Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Nitia Gail (McCracken) Cole, 85

Wellsville, NY—Nitia Gail (McCracken) Cole, 85, a former long time resident of Manor Hills passed away on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.  She was born June 10, 1936 in Wellsville, the daughter of the late Francis W. and Velma Elaine (Rogers) McCracken, On December 6, 1958 in Wellsville she married John Frederic Cole who predeceased her on May 4, 2020. 

Nitia was a 1954 graduate of Wellsville Central School, She was first employed by Travelers Insurance Company in Buffalo, and later in Wellsville by Empire Gas Company, First Trust Bank, Turbodyne, and Wellsville High School, retiring in 1998. She was a member of the Wellsville First United Methodist Church, and Monday Club. She enjoyed hunting, gardening, painting, reading and traveling, spending lots of time with family

She is survived by two sons, J. Jeffrey (Leanne) Cole of Townsend, TN, Jeremy J. (Mary Kate) Cole of Wellsville, a daughter, Julie Ann Cole of Westminster, CO, five grandchildren, Holly Maxwell, Liz, Molly, and Sarah Cole, and Jack Cole, a sister, Nancy (James) Stevens of Wellsville, as well as several beloved nieces and nephews, including, Frank and Richard Ferry, Jim and Janice Stevens, and Amy Gowdy. 

In addition to her parents she was predeceased by a grandson, Jay Thomas Maxwell, two nephews, Bill Ferry and Jay Stevens, and a brother, Francis McCracken.

Friends are invited to call on Sunday, April 3, 2022 from 2 – 4 pm at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Wellsville, 34 West State Street. A memorial service will be held on Monday, April 4, 2022 at 11 am in the Wellsville First United Methodist Church with Reverend Craig Buelow presiding. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery. Please consider memorial donations to Jones Memorial Hospital, the David A. Howe Library, or the Wellsville United Methodist Church. To leave online condolences, please visit

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Robert A. Ball Jr., 79

Wellsville, NY – Robert A. Ball Jr., 79, of Southdrive, passed away on Monday, March 28, 2022 at home. He was born in Wellsville on November 21, 1942 the son of the late Robert A. Sr. and Marjorie (Grover) Ball. On May 30, 1992 he married his wife of 30 years, Virginia “Ginny” Shores, who survives. 

Bob attended school in both Wellsville and Whitesville. Bob found his career in construction, for thirty years he drove the concrete mixer for Rinker Concrete Company of Lake Worth, Florida, from where he retired. Afterwards, he and Ginny returned to Wellsville, where they have attended the First United Methodist Church. Bob’s hobbies included oil painting and wood burning art; he gave away much of his artwork to his family and friends, but he also sold many pieces in the Craft Treasure Chest in Boyton, Florida. One of his greatest pleasures was to travel with his wife, they enjoyed spending winters in Florida. 

In addition to his wife Ginny, Bob is survived by: a daughter, Kim (Donny) Maxon of Royal Palm Beach, FL; a son, Robert D. (Jennifer) Ball of Lantana, FL; four grandchildren, Adam, Alex, Michael, and Corey; a brother, Charles (Peg) Ball of Leesburg, FL; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, and a brother and sister-in-law, James “Jim” & Joanne Ball. 

A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. Please consider memorial donations to the SPCA Serving Allegany County, or to the First United Methodist Church of Wellsville. To leave online condolences please visit

Monday, March 28, 2022

Rose Ann Dahar, 92

Wellsville, NY – Rose Ann Dahar, 92, of 162 School Street, passed away on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at home surrounded by her eight children. She was born March 5, 1930 in Arcade, NY the daughter of the late Leopold and Julianna (Mickolic) Wesley. On May 21, 1955 in Olean she married Francis T. Dahar who predeceased her on October 28, 1973. 

Rose was a 1948 graduate of Olean High School; she continued her education at the Arnot Ogden School of Nursing, from where she graduated in 1951. During her 42 year career as an RN, her nursing roles included, bedside nursing, critical care nursing, and nursing supervision. At the time of retirement in 1993, she was the manager of the Maternity Department at Jones Memorial Hospital. She volunteered as a family advocate for Home Care & Hospice, and later transitioned to a clerical volunteer. Outside of work, she enjoyed: knitting and crocheting (she made afghans for all her children and grandchildren), gardening, puzzles, reading, singing in the church choir, and bowling. 

