned to Munich in the fall of 1936 and worked at the Austrian Consulate while waiting for her emigration visa to the United States. She traveled to New York City by boat in May 1937 and with her shorthand and translating skills was hired by an export and import company. In 1938, she married Kurt Zinner, a cardiologist,  bought a Buick for $65 and drove West. The car broke down in Wellsville, New York, where the couple not only found a mechanic but a need for a physician.


Nora gave birth to two children, Peter, born in 1940 and Barbi, born in 1942. When the children were young, Nora’s focus was inside the home, but she nevertheless managed to earn her pilot’s license on a single engine Cessna, started the Wing Scouts as part of the National Girl Scouts for young woman interested in flying, and began an active member of the Hemlock Twig for Jones Memorial Hospital with which she was involved until her death. In addition, Nora joined groups of artists painting still lives and landscapes. Although her parents wouldn’t allow her to go to art school, Nora loved drawing and painting even as a child. Exceptionally talented, she would often credit time spent under the tutelage of Clara Katherine Nelson of Alfred University for enhancing her artistic skills. Nora’s paintings, cherished possessions of her friends and collectors, almost always were awarded ribbons in juried exhibitions, even as recently as last year.

An avid reader since she was a child, Nora worked at David A. Howe Public Library in the 1950s in order to support her family while she attended Alfred University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1960 and then her Masters in Teaching from Alfred University, acquiring supplemental credits from Middlebury College. Nora was responsible for introducing German classes to Wellsville High School and from 1960 until 1978, taught German and French and even a class in English when called upon. Students not only benefited from Nora’s passion for languages and her love of teaching, but were exposed to her depth of knowledge whether European history, mythology, literature, music or Latin derivatives. A true linguist, she was always a stickler for correct grammar and expected language to be treated with respect. Her love for words brought her great joy even in the last weeks of her life when she would guide her grandson in daily German lessons followed by mutually solving (without internet help) the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.

Throughout her long life, Nora (known as “Moma” to her family) mentored and inspired many. She was especially fond of teenagers and young people. Recipients of her wisdom would find that her natural curiosity and excitement about life were as valuable as her wise advice. Nora called herself a “political animal.” She voted in every election, never missed a State of the Union address and was a fan of PBS News Hour and the Sunday political roundtables. Because Nora had dreamed of being a journalist herself, she took special pride in her grandson’s wide travels and success as an international journalist and documentary filmmaker. When her daughter, Barbi, was a teenager, Nora would encourage her to venture away from Wellsville to discover “the big world waiting out there.” In recent months, history repeated itself as she encouraged her granddaughter, Tate, to seek new adventures upon graduating from college. Nora was especially proud of her son Peter, delighting in his kindness, thoughtfulness and positive outlook on life despite his challenges. She adored his partner, Joann, and took great comfort in knowing they were so happy.

As an avid skier, Nora joined Wellsville veterans who were part of the 10th Mountain Division as they jury-rigged an old Ford engine to power a rope tow turning the backside of Norton Hill into a ski slope. When Swain Resort opened, she would gather ski gear and head out with Barbi and her friends, many who still credit her with introducing them to skiing. Nora skied into her early 80s and after retirement added golf to the sports she enjoyed. Always interested in languages, Nora hosted Spanish classes in her home and although in her 80s and 90s her ear was sharp and her memory keen. In these later years she also began actively playing bridge, a game her father taught her well over three-quarters of a century earlier. She not only enjoyed the challenge of the game, she loved the company especially during daylong “Marathon” bridge tournaments. Some friends reported she soundly beat them a few days before she died.

Despite her dismay over the current political bickering and horrors of conflicts with their accompanying senseless deaths and destruction, she was overtly optimistic about the world in general, insisting, “Things will get better.”  Although she sometimes would lament that she had “outlived my time,” she checked her email every day and would insist on “Googling” anything she did not know. When hearing about new technology, she would laugh and shake her head in amazement, noting that the science fiction she had loved as a child had become a reality.

 Nora enjoyed living in Wellsville. She remarked often about the beauty of the hillsides changing with each season. When others complained about this past year’s long winter, she would exclaim, “I love the snow!” She was thrilled when the cardinals appeared at her bird feeder and equally excited when she could harvest tomatoes growing on her deck or her favorite sunflowers bloomed in late summer. From the time she was a pilot, Nora was fascinated by the weather. She would keep daily track of barometer readings and temperature fluctuations. By observing cloud formations, she predicted rain and storm fronts more accurately than the weatherman.

When she could, Nora loved to travel, visiting in the last half-century Germany, Yugoslavia, Greece, New Zealand, Australia, Kenya and Panama. Although her interests were indisputably global, her attention was more often than not directed on what was happening in the life of the person with whom she was talking.  Always an attentive listener, she’d welcome newcomers as readily as old friends and her home was filled with people of all ages. Conversations were always rich in content and even if the world’s problems weren’t solved, they were debated.

It was because of her close and loyal friends and her wonderful team of dedicated caregivers that Nora, even as a centenarian, was able to lead an active life, contributing to the community, enjoying social engagements and the cultural offerings that delighted her so much.  Her generous and vibrant spirit, dignified grace, keen perspective and intelligence, empathy and compassion, appreciation of the small things and an unending curiosity and fascination of the unknown have left lasting marks on all who knew her. Her time on this earth, treasured by so many, now serves as a legacy of how to live life to the fullest. Nora embraced Buddhism and believed her energy would live on.

Nora is survived by her son, Peter Zinner and his partner Joann Picone, of Rochester New York, and her daughter, Barbi Reed and her husband, Gary Hornbuckle, of Ketchum, Idaho and Sausalito California; two grandchildren, Reed Lindsay of Ketchum, Idaho and Tate Reed of Flagstaff, Arizona; two nephews, Dr. William F. Colmers of Edmonton, Alberta (wife Eva and children Isabelle and Phillip) and John M. Colmers of Baltimore, Maryland (wife Debra and children Max and Eleanor) and her goddaughter, Margie Gill. Nora was preceded in death by her brother Rudolf A. Colmers, sister Elisabeth “Lisl” Standen, nephew Thomas P. Colmers and her governess “Engi,” Hilda L. Lacher.

During her final hours, Nora asked Barbi and Reed to “thank the town.” She landed in Wellsville by chance, but remained immensely grateful for the tight-knit community of which she became an integral part. Instead of a funeral or memorial service, she wanted people to not shed tears but to celebrate her life with a party. Respecting her wishes, a celebration of Nora’s life will take place at Wellsville Creative Art Center, May 3, at 2:00 PM.

For those who would like to give a gift in her memory, her family respectively requests that you consider the following:
•LDA Life and Learning Services, 1650 South Avenue, Suite 200, Rochester, NY 14620. (Incoming donations will be applied to St. Paul where Nora’s son Peter is a resident.)
•David A. Howe Public Library, 155 North Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895  (Nora, an avid reader all her life, always had a bookmarked book next to her chair and bed.)
•Genesee Valley Chorus, 53 South St., Belmont, NY 14813 (Nora supported the choir for many years and eagerly anticipated its concerts.)