She is survived by: four sons, Michael (Elizabeth) Dahar, Francis (Lisa) Dahar, Gary Dahar, and Christopher (Krista) Dahar; four daughters, Julie Salvana, Jean Marie Russo, Theresa (Craig) Brocious, Katherine (Glenn) Amesbury; 28 grandchildren; 22 great-grandchildren with two more on the way; and a brother, Joseph Wesley of Allegany, as well as several nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by  five brothers, Tony, Leo, John, Frank, and Louie Wesley; and two sisters, Emma Accurso and Mary Wolfe. 

Friends are invited to call on Friday, April 1, 2022 from 2-4 pm, and 7-8 pm at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Wellsville, 34 West State Street in Wellsville. A family led time of remembrance will follow visitation at 8:00 pm Friday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, April 2, at 11:00 am in the Immaculate Conception Church in Wellsville, with Reverend Robert Agbo as celebrant. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Please consider memorial donations to Tuition Angels c/o the Immaculate Conception School, 24 Maple Avenue, Wellsville, NY 14895. To leave online condolences please visit

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Kim Marie (Wilson) Perkins, 61

Wellsville, NY — Kim Marie (Wilson) Perkins, 61, of 215 Madison Street died unexpectedly at home on Friday, March 25, 2022. She was born November 30, 1960 in Wellsville the daughter of the late Wallace Donald and Marie Mae (Kellogg) Wilson. On May 21, 1983 in Wellsville she married Robin “Mike” Perkins who survives.

Kim was a 1978 graduate of Wellsville High School. She attended Alfred State College and Corning Community College. She was formerly employed at Giant Food Mart and the Beef Haus in Wellsville.

Surviving in addition to her husband, are two sons, David Perkins, and Andrew (Jennifer) Perkins both of Olean, a daughter, Aubrey (Mathew) Coast of Duke Center, PA, five grandchildren, Alexis, Colton, and Laney Perkins, and Tanner and Kendall Coast, two sisters, Cindy (Dan) Shipman of Orlando, FL, and Michelle (Kevin) Bennett of Wellsville, a half sister,  Christa Thompson of Waverly, three step sisters, Tammy Cattano of Bath, PA, Toni (Al) Barton, and Shannon Wittig both of Waverly, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Friends are invited to call on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 from 2-4 and 7-9 pm at the J. W. Embser Sons Funeral Home Inc., 34 W. State Street in Wellsville. The funeral will be Wednesday, March 30, at 11:00 am in the funeral home. Burial will be in Woodlawn Cemetery. Please consider memorial donations to any charity of the donor’s choice. To leave online condolences, please visit

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

George Gardiner Probst, 87

Wellsville, NY—George Gardiner Probst, 87,  passed away at home on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.  He was born April 2, 1934 in Rochester, the son of the late George Richard and Hazel (Gardiner) Probst. He was also predeceased by one of his best friends, Wallace Copley. 

He was a 1953 graduate of Wellsville High School and a veteran of two branches of the U. S. Military.  George served in the United States Navy from 1954-1958 aboard aircraft carriers during his years of service.  He also served in the United States Air Force from 1963-1967 as an ECM Repairman. He continued his education at Simmons School of Mortuary Science and graduated in 1962 as a licensed Funeral Director. George maintained his license thru the years.

After returning home to Wellsville George started his career at Dresser-Rand Inc. (formerly Worthington Corporation) on the 2nd shift and retired after 30 years of service.  He also was a part-time Audio Visual Technician at Alfred State college.

George was proud to serve in two branches of the Armed Forces and was a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, which he readily explained to all his friends. George was also an accomplished photographer and enjoyed taking photos for IAM 1580 Turbo-Lines publication.  His love of the great outdoors was evident in the many hours he enjoyed canoeing at Pine Creek Grand Canyon with many friends. He also enjoyed hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing and camping.  He was at home on a trail of God’s great creation with wildlife and nature. He enjoyed traveling thru Yosemite National Park, the Appalachian Trail, and West Branch Ball Mountain in Maine.

George was a member of the former Wellsville Lodge #230 F&AM, the Corning Consistory, a 47 year member of the Morrison Hayes Post 702 American Legion in Wellsville, the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and Susquehannock Trail Club, the US Air Force Association, International Assoc. of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM 1580), PA State Forest volunteer, and a former member of the  Wellsville Elks Lodge #1495.

George is survived by his twin sister, Gretchen Probst, who supported and assisted in his care during his final months.  He is also survived by his dear friend, Maureen Hauselt, whom he shared many happy times and wonderful memories.  He always reminisced with a smile about the many hikes, dinners and conversations they shared.  George was fond of his many friends with whom he enjoyed breakfast gatherings, hiking, traveling , and conversation. He was thankful for Rich Tidd and his family who always included him in their holiday gatherings, as well as Jim Peet and Kathy Hamlin for the friendship and support they gave him during his life. The kindness of Susan Bergeron, daughter of Wallace Copley, for also always including him in family events and outings.  

Friends are invited to call on Friday, March 25, 2022 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the J. W. Embser Sons Funeral Home, 34 W. State Street in Wellsville. The funeral will be Saturday, March 26, at 11:00 am in the funeral home. Burial with military honors will follow in Woodlawn Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to any charity of the donor’s choice. To leave online condolences, please visit

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Karen M. Ruch, née Jensen

Wellsville, NY - Karen M. Ruch, née Jensen, went to her eternal home on March 20, 2022. 

Karen was the beloved wife of the late James P. Ruch; daughter of the late Jacob and Jenny Jensen; sister of Paul (Loraine) Jensen, and the late Robert Jensen and Ruth (Julius) Kovach. Karen was the loving mother of Holly (Thomas) Ruch-Ross, John (Stefanie) Ruch, Suzanne (John) Garvey, and James (Mary) Ruch. Karen is also survived by her grandchildren, Matthew Ruch, Lisa (Gregory) Bugbee, Laura Smith, Karen (Andrew) Swanson, Amanda (Sasha) Khodorkovskaya, Erin (Michael) Matecki, Benjamin Ross, Adam (Allyssa) Garvey, Julia Ruch, and Sydney Ross. She was GG to 9 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.  

Karen taught English for years at Iroquois High School. She loved painting and drawing, playing the piano, and singing. Karen moved to Wellsville and was welcomed into a loving community at Grace United Church. 

A memorial service is being planned for a later date. To leave online condolences please visit

Monday, March 14, 2022

Dianna F. Emrick, 67

Scio, NY – Dianna F. Emrick, 67, of 4607 Waughbrook Road, died unexpectedly on March 12, 2022 shortly after arrival at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville. She was born March 10, 1955 in Cuba, the daughter of the late James E. Sr. and Florence A. (Clark) Fleming. On December 2, 2002 she married Dr. F. Clifton Miller Jr. who predeceased her on October 26, 2015. On October 9, 2018 she married William T. Emrick, who survives. 

Dianna was raised in Angelica, and was a 1973 graduate of Angelica Central School. She continued her education at Alfred State College, where she graduated with an Associate’s Degree in 1975. She began her 34 year career at Jones Memorial Hospital after gradating high school, and upon earning her degree, she worked as a registered nurse for Jones – primarily in the Maternity Ward. Additionally, she was the office nurse for Dr. Miller. Outside of her employment, she and her late husband bred Golden Retrievers for many years, she was a member of the Andover Presbyterian Church, former member of the Scio United Methodist Church, and a dedicated volunteer at Immaculate Conception School. 

In addition her her husband Bill, she is survived by: three children, Clifton Miller, Helena Miller, and Nathan Miller; three step-children, Heather Lanphere and her companion Tom Hayden, Lindsay Chamberlin, and Katie (Sean) Cauley; nine grandchildren, Ethan Lanphere, Max Lanphere, Jackson Shoughrue, Liam Chamberlin, Alex Cauley, Jack Cauley, Charlotte Chamberlin, Emily Chamberlin, and Henry Chamberlin; two brothers, James E. (Sharon) Fleming Jr. and Timothy J. (Lori) Fleming; step-mother, Shirley Windus; three close personal friends, Hilary Miller, Laura Kintner, and Dr. Lu-Ann Kaye; as well as several nieces and nephews. 

A private funeral is being planned at the Andover Presbyterian Church, and there will be no prior visitation. Please consider memorial donations to: The Dr. F. Clifton Miller Birthing Center & Trust Fund, 191 North Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895; The Andover Presbyterian Church, PO Box 773, Andover, NY 14806; or Lion Camp Badger, 725 Larue Road, Spencer, NY 14883. To leave online condolences please visit 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

James Patrick Cooney, 84

Genesee, PA – James Patrick Cooney, 84, passed away on Saturday, March 5, 2022. He was born on March 31, 1937 in Kinney, PA the son of the late John and Florence (O’Donnell) Cooney. In 1963 at St. Mary’s Church in Rexville, NY he married Charlotte Isabelle Coleman, who predeceased him on February 2, 2022. 

Pat attended school in Genesee, where he was class president, and a standout athlete. He played varsity basketball as a seventh grader, which was unheard of at the time. After graduating in 1955, he enlisted with the United States Army and was stationed in Ft. Hood, TX. While in Ft. Hood, he was recruited to join the Army Boxing Team. For the next two years Pat traveled all over Europe boxing and only ever lost one match. 

After his time with the Army, Pat held various jobs in Pennsylvania and then in California. He returned home and worked on a highway maintenance crew, worked for Fish Construction, and later for Air Preheater as a welder. Upon the death of his brother, he was asked by his parents to take over the family farm. He was a very hard worker, many times doing the morning milking, spending all day in the field, completeing the eveing milking, and then working an 8 hour shift at Preheater, and starting all over again with only a couple hours sleep. 

He loved his family and enjoyed the occasional card game. He was often seen driving around in one of his prized Lincoln Town Cars. He was known for his quick wit, dry sense of humor, work ethic, generosity, and love of animal. He was an avid sports fan who enjoyed routing for Penn State, Notre Dame, and the Buffalo Bills. When his children were younger, he traveled all over to watch them compete in various sporting events. Pat also enjoyed reading, hunting, trips to the casino, antiquing, and sitting on his property and taking-in its beauty. He was proud of his extensive zippo lighter, pipe, and vintage hat collections. 

He belonged to the Sacred Heart Church in Genesee, and a volunteer groundskeeper for the St. Mary’s Cemetery for many years. He was a member of the Belmont American Legion Post #808 and Wellsville VFW Post #2530. 

He is survived by: three sons, Ronald (Candy) Cooney of Ulysses, PA, John (Mary Siano) Cooney of Manorville, NY, and Dennis (Alison Miyamoto) Cooney of Fullerton, CA; two daughters, Peggy Cunningham of New Port Richey, FL, and Patricia Cooney of Belmont; six grandchildren, Colby, Coly, Colin, Katy, Kaley, and Claire; nine great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, JoAnne Cooney of Canisteo, NY; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents and wife, he was predeceased by: a daughter, Kelly; four brothers, Dennis, Thomas, Daniel, and Richard; a sister, Anne; a grandson, Kenneth; a nephew, Kevin; and nieces, Mary and Maureen. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrate on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 10 am, in Sacred Heart Church of Genesee, PA with Reverend Joseph Dougherty presiding. Burial, with military honors, will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Kinney, PA. In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to the SPCA Serving Allegany County, PO Box 181, Belmont, NY 14813. To leave online condolences please visit

Sandra E. Walsh, 83

Alma, NY – Sandra E. Walsh, 83, of 5696 Hogbrook Hill Road, passed away on Thursday, March 10, 2022 in her home surrounded by her children. She was born in Wellsville on June 21, 1938 the daughter of the late Curtis D. and Namoi (Scott) Moreland. On June 14, 1958 in Scio, she married the love her life and childhood sweetheart, David W. Walsh, who predeceased her in April of 2021. 

Sandy was a graduate of Scio Central School. She was employed at Jones Memorial Hospital, Key Bank, Fleet Bank, and Brown & Stout Insurance for many years. She was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic church in Scio. She loved the outdoors, especially her flower garden that she maintained for over 30 years. One of her greatest joys was spending time with her husband and children, and especially her grandchildren. 

She is survived by: two sons, David (Melissa) Walsh and G. Scott (Theresa) Walsh; a daughter, Jenae (Chris Shuttleworth) Austin; nine grandchildren, Jessica Walsh, Joshua Walsh, Heather (Matt) Gaynor, Jeremy (Emily) Walsh, Katie (Kyle) Baldwin, Roy Austin, Derek Austin, Matthew (Emilie) Austin, and Lacey Shuttleworth; seven great-grandchildren, Logan, Kenzell, Eleanor, Braddock, Quniton, Griffin, and Bennett; a brother, James G. (Janice) Moreland; two sisters-in-law, Diana (Jerry) Hillard, and Adele (John) Walsh; and several nieces and nephews. 

A private family service is being planned for a later date. Please consider memorial donations to the Allentown Volunteer Fire Department, 1966 Church Street PO Box 82, Allentown, New York 14707. To leave online condolences please visit

John Harold Donovan, 70

Arkport, NY – John Harold Donovan, 70, of State Route 36, passed away on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at University of Rochester Thompson Health Center due to complications from Covid-19 and Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was born on January 6, 1952 in Wellsville, the son of the late William J. and Jean E. (O’Keefe) Donovan. On April 14, 1978 in Wellsville, he married his wife of 44 years, Ellen M. Hebblethwaite, who survives.

Jack attended school in Hornell, Belmont, and graduated from Friendship High School in 1970. As a boy and young man, he was very active in sports and enjoyed spending every moment he could with his family and friends. He was fortunate enough to have been given “The Handbook of How to Do Work the Right Way” from his Grandfather O’Keefe, the man he looked up to the most and who taught him many technical and life-skills. While in High School, he worked many jobs, including (most notably) at the Belvidere Restaurant. After graduating, he worked for Acme Electric and traveled around the country when he could. For some time, he lived in Gainesville, FL with several friends and his future wife, Ellen. They eventually moved back to Belmont, where he attended Alfred State College, from which he graduated with an Honors Associates Degree in Electronics. Upon earning his degree, he began his career with Xerox Corporation in Webster, NY as a Service Technician. He was a dedicated and well-regarded employee with Xerox for 25 years, and eventually became a Customer Service Engineer. The position included much travel within the United States, as well as internationally, to set-up machines for trade shows. His work ethic and attention to detail put him in high-demand for important corporate events and customers, but also allowed him to further see and explore the world – one of his greatest passions in life. He was a member of the Hornell Moose Lodge #210. He was also very generous to local charities.

Jack was always happiest when he had a chance to spend time with family and friends, the more the better.  He especially loved visiting his mother, Jean, and step-dad, Peter S. Gambino, at their home in Belvidere, a place of such warmth and humor that friends of the family from all generations wished to stop by whenever the chance presented itself.  It was there that his sharp memory and even sharper wit was most often on display as he would regale everyone gathered with stories of his life and experiences, which would get the walls of the place shaking from all the laughter.  The things he remembered and the stories he could tell would often make you wish his memory was not quite so good, but no matter how embarrassing the stories could seem, there was no doubt that his selfless love for those close to him was why he remembered their words and actions so well.  His family and friends would often make a point of remarking on how great of a man he was, that if they needed help or someone to talk to, it was Jack to whom they could turn, and he would always find a way to be there for them.  He tried to extend his kindness to whomever he could, whether it be lending a hand to someone or donations to charities, he would do his best to spread happiness and good will.  He will be greatly missed by those who knew him, but his big heart will be a legacy that will continue to endure.

In addition to his wife Ellen, he is survived by: three children, Sabra (Patrick) Nichols of Alfred Station, Joseph Donovan of Arkport, and Jeannette (Gary Cole) Donovan of Plattsburgh; four grandchildren, Bobbi, Halli, Leah and David; two great-grandchildren; siblings, Roberta (Ted) Seeley, Susan (James) Rosenberger, Fran (Doug Eakins) Gambino, Daniel (Kari) Gambino, Peter (Nichole) Gambino; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews; and beloved pets, Roscoe the dog, and Sneakers & Cinders the cats. He was predeceased by: his father, William Donovan; his mother and step-dad, Jean and Peter Gambino; a sister and her husband, Elisabeth and James Kud; four nephews, Noah, Jordan, Mason, and Justin.

Friends are invited to call on Saturday, March 19, 2022 from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home in Belmont, 17 Schuyler Street. A graveside service is being planned for a later date at the family’s convenience. Burial will be in Forest Hills Cemetery. Please consider memorial donations to the Hornell Humane Society and the American Cancer Society. To leave online condolences please visit

Friday, March 11, 2022

Georgianna “Georgi” Geary Higgins, 88

Wellsville, NY - Georgianna “Georgi” Geary Higgins, 88, died at home on March 10, 2022. Mom was born on February 23, 1934 in Wellsville to Maurice and Catherine (Daley) Geary. She attended the Immaculate Conception School through the 10th grade then graduated from Wellsville High School in 1952. On May 28, 1955 she married her beloved Donald Towner Higgins. Dad died in September 2019. Mom and Dad were compassionately cared for by Dr. Pasquale Picco, and his staff, and the Tender Loving Care Home Health Care Agency.

Mom-Nana-Great Nana is survived by her three children, Daniel (Errol Haynes) of Dallas, TX, Brian (Noreen) of Cape May Court House, NJ and Shelia Higgins Gerrie (Richard) of Macedon, NY; four grandchildren Timothy Higgins (Sara) of Redwood City, CA, their three sons Stradbroke, Teague and Boden, Meaghan Higgins Imszennik (Brian) of Warrington, PA, their son Daniel and daughter Theresa, Patrick Gerrie of Raleigh, NC and Christopher Gerrie of Cleveland, OH; and her sister Mary Geary McMullen of Winter Park, FL. She was predeceased by brothers Paul and Frank.

In 1937, Mom and her brothers and sister went to live with Mrs. Josephine Lee, at 46 Wheeler Place, following her Father’s death and her Mother’s hospitalization in the Craig Colony for Epileptics in Sonyea, NY. At the time it was thought to be a temporary arrangement made by her Aunt Mary, Sister Eugena, who taught at the Immaculate Conception School and her Aunt Alice, who worked at St Mary’s School for the Deaf in Buffalo. However, Mom lived with Mrs. Lee until she married Dad. When we were kids, Grandma Geary lived on Meservey Hill with her first cousin John Shaughnessy. They were always part of our immediate family. Mom’s ancestors were all Irish Catholic immigrants and she was proud of that heritage. Most immigrated to the Wellsville area in the late 1840’s to escape the “hunger”. Mom’s Maternal Grandmother came with her older sister in the 1890’s, both young teenagers at the time, to work as contract domestic servants in a Wellsville household.

Mom began her work life at New York Telephone Company as an operator in the Wellsville branch. After taking a break for childrearing, she worked first as an assistant to Dr. John Williams and then continued her career for the next 29 years at the First Trust Bank. Mom was a member of the Immaculate Conception Church and a past member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. She played at golf and, until the pandemic, enjoyed Tuesday luncheon and bridge at the Beef Haus. Dad and Mom loved to entertain which got them into all sorts of shenanigans with their friends and family and we sentimentally recall those times.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the convenience of the family, and there will be no prior visitation. Please consider memorial donations to the David A. Howe Library, 155 North Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895 or the Jones Memorial Hospital Foundation, 191 North Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895. To leave online condolences, please visit 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Beverly J. Root, 83

Allentown, NY – Beverly J. Root, 83, of Ball Road, passed away at home on March 2, 2022. She was born in Wellsville on August 21, 1938 the daughter of the late John J. and Geraldine (Hurd) Sloan. On July 26, 1958 in Bolivar she married her former husband, Francis R. Root, who survives. 

Bev was a life-long resident of Allentown; she was a 1956 graduate of Allentown Union School. She was a bookkeeper for Francis R. Root Inc. Oil Field and Excavation of Allentown; she also helped establish the Fashion Bug of Wellsville and worked there until it’s closing in 2013. Outside of her employment, her work was never done – “Grandma Beetle” was proactive on the family farm by raising beef cattle, participating in horse pulling and riding, while also working the oil leases; but then in turn preparing meals for everyone else. She was fond of cooking, and provided meals for many in several aspects of her life. She assisted with the other family businesses such as: R&W Moto/Ski on Hog Brook (later on White Hill). She was a long-time and tremendously involved member of the Allentown United Methodist Church, she was instrumental in helping to organize the monthly outreach meals, and enjoyed singing at church with her wonderful voice. She served two terms as a board member for the Town of Alma. She will be remembered as a Jill of All Trades. 

In addition to Francis, she is survived by: four children, Lynn (Russ) Pinney of Bolivar, Mary (Glen Brooks) Root of The Colony, TX, Karl (Tricia) Root of Bolivar, and Lori Root of Bolivar; ten grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a sister, Barbara (Douglas) Lewis of Port Orange, FL, formerly of Scio; and several nieces and nephews, including Gabe (Meagan) Lewis of Port Orange, FL. 

Friends are invited to call on Monday, March 7, 2022 from 4 – 7 PM at the J.W. Embser Sons Funeral Home, 34 West State Street, Wellsville. A memorial service will follow on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 11 AM in the Allentown United Methodist Church, 5815 NY-417, Allentown, with Reverend Diane Cox and Reverend Alva Cornell presiding. Please consider memorial donations to the Allentown United Methodist Church. To leave online condolences please visit

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

William (Bill) Underhill, 88

Alfred, NY – William (Bill) Underhill, born April 13, 1933 in Berkeley, California, the second of three children of Alfred Underhill and Katharine Gibbs Underhill, passed away at age 88 on February 16, 2022 in Wellsville, New York. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Linn Underhill née Baldwin, and his second wife Linda Underhill, née Leshinski, and grandson Jacob Underhill. He is survived by his brother John, sister Ann, and three children, Sarah, Joseph (Beth), and Katherine (Jason), grandchildren David, William, Meryn, Rebekah, Hill, and Toby, as well as many nieces, nephews and extended family. He leaves behind a rich legacy of artistic creativity and a loving community of friends, colleagues, and fellow artists. As a father he was always kind and loving, so proud of his children, and filling their lives with art, creativity, a love of learning, and an ethic of care toward the land, particularly their family home on East Valley in Alfred Station, where he planted hundreds of trees, maintained a lovely pond, and built a small cabin that remains a gathering place and refuge for the family. He was, to the end, the most positive and kind of people, quick to praise and express enthusiasm, interest, and support for those around him, whether they were his family, students, or caregivers during his later years.

He grew up in the hills of Berkeley, California, attending Berkeley High School, where he began his work as a sculptor and artist. He went on to attend the California College of Arts and Crafts (where his mother had studied), before transferring to the Architecture Program at the University of California, Berkeley. There he had the good fortune to work with both Buckminster Fuller and Charles Eames. Inspired by Fuller’s geodesic dome, he led a student design team to construct a geodesic dome— the first of its kind to be built on the West Coast—as a bird sanctuary for the Oakland California Park Department on Lake Merritt, where the structure still stands. It was in that program that he met Linn Baldwin, who he would marry in 1956. From 1957-59 he served in the U.S. Army, stationed for a time in Germany, working as a draftsman. Underhill earned his bachelor’s (1960) and master’s (1961) degrees in art from UC Berkeley, studying under noted ceramic artist Peter Voulkos. Underhill was on site studying and working with Voulkos when Voulkos made his first cast, bronze sculpture. At that time, Bill began to turn clay work into waxes to be cast using the lost-wax technique. This, he said, became his “chariot of the gods,” his way of expressing himself, and establishing a unique path for him as a creator of cast metal vessels.

In 1965, he and his family moved to Brooklyn, where he began teaching at the Pratt Institute and New York University. During this period, he received several commissions for large steel installations through J. Gordon Lippincott. Significant early works were Ursa Major at the Lynden Sculpture Garden near Milwaukee, WI and The Bride and Groom, at the Museum of the Creative Process in Manchester, VT. In 1969, Alfred University offered him a teaching position. There he established a bronze foundry at the School of Art and Design and taught sculpture and drawing in the Division of Sculpture and Dimensional Studies from 1969 until his retirement in 1997. In 1990, he installed the King Alfred Statue, cast in bronze, in the center of the Alfred University campus. He is remembered for his many contributions to the life of the art program at Alfred and for his impact on the many students with whom he worked. Throughout his career, he made distinct geometric pots on stands and legs, as well as busts, welded metal, and cast iron, aluminum, and ceramic vessels and sculptural forms. His work is held in numerous permanent collections including the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, PA; the Oakland Art Museum, in Oakland, CA; the Museum of Arts and Design, in New York City; the Racine Art Museum, Racine WI; the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York City; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA. Photos of a sample of his work can be viewed at

After retirement he and Linda settled in Wellsville, NY, where they were actively engaged in the community and Bill continued to create work in his studio and teach classes at the local art center. He was fortunate to have a rich and loving community in Wellsville, including his dear friends Brian and Mandy Oglesbee and Marilyn Embser, among many others.

There will be an exhibition of large number of Underhill’s bronze vessels at the Alfred University Ceramics Museum, opening on April 21, 2022. A memorial service will be held shortly thereafter (details forthcoming).

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to a cause that you think is reflective of Bill’s life and values. Among his many interests, he was a supporter of the Sloop Clearwater, the environmental flagship of the Hudson River. To leave online condolences please visit

photo is courtesy of Brian Oglesbee 

Larry W. Gerdes, 79

Hornell, NY – Larry W. Gerdes, 79, was called home to be with the Lord on Sunday, February 27, 2022 at the Highlands at Brighton in Rochester, NY. He was born on February 26, 1943 in Ponca, NE the son of the late George William and Minnie (Panhorst) Gerdes. On June 6, 1987 at the Trinity Lutheran Church of Wellsville, he married his wife of 34 years, Deborah Collins, who survives.

Larry was raised in Nebraska until his family moved to Bergholtz, NY. He began his undergraduate education at Concordia University in Nebraska, from where he earned his Teaching Degree. In 1973 he moved with his family to Wellsville until eventually moving to Depew, NY where he was able to complete his education at Concordia Seminary in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. He followed where his faith called and pastored several Lutheran Churches during his career, sharing his faith with so many people. During his time at Trinity Lutheran he served as Director of Christian Education. He also maintained a vicarage at St. Luke’s in Cheektowaga, until his ordination on June 6, 1982. He began his calling as a Lutheran Minister at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Ridgewood, NY. In 1988 he accepted a call to St. Paul’s Lutheran in Columbia, PA. In 1993 he accepted a call to Grace Lutheran of Sylvan Beach, NY. Then in 1996 he moved on to St. John’s Lutheran in Munson, PA, before completing his pastoral career at St. Mark’s Lutheran of West Henrietta, NY, in 2003, retiring in 2008. His ministry was not limited to just his career. He was a member of the Wellsville Ministerium, volunteered with the Hornell Salvation Army, delivered Meals on Wheels for Steuben County, volunteered for the Wellsville Fire Department, and very much enjoyed parking cars for the Penn State Football games.

In addition to his wife Debbie, our beloved Bill’s fan, Yankees fan, and “exceptional” golfer and bowler is survived by: children, Scott (Michelle) Gerdes of Gasport, Lisa (Paul) Lane of Avon, Katie Gerdes of Middleport, Matthew (Tabitha) Heller of Hornell, Tracey Thomas of Canandaigua, Craig (Janice Philips) Heller of Hornell and Kurt Thomas of Seneca Castle; eight grandchildren, Evan Gerdes, Sofia Gerdes, Kassy Heller, Cory Heller, Tyler Phillips, Moriah (Darren) Pollen, Jackson Lane, and Nora Lane; as well as many beloved in-laws, nieces, and nephews, along with his extended family on the B wing at Highlands at Brighton, who cared for and loved Larry as if he were their own. He was predeceased by his parents, and a brother, Wayne Gerdes.

Friends are invited to call on Saturday, March 12, 2022 from 11 am to 1 pm at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 470 N. Main Street, Wellsville, NY. His Celebration of Life will follow in the church with a 1 PM service with the Reverend Dr. Eric Ash Sr. presiding. Please consider memorial donations to Meals on Wheels or Trinity Lutheran Church in Wellsville. To leave online condolences please visit